The last few months, I’ve been (for the most part) avoiding wheat and dairy.
Clearly, I’ve had some excellent pizzas and scoops of ice cream but overall – I’ve been limiting both of these items.
Why, you ask? Well – after a holiday season of decadence, I felt bloated and puffy. And the scale wasn’t happy either. Cow dairy and wheat are the two most common causes of allergies in people and often, people have a low level sensitivity to one one or both of these items (google this phenomenon, tons of reading out there on this). Sensitivity can cause, you guessed it, bloating, acne, mental fogginess and overall blah-ness. So it made sense for me to limit these items and see how I felt (more on that experiment in another post).
Since then, I’ve been experimenting with wheat and dairy substitutions. Rather than use soy or non-dairy cheese, I often use nutritional yeast, a delightfully cheesy (and nutritious) supplement. However, I had a Spicy Mac and Cheese recipe I wanted to experiment with so I decided I should use a REAL non-dairy cheese (did that make sense?) Enter Go Veggie Cheesy Bliss.
Go Veggie is a lactose and gluten free “cheese” option. The nutritionals are good, 70 cals, 4.5 grams of fat and 3 carbs per 1/4 c. portion. HOWEVER, the ingredients are where I wasn’t thrilled. Though Go Veggie is lactose free, it does still contain casein; a milk protein. So as I’m understanding it, the lactose is removed, but I believe it still contains dairy. Also, it contains tons of fillers (tapioca starch, potato starch, carrageenan and isolated soy protein). I like my ingredients to be as whole as possible and soy-filler free so I wasn’t thrilled with this list.
I had made a white sauce with almond milk, thickened with corn starch for the Mac and Cheese. When I tried to whisk in the “cheese” shreds, nothing happened. They melted and clung to the whisk, but they did not blend into the sauce. Now, this could be because the white sauce wasn’t warm enough or because I used corn starch instead of my usual flour roux….not sure – but it was a major fail. After adding a few tablespoons of cheese, to the same “melted but not blended effect” I gave up – and stirred in several ounces of goat cheese (which is known to be easier to digest than cow dairy) and it melted beautifully.
I had boiled and drained a half pound of brown rice pasta before making the sauce. I also had sautéed onion, garlic, pre-cooked chicken, green chilies and fire roasted tomatoes with cumin, smoked paprika and coriander. I stirred the pasta and spiced chicken into the cheese sauce and poured it into a casserole dish. I sprinkled the remaining “cheese” shreds over the top. I baked it for about 25 minutes and voila….
The “cheese” melted beautifully as promised and was as gooey and ooey as you want a blanket of cheese to be! So A+ for melting! The flavor? Well, here’s it a bit tricky. I ate a bit of it from the package and found that it lacked that immediate cheese flavor, it was much more subtle and bland. Melted and stirred into the pasta, it was fine, but it didn’t blow me away with its cheesy flavor.
My final verdict? If you’re concerned about lactose or gluten – this may be an option for you if you’re craving that cheese melting ability in a dish. However, I wouldn’t buy it again for myself, because it’s lack of flavor and ingredient list.
Have you tried a non-dairy cheese? Love it? Hate it? Don’t care?
(This post is not in any way sponsored, just like sharing products I try with you all)