Not Cheese, Nacho Cheese

As you may or may not have noticed I’m on a bit of an experimental food kick. So, this post is all about making a classic late night snack food healthy, plant based, and – best of all – GUILT FREE!

What might I be talking about? You guessed it (or you read the title) – Nacho Cheese! Now, I’m not talking the kind of cheese you may find on fancy nacho’s from your neighborhood “I’m working really hard to be fun and hip” restaurant that is actually some smoked gouda béchamel. No. My friends, I’m talking the crappy kind of nacho cheese you find at a college football game. The kind that you literally feel clogging your arteries as it goes down your gullet. That is the kind of cheese I am trying to create here. But, you know, minus all of that artery clogging good(?)ness.

So, after much research and taking into consideration the fact that most vegan cheese’s contain cashews – to which I am allergic – I came up with this recipe!

Vegan Veggie Nacho Cheese

  • 1 sweet potato – Or 2 carrots
  • 1 potato
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • Scallion (green onion)
  • Salt to tast (will probably be around a 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 Cup (about) water
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or some other kind of oil 
  • 1/3 cup Salsa or diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño (optional) 
  1. Boil a medium size pot of salted water. Wash off potatoes and chop them up.
  2. Toss potatoes into boiling water and cover. Let steam for about 15 min.
  3. In a food processor or blender, place roughly chopped green onion. Use all of it (aside from the roots) so that the flavor really comes through.
  4. Next, add all seasonings and nutritional yeast to the food processor. Lightly pulse or stir a few times to be sure everything is evenly combined. 
  5. Once potatoes are fork tender, add those into the food processor along with water, oil and salsa. Blend until smooth and creamy!
  6. At this point you could be done, OR, you could add in some diced pickled jalapeño. Either stir these in or add them and run the food processor one more time if you don’t want to have any surprising spicy chunks. 

And… VOILA! You have some delish Vegan Nacho Cheese! 

I was so pleasantly surprised by how this recipe turned out and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, as well as any modifications you try to improve upon this recipe! Thank you for reading, until next time peeps!

XOXO,

Em

Chickpeas – The New Wonderfood?

It seems all the health-conscious internet can talk about right now is how great chickpeas are. I have seen YouTube videos and Pinterest posts galore about the wonderful things that this unassuming bean can do, so, I decided it was time to test them out!

The first recipe I came across was for Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies, making that the natural selection for my first attempt at baking with beans. I took to my handy Ninja and got pureeing! However, I may have overwhelmed it by adding everything in at one time so the puree turned into more of a slightly masticated mush. (Patience is a virtue I rarely have.) This left my attempted desert rather chunky… though the flavors were good, the texture was definitely less than desirable.

After my first, not so fabulous, attempt and making chickpea cookies I was eager to try my luck at a different sweet delicacy – the meringue. Luckily, I had saved the liquid from the can of beans, as it was the main ingredient in the recipe for Auqafaba Meringues. (AKA – Bean water.) I know this doesn’t sound the most appealing, however, with some research I found that this murky substance really does appear to be magical!

So, I turned to YouTube (as it always seems to have to answer) and was blessed to find a great recipe and demonstration  for Aquafaba Meringues. I was as shocked as you likely are to find out that one of the worlds more classy desert choices can be made with, you guessed it, bean water! So, here  ya go!

 

The recipe I used for the Meringues was this one by Alton Brown as it was easy to follow and simple.

My little strawberry topping was a sort of an afterthought, but it really was delicious so here is how I made it:

Lemon Lavender Strawberries:

1 1/2 Cup strawberries

1 Tsp dried lavender

1/4 Cup simple syrup

Lemon juice to taste 

  1. Quarter berries (or chop however you feel) and place in bowl 
  2. In a small sauce pan (or microwave safe bowl) combine 1/4 water and 1/4 cup sugar and stir until dissolved – This is the simple syrup!
  3. Add lavender to simple syrup and place in a closed container to steep 
  4. Once, your simple syrup has gotten enough of the lavender flavor, pour over berries and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and…

Voila! You have made a yummy tart, sweet, and floral topping – perfect for any light summer desert OR on it’s own as a yummy fruit salad! 

For a first try I’d say this well pretty well – especially in comparison to my intentionally chunky chocolate chip cookies! There was very little I would change aside from perhaps cooking them a little closer to the recipes instructions. I grew impatient of letting them sit in the oven, so the way the settled wasn’t quite right. But aside from that I was so happy with them! (and my little strawberry topping) More impressively, had I not been the one making them, I would have never known that they were made with bean water instead of eggs!

This recipe would be great for a tea party, dinner party, or just for a party of one! Especially, if you have friend or family (or if you yourself) have either voluntarily or involuntarily had to remove eggs from your diet! I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments if you try this or any other chickpea recipe!

Thanks as always for reading! 🙂

XOXO,

Em