When you can’t eat lots of foods due to food allergies, you really miss certain things. I, for example, really miss ice cream and cake, pizza and macaroni and cheese. For the most part, nothing can compare to the creamy, fatty goodness of a true dairy product but you gotta play with the cards you’re dealt, so I improvise. Just like I’m pretty sure everyone with food limitations does, I am now willing to experiment with new foods. Well, I am happy to report that I made some pretty good Macaroni and Cheese today using four products that fall within my dietary guidelines.
Banza Shells and Rotini This is a “pasta” made from chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein and xanthan gum. It doesn’t have much less calories than real pasta so you still have to practice self control but it is high in fiber, iron and protein so that’s a bonus.
Bulgarian White Brined Sheeps Milk Cheese Let me stop right here and tell you guys a little bit about Bulgarian Cheese. My husband is Albanian and this is what he grew up on. They use it a lot so I got used to eating it even before I went dairy free. It is basically like saltier, creamier feta cheese and I use it on EVERYTHING. Eggs, Tacos (it sort of replaces both cheese AND sour cream), with Buffalo Chicken since I can’t have Bleu cheese dressing, with meat and bread for dinner, on salads for lunch…Seriously, I don’t know if it’s actually this versatile or I just made it that way because it was my only choice when my body started rejecting dairy, but…IT IS DELICIOUS!!! I buy it at European or Chaldean markets in an area heavily populated by immigrants where there is a high demand for it, I am not sure on the availability everywhere and I’ve never seen it in a local Kroger.
Daiya Mozzerella Style Shreds This product is decent. It does melt and stretch like the package says, but its flavor is distinctly NOT cheesy. But in it’s defense, when accompanied by other ingredients, it does the job and is quite enjoyable. I first tried it on a gluten free pizza at a restaurant near my house and with lots of veggies and on a pretty great crust, it was a delicious pizza. Just don’t expect miracles out of it. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was when my mom used to make homemade pizza and I would eat clumps of mozzarella cheese before sprinkling it on the crust…don’t do that with Daiya, you’re going to be disappointed.
Country Crock with Calcium Be careful when you buy Country Crock, this one is in the tan tub and is dairy free, the one in the yellow tub is not dairy free.
So I boiled the Banza, drained it and added a little Country Crock. Then I dumped in some Daiya and mashed up a large chunk of Bulgarian cheese, stirred it up and popped it into the microwave to get it to melt–I didn’t want to burn cheese to my pot, plus it’s not going to be like a cheese sauce people, didn’t I tell you not to expect miracles. It comes out looking a little weird, but through 30 seconds of microwaving, the Daiya and the Bulgarian do get a little meltier and you can mix it up a little better. I ate mine plain but I think I’m going to start experimenting with tomato sauce, veggies or even meats sometimes. Like I said, when you take out real dairy cheese, sometimes you gotta compensate elsewhere for better flavor.
All in all, it was pretty delicious, I got my carb fix and my cheesy/creamy fix and I don’t have a stomach ache. So I’m going to go ahead and call this a Dairy Free/Gluten Free WIN!!!!!
Any suggestions on recipes I should try? What’s some of your favorite recipes?