Vegan Cheese, Rebecca Gilbert Reports and Easy Recipes!

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Cheese, cheese, cheese! One of the things many folks miss most when embarking on a plant-based diet is CHEESE! It is for that reason that I am always looking to create quick, homemade vegan versions of formage to enhance my dishes and incorporate into recipes.

But sometimes you want a commercial store bought vegan cheese. The good news is that there are quite a few tasty versions of vegan cheese in the marketplace these days. But how do you know which vegan cheese to use for which recipe and which ones taste good? This week on Jazzy Vegetarian Radio’s new segment: Rebecca Gilbert Reports, we find out what, where and how to purchase the best vegan cheese on the market today.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for dairy-less "cheeze" recipes to cook up in your own home kitchen, here are two easy recipes to start with! Happy Cooking!

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Vegan Mac and Cheese from It's Easy to Start Eating Vegan

By Rebecca Gilbert

Prep time = 5 minutes

Cook time = 15 minutes

Servings = 4 

Enjoy a delicious new version of a childhood favorite. This vegan cheese sauce also makes a rich and creamy topping for broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, and other vegetables.

Ingredients:

12 ounces dry macaroni

1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant milk

3/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Parsley, chopped for garnish

Optional: steamed broccoli crowns

Preparation:

1. Cook the macaroni according to the instructions.

2. While the macaroni is cooking, add all of the ingredients to the pot (except parsley). Stir until well combined. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to thicken. When sauce reaches desired consistency, remove from heat. (see note)

3. Transfer macaroni to serving bowl. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni. Top with optional broccoli crowns and garnish with parsley. 

Chef's Note: For a thicker sauce, add 3 tablespoons of cold plant milk plus 1 1/2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously to combine. Add mixture back to sauce and stir constantly for about 5 minutes on simmer. A whisk is even better because it will eliminate any lumps in the sauce. The sauce will continue to thicken on its own after removing from heat.

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“Cheezy” White Bean-Cashew Dip

By Laura Theodore

Makes 6 servings

This yummy, “cheezy” tasting dip does double duty as a sandwich spread. White beans take the place of the cheese and raw cashews add a creamy texture. Together they successfully mimic the flavor of a rich, creamy cheese dip!

1 can (15 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup raw cashews

2 tablespoons filtered or spring water, plus more as needed

4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons diced sweet red pepper, plus more for garnish

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Put the white beans, cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add more water if thinner consistency is desired. Do not over process. Transfer to a pretty bowl and fold in the diced pepper. Top with more diced pepper for garnish. Serve with carrot sticks, sweet pepper sticks, or tortilla chips!

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Looking for the newest, yummiest packaged products on the vegan scene today? Tune in each month to the Jazzy Vegetarian Radio show and learn more with our new segment: Rebecca Gilbert Reports. Rebecca is the founder of yummyplants.com and the author of It's Easy to Start Eating Vegan.