healthy nacho cheese

Healthy Nacho Cheese Melt

When people started telling me about a cheese made from potatoes and carrots, I have to confess that I turned up my nose. It sounded a bit like the awful vegan ‘cheeses’ I encountered 20 years ago, long before the days of home made vegan cultured cheeses. However, with so many rave reviews, I had to at least give it a go.

I found a recipe and I have to admit, it wasn’t awful. However, it tasted far too much of nutritional yeast, and it was more like thick soup than cheese. For me, a cheese sauce needs to be stretchy, and bubble and brown under the grill.

Still, I loved that the carrot and potato cheese was allergy friendly (soy free, nut free, gluten free) and lower in calories, and also doesn’t taste like anything other than cheese. I looooove cashews, but they still taste a little like cashews no matter what you do. Also, this is much cheaper than a nut based cheese sauce and faster than making your own soymilk. So, I adapted the recipe to give it the right texture and perfect flavour.

For things like enchiladas, nachos and corn chips, I actually prefer this to my cashew and soy cheese melt recipes. It’s less rich, which is a good thing when everything else is spicy and fried. It’s also great when you want healthy nachos, such as those shown in the picture, that taste even better than the unhealthy version. Plus, it’s nice and yellow and really, really delicious.

Ingredients

*measurement are for US cups and spoons*

1 cup diced peeled potato

1/2 cup diced carrot

1 cup cold water

1/4 cup neutral tasting oil (safflower, canola, rice bran etc)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

4 tbsp tapioca starch

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, or to taste

Method

1. Bring some water to boil in a small heavy based saucepan. Add the carrot and potato and boil until tender. Drain.

2. Place the cup of cold water, potatoes, carrots, nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder, salt and oil into the saucepan and blend with an immersion blender until totally smooth. Alternatively you can blend it all in an upright blender and then pour into the saucepan. Test the seasonings and adjust to your preference, then whisk in the tapioca starch.

3. Place the saucepan over a low heat and stir constantly until thick, smooth, glossy and stretchy and the starch has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice/vinegar. Serve warm, preferably immediately after making, but you can reheat it on the stove.

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