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Cheese substitutes for dairy free kids...

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
My 10 year old son was recently diagnosed with a dairy allergy. I'm posting this here because I figured vegans would be familiar with dairy substitutions. But if a moderator feels there is a better place for this thread, feel free to move it.

Cutting out milk hasn't really been a problem because he doesn't really drink much milk anyway, and I usually cook with rice milk. But his favorite food is good old mac and cheese. Is there any way to make that with a cheese substitute that actually tastes good?

The veggie cheese they carry in our local grocery store is hard to melt and tastes kind of gross anyway. What do you feed your dairy free kids?
post #2 of 23
Have you tried Daiya? It does melt, unlike many vegan cheeses, but I'm not sure if it would melt quite as much as dairy cheese would. I was never a cheese connoisseur but Daiya does taste quite authentic to me. If I am remembering correctly it does come in a few different varieties of shredded cheese. HTH!
post #3 of 23

I've had Daiya and it's delicious.  We used it on pizza once and it was all lovely and melty and stretchy.  It would also melt into soups. 

 

"The Uncheese Cookbook" has a lot of great recipes that use pretty normal ingredients.

 

This is my favorite nacho sauce, I like it better than the "real" stuff.  It's also quite flexible, I've omitted the pimentos, or subbed them with roasted red peppers or even cooked carrots.  If you changed the seasonings it works extrememly well over pasta for mac & cheeze.

 

Vegan goldfish crackers.

 

"Yeah, That Vegan Sh*t" has two mac & cheeze recipes, one Macgyver style, one is supposedly the creamiest ever.  Warning, this blog has adult language and themes, but it makes me laugh.

 

I've found that instead of using the usual cashews for cheeze sauces I prefer making mine with sunflower seeds.  It's sharper in flavor which I enjoy.  Just don't taste it while raw, it's pretty strong.

post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post

 

"Yeah, That Vegan Sh*t" has two mac & cheeze recipes, one Macgyver style

 

My daughter eats Daiya and loves it. That's what lack of knowledge about real cheese will do for you. To me it tastes like chemicals. There's no health benefit to it. However, it gives her the opportunity to have cheese so I buy it. I don't know anyone who eats cheese that tries it that doesn't make a funny face. I just make sure they don't do it in front of my daughter.

 

Try the Macgyver sauce and experiment with variations. It's nice and creamy.

 

The uncheese book depends on nutritional yeast which is totally yummy stuff. It's also a glutamate.

 

My experience with learning to eat gluten, dairy, cane sugar free (and even back when I became a vegetarian) is to not try and find substitutes for your favorite foods. Although there are some tasty exceptions, often substitutes never work out. It's a whole lot easier to just search for new foods and recipes.

 

That said, these are some great websites with great dairy free recipes (amongst others):

 

www.elanaspantry.com

 

www.realsustenance.com

 

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/

post #5 of 23
Not vegan here, but my kids are (mostly) gluten and dairy free. Here's a Amy's Mac n cheese knock off recipe that we love.

http://dairy-free.food.com/recipe/creamy-mac-and-cheese-gluten-free-dairy-free-stove-top-recipe-450925

My son likes Daiya melted on pizza and pasta, but my daughter likes the vegan mozzarella cheese from Trader Joes.
post #6 of 23

We're a dairy free house and my vegan friend turned me on to daiya and gave me the most AMAZING recipie to make an alfredo sauce that would be great on some pasta as a mac n cheese.  You take a head of cauliflower, chop it up and put in a large microwave safe bowl with unsweetened coconut milk and vegan butter (we use earth balance).  Cook for like 10mins to soften it up, then puree adding the daiya, salt and pepper....it's so good! I've used it on spaghetti squash, as a dip for bread....I would drink it from a jar lol!  I've tried the boxed dairy free mac (annies I think) and it was horrible.  I'm a fan of nutritional yeast instead of parm for pasta dishes and DD eats it on almost anything - makes a great bread crumb mix and on garlic bread.  I've yet to find a cream cheese substitute that I can stomache so I live without.

post #7 of 23

My dairy-free 5 year old likes Daiya cheese for pizza or in tacos and such.  We put nutritional yeast on popcorn and she likes it like that but she doesn't like it as a sauce for macaroni and cheese.  She'll use Silk vanilla soymilk in cereal or in baked goods/pancakes, etc but won't drink a cup of it.  Honestly, we just avoid dairy and dairy substitutes for the most part because the subs all taste funny and she remembers what dairy tastes like. 

post #8 of 23

I have had NO success with commercial cheese substitutes but then I can't buy Daiya where I live.  They taste slightly similar to cheese, just enough so to make me miss the real thing.

I use whole cashews, avocado slices, coconut milk, and soy yoghurt or puddings to keep my family from missing dairy. I have found, the more complicated the recipe, the more potential to disappoint, so I would recommend starting out by using these foods whole if possible before looking for recipes which are a little more complicated, such as cheesecake make with avocado or sauces made out of ground up nuts.  (I have wasted a lot of expensive ingredients, and hours of time, on food which tasted nothing like the "real" thing.)

An easy alternative to macaroni and cheese would be pasta with a favourite sauce (we use either marinara or cheese-free green pesto) with a handful of cashews on top. You can also try throwing a handful of cashews into rice dishes. Avocado replaces cheese well in salads and on Mexican, and coconut milk (or rice milk) makes a veg soup nice and creamy.

If you are not veg you can always try substituting things like bacon or sausages to flavour the recipe.

A white sauce--out of oil, flour, salt and water, such as you would use on lasagne, also has that creamy texture.

My all-time favourite from Jo Stepaniak in "Vegan Vittles" is Unstuffed Shells--don't know if I'm allowed to post the recipe here because of copyright.  You might find the same recipe in The Uncheese Book.

Basically, I would just make sure to replace the fatty dairy your son is missing with some other source of (healthy) fats so that he feels satisfied.  He will learn to expect the new dishes over time.  Kids can usually be distracted easily-- ie "There is no cheese for the tacos but we have avocados.  I know you aren't used to avocados yet, but I also bought chocolate soy pudding for dessert.  Will that work?".

post #9 of 23

ditto here with my 10 year old dd. along with gluten.

 

for your son it is cheese. for my dd it is icecream.

 

but for me what i have done is completely changed our eating habits. since she is our only, i have joined her too. how could i not. 

 

keeping an eye on healthy food has always been our family's philosophy. so dd has learnt to read labels. she was shocked when her coconut icecream had 60 % fat in half a cup (she was reading that casually as she was eating her second bowl). THAT should be illegal. she will now do soy once in a great while. 

 

we have both eaten and made a great mac and cheese with nutritional yeast. i havent made it in a great while. and i've lost the recipe. 

 

dd loves clam chowder. she is also struggling to be a vegan. we found a great recipe for vegan gluten free corn chowder that she loved.

 

there are lots of great vegan recipes out there. i try to make some of those so that dd finds other favourite foods and can let go of what she cant eat. 

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestion to use daiya. We tried it and all of us loved it, even those of us who don't need to be dairy free. Its expensive, but I think its going to be worth it. smile.gif
post #11 of 23

I watch for it to go on sale and i buy a bunch and freeze it, haven't had issues with it!

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesiesGirl View Post

Have you tried Daiya? It does melt, unlike many vegan cheeses, but I'm not sure if it would melt quite as much as dairy cheese would. I was never a cheese connoisseur but Daiya does taste quite authentic to me. If I am remembering correctly it does come in a few different varieties of shredded cheese. HTH!

Daiya cheese does taste good, but it contains titanium dioxide and most likely MSG (under natural flavors).

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymama1976 View Post

Daiya cheese does taste good, but it contains titanium dioxide and most likely MSG (under natural flavors).

I don't think I ever claimed that it was healthy? I haven't had it for years for that reason but obviously people make different choices so I just thought I would mention it as it is still a "less bad" alternative to dairy cheese.
post #14 of 23

I have used the cheddar daiya to make mac n' cheese. There are several recipes if you google it. I use the one where you mix it with vegetable broth. It comes out half decent. The mozzarella style Teese is okay on veggie burger and such. There's a local cashew cream cheese in New York that I can't seem to get anywhere else that dd loves. 

I've tried so many others over the years and they've all been horrible. A lot of the milk replacements are great for baking and ice cream but cheese has always been that one thing that just seems to rarely work out.

DD has been soooooooo excited for months about the new Daiya slices coming out. She wanted to try the swiss in the worst way. I thought it might be okay since the cheddar is tolerable. Well, we finally found the swiss at Whole Foods yesterday and it was disgusting. The kid was literally so disappointed she cried.

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
I used the daiya mozerella as a flavoring on spaghetti, and used a mix of the mozerella and cheddar flavors for mac and cheese. My son can be a very picky eater, yet he likes these flavors.

I don't see it as "unhealthy" even if it does contain titanium dioxide and msg. These are common ingredients in many processed foods, its not a risk specific to this food. I see cheese (or cheese substitutes, as it is) as a flavoring, not a staple in our diet. We don't have it with every meal, or even every day.
post #16 of 23

I can't stand Daiya except in tiny amounts (of the wedge-style) on a sandwich. It's gummy and sticky.  The shredded Daiya resulted in two wasted pizzas.  (And we're GF, so those crusts were both handmade and not cheap.)  The exception is the Amy's GFDFSF frozen mac&cheese, but it's still a bit sticky/gummy.  Bleagh.

 

My best advice is to seek other alternatives.  Nothing is the same as cheese, especially in the beginning.  Let your palate have a break and give it time to readjust.

post #17 of 23

so we were at our local co-op and there was a company advertising their cashew nut cheese. they ferment and make cheese. dd tried a few of them and she for the first time said they were delicious. of course pricey as hell. but at least we finally found a cheese (its a spread) that she can actually enjoy. 

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

so we were at our local co-op and there was a company advertising their cashew nut cheese. they ferment and make cheese. dd tried a few of them and she for the first time said they were delicious. of course pricey as hell. but at least we finally found a cheese (its a spread) that she can actually enjoy. 


 

Along this same line I've tried these recipes and techniques and been quite happy with them:

 

Probiotic Vegan Cheese, Raw

 

Probiotic Vegan Cream Cheese, Raw

post #19 of 23

bow.gif wow!!! kudos to you for trying. it looks so interesting. yet so simple. not too much about it. 

 

THANKS SO MUCH for the links. i might give it a whirl later on. 

post #20 of 23
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