I don't miss cheese. Truthfully, I was never a cheese lover before I discovered my lactose intolerance…I know, I hear the shock! However, when Daiya Foods came out with a dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free cheese alternative…how could I not get it?
Plus, there are a few things where cheese is typically the main ingredient that makes the dish. To name a few…pizza, lasagna, and casseroles. Since I am good with my cheeseless pizza (or so I thought) … I chose to start on a different route with my new dairy-free friend. I liked Daiya on my grilled vegetable panini the other day, so I decided to step it up a notch and make a cheesy squash casserole this time.
Not a plane jane one though…nope, I wanted to add a little spice to it. My favorite spice as of late…turmeric. I really just kind of went with some vegetables we had around that needed to be used up. This combination is yellow squash, carrots, onions, garlic, turmeric and Daiya Mozzarella-style …
I wanted a tasty protein base to go with it, so I chose quinoa to make it a complete meal. This made the perfect bed for my cheesy squash casserole! All mixed up, this was so creamy and the squash formed an incredible sauce that coated the quinoa.
So, what do I think about Daiya? Well, I was kind of eh, about it with the panini. Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but I wasn't blown away by it. On the squash casserole (recipe follows) …I LOVED it! It is extremely creamy and melts really well! That is impressive all by itself. I don't think it has a ton of flavor, but I guess mozzarella cheese isn't loaded with flavor either. That's what makes it a great addition to dishes where you are looking for creamy gooeyness, but don't want to mask the the flavors of your dish. Honestly, the problem with most dairy free cheeses are the messed up flavors, so the mild flavor of Daiya is perfect in my book. Daiya also has a cheddar version that I did not pick up, but now I want to try it!
Cheesy Squash Casserole
From Sarena, The Non-Dairy Queen
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a small casserole dish with nonstick spray (I used a bread pan).
Sautee the squash, onion, garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper in a nonstick pan coated with nonstick spray or a little coconut oil until beginning to soften. You may need to add a little water to the pan to keep moisture in it. Next add the carrot and cook until the vegetables are just cooked. Place the vegetables in the prepared dish. Sprinkle the Daiya evenly over the top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the Daiya is melted and browned around the edges.
Update: I gave in and made pizza with the Daiya. This is a buckwheat flat bread that I threw together (no yeast), with a roasted red pepper spread*, Daiya, and pepper/onion mix. Ok, they win…I am sold. This stuff is really amazing on pizza! Check it out…stringy…like cheese!
* Roasted Red Pepper Spread = Jar of leftover roasted red peppers pureed with fresh garlic, salt and pepper…YUM!