Review: Dairy free cheeses

As many of you know, I am lactose intolerant. I’ve written about it here before. I’m constantly on the hunt for dairy alternatives that taste good. On one of my last trips to Whole Foods, I decided I’d grab a bunch of the different offerings and try them out. I was tired of going without just because of my intolerance.

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Starting in the lower left and going clockwise: Treeline treenut cheese in the scallion flavor, Parma! vegan Parmesan, Lisanatti Ricecheeze cheese alternative sticks, Tesse mozzarella log.

Treeline: Made from cashews, this was a nice soft cheese style, very spreadable. I tried this on some pita chips and the scallion flavor was a bit overpowering to start. I let it sit in the fridge a few days before trying it again, which mellowed it out considerably. It wasn’t a favorite, but I’d consider getting it again. With that in mind, I also tried the garlic and herb flavor. That was amazing! It goes really well on chips like a dip. It also mellowed after a few days, but it wasn’t so overpowering to start like the scallion was. The downside, though, is that it’s a bit of a spendy item.

Parma: Holy dairy-free cow, Batman! This is made with walnuts and nutritional yeast, but it hits all the notes of a good hard Parmesan. I add it to basically any noodle dish and it’s instantly tastier. It happens to be really good on EarthBalance’s dairy free mac and cheese. Like crazy good. I’m on my second bottle, and even my mom has started using it (she notoriously dislikes the faux cheese products I have). I cannot say enough good things about this. I works well in red sauce, as any good parm would, as well as on just plain buttered noodles. I can’t believe I’ve gone without this for so long!

Lisanatti Ricecheeze: This rice based string cheese style cheese stick fooled my mom. She couldn’t tell the difference between it and real string cheese. I have to say that it is hands down the best alternative cheese taste I’ve ever had. And it’s such a handy snack! Highly recommend trying this.

Tesse: I always feel a bit bad giving a negative review, but I have to with this one. I don’t remember what this is made out of, but whatever it is tasted horrible. I bought it hoping to grate it for a pizza, especially since it mentions on the packaging that it melts and stretches. It does melt pretty well, and there’s a decent stretch to it, but it’s got the consistency of some kind of chemical putty. Almost like softened silly putty. Very rubbery, and an awful smell to it. I tried it both fridge fresh and heated, both equally bad.

Overall, it was a good taste test. The Parma and Ricecheeze were resounding successes, and the Treeline, while needing a few tweaks, worked out well too. Has anyone found a good dairy alternative cheese that works well to make pizza?

Review: Aidells chicken meatballs

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First, let me stress that this isn’t a sponsored post. Much like my Daiya pizza post, I’m simply sharing something I’ve used that I really love.

I came across these chicken meatballs while I was shopping with my dad at Costco last week. Whenever I see something like these that look like they’ll be tasty, I first check ingredients for dairy. More and more premade meatballs are stuffed with a bit of cheese or whey for flavor. Obviously, that’s a big no-no for me. But these are different. No dairy, not even a whisper of it! Yay! Plus, they are made with all organic products, leaving out any weird additives and preservatives. Double yay!

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So to prepare these, I baked them in a 350 degree oven for about ten minutes, and then added them to my homemade pasta sauce to have over rigatoni. I tried one before I added them all to the sauce and wasn’t disappointed. Juicy and flavorful. The garlic wasn’t overpowering and the basil was just right. So good. Then in the sauce, they transformed. I don’t mean to pay myself on the back, but I make a great sauce. When the two combined, well, it was just perfect.

I would definitely recommend these if you’re looking for good, dairy-free (or not) chicken meatballs. They could be great, too, on a toothpick at a party.

Review: Daiya Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza (dairy & gluten & soy free)

I want to start this blog post off saying first, I am not being sponsored by Daiya to write this blog, and second, I don’t intend to fill my blog with product reviews. I will occasionally write about products I come across/use that I think might be helpful for others to know about . Alright, so yesterday I made my monthly trek to Whole Foods to stock up on my dairy free foods. I say trek because it’s a 20-25 minute drive each way, and I say stock up because I usually buy between 12-16 yogurts in one go, plus multiples of the other things that are only carried at WF. While I was shopping for some strawberry ice cream bars, I turned to see one of the greatest sights someone who is allergic to dairy can see: dairy-free pizza by a trusted brand. I’ve been using Daiya cheese products for a few months now (mostly the cream cheese spread–heaven!), but I had never seen the pizzas before. I grabbed the mushroom and roasted garlic flavor, as well as the fire-roasted vegetable flavor, without even looking to see how much they were. I had to try them.

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Before I get into the full review, I want to tell you if you’re going to look for these for yourself, they are likely going to be a bit spendy. I paid about $10 each for mine. If you’re used to buying specialty diet friendly food, you know that it’s common for them to be a bit pricier than the “conventional” items. That’s never sat well with me, being charged more for a condition that I had no say in, but I get that there is money that goes into product development and there’s a smaller consumer base for the products. It’s all good. I get to eat pizza and yogurt and milk and cream cheese without being doubled over in pain, wishing for death (if you’ve read my blog about food allergies, you know I’m not exaggerating).

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Last night, I decided I needed to try one of the pizzas. I set my oven to 475 degrees like the instructions said (my first thought was that I don’t think I’ve ever set my oven that high), and waited. It went in, and I waited again.

Frozen

Frozen

Baked

Baked

The range for baking times is 10 to 15 minutes. I took it out after 10, but I think I should have left it in for a bit more. Maybe 12 or 13 minutes. It wasn’t cold anywhere, but I think the crust could have used a bit more time. Besides that, I really enjoyed the pizza. The crust is gluten-free, which I don’t personally have to worry about, but it’s nice if I decide to share with my GF friend. It’s also a better GF taste than I’ve had before. It’s a thin crust (obviously because it’s GF), and I tend to like my crusts thicker and doughier, but it really was pretty good. The sauce was well spiced and not overbearing. The mushrooms and garlic were great. And the cheese, well it was pretty good too. It’s a blend of Daiya’s mozzarella and a bit of their cheddar, and I think I wouldn’t have added the cheddar. But then again, it may need the cheddar balance. It was good enough that I’m looking forward to the veggie pizza in the next week, probably.

I have to say, though, the best thing about this pizza was the lack of worry. It is so awesome to be able to bite into a piece of pizza without scraping off the cheese first or worrying that I didn’t get it all. I could just eat and enjoy. For that, the pizza was worth every penny.