There are stacks of dairy-free ‘cheese’ recipes online and in books now. Some taste good and some taste nothing like cheese of course. Some are easy to make, some are really hard work. Plus, most are made using nuts and not everyone can tolerate nuts well. Like me!
Most of my recipes are derived from a desire to create Paleo-friendly nut-free dishes for those who are allergic, don’t feel good eating many nuts, or just want nut-free alternatives. Especially important for school lunchboxes!
Last year I was introduced to an amazing dairy-free nut-free melting cheese recipe thanks to the legendary Aussie Paleo Chef (as known on Facebook, but just ‘Dan’ to us!) which goes brilliantly in Paleo burgers, in lasagne and on my chicken parmie recipe (in my soon-to-come Banana Flour e-book!!) and one of my fave recipes to teach people at private cooking workshops, always crediting back to the man himself of course!
If you’d like to grab his melting cheese recipe just download the Paleo Kitchen Creations e-book and enjoy the deliciousness!
So since learning that recipe, using it a lot and loving it.. I wanted to create a cheese that didn’t work only melted and could be spread onto crackers like regular animal milk-based cheese. One day I got creative in the kitchen and came up with a winner, using similar ingredients to Dan’s recipe, but slightly different. Of course though, me being me and not always organised in the kitchen, I didn’t write down the recipe as I went and couldn’t then remember the ingredients or method afterwards therefore I couldn’t replicate it so I could give it to you guys! Oh believe me, I tried! And failed… many times.
I’d almost given up but decided recently to have another crack.. and whad’ya know.. success!
I’ve finally created a spreadable cheese alternative recipe! I’ll be honest though, it doesn’t taste like real cheese, no cheese substitutes do. But, it’s a really healthy alternative and something interesting to include at dinner parties, as a snack, whenever you’d usually use cheese really.
Since it isn’t cheese and doesn’t taste exactly like cheese, let’s not call it “cheese”. Because that’s a fib after all! Instead, how ’bout we call it.. Cheezy Paleo Spread as it does have a likeness to cheese but it’s not the same as it, and that’s kinda cheezy I think! 😉
Ingredients you’ll need:
1/2 cup organic desiccated coconut
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1 tbsp grass-fed pure beef gelatin powder (grab some via our affiliate link here)
2 tbsp spring/filtered water
1/2-1 tsp turmeric powder – depending on how yellow you want your cheez
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Niulife creamed coconut (not coconut cream/milk, but dried coconut processed to become ‘creamy’)
Himalayan salt to taste
Kitchen bits you’ll need:
Good blender (high speed, bullet, or glass with decent power)
Measuring spoons and cups
Round or square/rectangle container lined with baking paper or plastic wrap. Plastic wrap will probably allow for creases to appear around the edges of the cheez but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
Steps to follow:
- In a small saucepan add 1 tbsp water and gently sprinkle gelatin powder evenly over the surface. Do not turn the stove on until the gelatin powder has absorbed some of the water and has ‘bloomed’.
- Turn heat to medium and whisk the liquid so all gelatin granules have dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside
- Add to the blender add all remaining ingredients then drizzle the gelatin water on top
- Place the lid on the blender and blitz on high to break down the desiccated coconut and combine everything well. You can blitz until you reach a very smooth consistency or stop before it reaches that if you prefer the texture of some of the coconut remaining
- As you’re blending feel free to add a smidge more water (as in 1 tsp at a time) in case the mixture is too thick and isn’t combining properly. This can depend on your blender. Basically, you’re after a well combined and thick mixture with no lumps of creamed coconut or arrowroot remaining
- Once it’s to your liking use a silicon spatula or food processor scraper (food processor scrapers seem to work perfectly for getting around all the grooves in blenders!) to remove the mixture and transfer to the lined container
- Gently tap the base of the container on a steady surface like a chopping board to help the mixture spread to the corners and settle evenly
- Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set
- When it’s time to serve, take it out of the fridge, grab the plastic or paper to remove it all from the container then remove the paper/plastic so you’re left with a big chunk of yellow cheez
- Serve on a platter with crackers spread out around, or cut to smaller sizes if you wish. Keep in mind on a really hot day outside the cheez may melt because of the coconut oil and gelatin but it will take a while to melt completely. Use a butter knife to spread onto crackers or slide carrot sticks into it. Easy!
- Store in the fridge in an air-tight container or wrapped in plastic. It contains gelatin which is an animal product so it will spoil after a few days as with any animal product. The apple cider vinegar will help preserve it to an extent but if the smell or colour changes please discard it.
The recipe for the Rosemary Crackers (in the image) will be in my Banana Flour e-book, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.. launching in February 2016, yay!
I hope you enjoy creating and eating this recipe, please do let me know what you think!
Here are some answers to some questions I may get after sharing this recipe:
- Why not use nutritional yeast? I have experimented with it many times and every time it leaves my stomach very bloated and gassy the next day. From what I’ve read about it, it’s so processed and unnatural in its useable state that it easily messes with digestion. And don’t we mostly go Paleo to improve gut health?! Feel free to use it if you can tolerate it well but remember it could have inflammatory effects. It would replace turmeric for the yellow effect but turmeric is so healthy!
- Why use gelatin? Pure gelatin is so healing (so it’s actually good for digestion!) and helps create the texture of this cheez
- Could I use other types of dried coconut? Yes but the larger the pieces the longer they’ll take to break down enough in the blender.
Let me know if you have any questions to add!
5 Things I’m Grateful For:
- Our long weekend away in NSW going to a family wedding, seeing new places and staying with amazing friends
- The sun out today so I can get some Vitamin D!
- Healthy recipe creating
- All Dan’s wonderful advice and inspiration
- You guys reading our blogs!