Friday, February 15, 2008

Low Fat Vegan Cheese Sauce

To my great chagrin, I had developed a lactose intolerance over the last couple of years. I hope I leave it behind, but for now I've been on a quest for vegan cheese. Soy cheese often contains milk protein (casein), and is often very high fat, so I just wasn't eating cheese. It's one of those unique foods that you can't really substitute anything for, but you can come up with a replacement and then get used to it. That's how I found it was with milk. There's no pretending that Rice Dream tastes or acts like milk, but after not having any milk for quite awhile, the Rice Dream kind of grows on you.
So playing around in the kitchen today I came up with a substitute cheese sauce that I think would taste pretty good as a dip for crackers, or a sauce for a baked potato or rice. I was also wanting something high in protein, and low in fat. Really it would be fat free if you left out the tahini.

Low Fat Vegan Cheese Sauce

1 cup red lentils (the little orange ones used for dahl)
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (this is available at health food stores- make sure it is not brewer's yeast though)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons course ground mustard (spicy, dijon type stuff)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

First I cooked the red lentils in the water, simmering slowly till very soft. Next, I added the rest of the ingredients and pureed it with a hand blender.
Now as a qualifier, I must say that it does not taste like cheese. But if you are interested in changing your diet as part of your healing from depression, then you will probable end up trying new foods! It's certainly cheaper to make than a high fat cheese sauce, so if you aren't convinced, there is no great loss.
What do you think?

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