Macadamia Nut “Cheese” + other dairy alternatives

Cheese. Yoghurt. Ice cream. Milk – well maybe not so much milk, (milk and I aren’t really friends) but it’s an essential ingredient for a Mac and cheese roux… I miss dairy. A lot. There’s nothing quite like our mac and cheese or the sweet but savory taste of goat cheese in a salad or on a pizza.

But, I have found alternatives for the duration of OHAC (and perhaps after).

CHEESE
I need to start with this one because I’m incredibly proud that I have made my own non-dairy “cheese” twice now. Soy cheese is not an option on OHAC as soy is on the no-no’s list, so I turned to my new friend Denise Jardine, and she lists a recipe for “Creamy Macadamia Nut Cheese”. Having now tried it twice, I can say that it’s easy to make, looks like goat cheese, and tastes good (even Sean tried it and thought it was decent), but at the end of the day? It’s not real cheese. But even if just for an adventure I do suggest trying it. Recipe below.

MILK
I use it in a roux but otherwise, it tastes horrible and makes me feel ill unless I have skim milk and really, that might as well just be cloudy water. I’ve been using unsweetened original flavour almond milk a lot in my baking for the last year an a bit and I am really happy with it.

While I haven’t touched a bowl of cereal in about ten years because of the milk thing (and because I don’t like the taste of alternatives, even the almond stuff), Sean has a bowl almost every morning. When I started OHAC, he informed me that when we’ve run out of milk, he’s used the almond alternative and actually likes that way better. That made me super happy and we bought a mini crate of almond milk tetra packs at Costco. When I’m done all this, I’ll still buy “real” milk for mac and cheese but
we are now officially an almond milk household.

Quick Note: We are the only mammal species that still actively drinks milk after being breast fed. We give milk to cats, but I wonder if we should?

YOGHURT
It took me a long time to like yoghurt, but Danone Activia is my absolute favourite, as is Liberté Svelte. Even plain is tolerable with some honey or fresh fruit. I normally eat yoghurt every morning with an apple and some toast or in a smoothie. With that in mind, yoghurt alternatives were one of the first things I went shopping for at Whole Foods. I found a guaranteed OHAC friendly coconut version by SO Delicious and an almond version that lists as being processed in a place that processes dairy and soy – hmm. They each have probiotic cultures in them, though, which are really good for your digestive system. I haven’t brought my self to trying the yoghurts on their own, but the coconut one has become a staple in my morning smoothies.

ICE CREAM
I LOVE ice cream but same as the milk, it makes me feel ill if consumed in large quantities. This is why my ingredient bowls are so handy. They allow the perfect portion of ice cream for me. It funny to see my bowl next to Sean’s. (But let’s be honest, the only reason I don’t eat a full carton Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia (yum!) to myself – except under excruciating circumstances, like heartbreak (we’ve all been through it, ladies) – is because I would feel queasy for the rest of the day. And who wants to feel queasy? Exactly. No one does.)

My naturopath had told me that coconut ice cream was out there, and yesterday I found the gluten, dairy, sugar, AND soy-free version at Whole Foods. Coconut Bliss Cherry Amaretto. It was delicious – and though a small container, it was only $5.99. It could have been worse. The one with soy was $7.00 and a smaller container.

——

CREAMY MACADAMIA NUT “CHEESE” (As adapted from “The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen”)

  • 2 cups raw macadamia nuts (not dry roasted)
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
  • 1/2 filtered water (or 3/4 cup for softer cheese)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (ideally fresh squeezed)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender.

Process the mixture, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed (you will need to), and puree until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes.
Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. For longer storage, divide into portion sizes, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 1 week.
——

We made pizza last night for the second time since I started OHAC and this time I was so jealous of Sean’s pizza, but only because of the cheese. I had come home with bocconcini and it looked so good melting in the oven. And of course, Sean takes the last pieces and wraps the the last slice of prosciutto and looks at me while eating it. My only consolation is that my pizza looked much prettier and did taste wonderful. But I miss cheese. Especially goat cheese… Sigh.

Sean’s pizza. Same ingredients except the coveted bocconcini. Not as pretty as mine but he got to have the mozza. SO jealous.
My pizza with my “cheese” – much prettier, but no bocconcini for me…

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