Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dairy Free Nacho Cheese


A snack I am always missing at baseball games is nachos and cheese, piled high with jalapeños. It's a serious craving. I've been wanting to create this recipe for a while now, and it's become one of my new favorite things. I thought it would be a long shot to recreate the taste of nacho cheese using non-dairy products, but I totally surprised myself. It was very simple. The key is to use sweetened almond milk (without flavoring) and a soy cheese.

If you are looking for a good cheese to use, I really enjoy the soy cheddar from Milk Pail market in Los Altos, CA. This is what I can get locally. I love the taste, the only problem is that it doesn't stretch or melt as well as other brands. Check out your local whole foods market or specialty food store to see if they make their own and give it a try! I also recommend Trader Joe's three cheese soy blend, and Daiya Cheddar Shreds, which are soy free and probably the best for you.

Remember, don't base your opinion on soy cheese by what it tastes like out of the wrapping. Cheese alternatives always taste better cooked and with other ingredients added--like hot sauce! I think this would be perfect with chopped peppers added in, but I chose to eat mine like stadium nachos: tortilla chips covered in cheese then piled with jalapeños. There is no good picture of this because I was busy eating it and watching football.

I especially created this to accompany the first Pittsburgh Steelers preseason game. It was almost perfect, but only because the Stillers lost. They proceeded to lose each following preseason game as well, which is not a good sign for the upcoming season. So sad. At times like those, the only comforting part of the game is the food.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were still going strong for a while, but who knows? My husband and I were at AT&T Park to see the Pirates play the Giants last weekend and the Pirates also lost. That was a bummer. The comforting thing there was not just the awesome stadium food, but that we were not the only Pirates fans! We met up with a few members of Eric's family who were also at the game, and we saw some people with Pirates gear on. There were probably more in secret. I don't blame them--it was Giants territory. Anyway, I hope to be making this nacho cheese for the Pirates World Series games. Let's go bucs!

Ingredients:

1 cup sweetened almond milk
1 cup shredded soy cheese product
1 tsp hot sauce
1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, finely chopped *optional
salt and pepper to taste (depends on salt content of soy cheese)

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium low heat, bring the almond milk to a simmer.

2. Add in shredded soy cheese, stirring frequently until melted. The last unmelted bits may require vigorous stirring for up to 10 minutes, but they will melt and the sauce will thicken considerably. At this time add hot sauce, salt, and pepper if desired and to your taste. Remove nacho "cheese" from heat and add jalapeños the way you like them.