Though I grew up plant-based, I added cheese to my diet once I left home. I did not know then what I know now about casomorphins. Those casomorphins in dairy cheese are like CRACK (Yes, really! See this article on the Cheese Trap)! I can honestly tell you that I was addicted!! I used to tell my friends to just call me a MOUSE because I loved cheese so much! Now, even though I grew up plant-based, cheese was very hard to stop eating once I added it to my diet.
Yep, you guessed it! As with many folk, cheese took a toll on my health, which is one of the biggest reasons I returned to my plant-based roots. I experienced many troubles ranging from weight gain, sinus trouble, constipation, colon blockages that all had my love of cheese as the root cause. I would take vacations from cheese to regain my health. During these times I would want nothing more to do with cheese; and I would tell folk that I broke up with cheese for life (and I meant it!), but before long, we were seeing each other again. I felt like my words were like ropes of sand when it came to cheese. Then, I studied about the power of the will. With God’s help, I was able to make the tough CHOICE to win the victory over temptation and eliminate cheese from my diet, which was a huge victory for my health. I put “choice” in all capital letters because this choice includes a solid, daily decision in prayer to the Lord for His help to gain the victory over every besetment. It is me saying, “No!” to those things that are bad for me, no matter how much I crave them. It is me knowing that I am WEAK and that God must give me HIS STRENGTH daily (and He does!). Anything bad for us, any sin, He will give us power to overcome! I relate this to all my fellow human MICE because God is able to do the same for you, if you but ask Him! There is victory over addictions. I have gained victory by God’s grace over cheese! I praise the Lord!!!
So, cheese… yeah… there’s was only one sure way to succeed. Make my own cheese! For me, really nothing tastes like it on the market. If I had to eat those nasty substitutes, I would rather go without cheese entirely. I have tried just about every cheese substitute and I can honestly say that only a few were even close, but a few of these had the casein protein, which means that dairy is still present; so how can that be a dairy substitute?? A few also had unnamed flavorings; so how do I know what I am eating?? Things that make you go, “Hmm…!”
So, I decided to experiment and find a plant-based version that works for me. In many ways, I am yet experimenting, but I truly like this one that I am releasing to you here, my white cheese sauce. I like it and so does my family. I typically make this recipe without oil, but I do oil my pans. The nuts have a great deal of oil already. Once you roast the sesame seeds for this recipe, you’ll see that. Oh! One tip, I roast about 1/8 cup of sesame seeds and just use that up as I make this cheese over time. It lasts for a while. I do think the roasted sesame seeds adds that something special to the recipe. I will tell you that I will be experimenting with adding roasted pine nuts or walnuts in its place; so I will report my findings once complete.
I know we do not all have the SAME taste buds, but I think it taste like cheese in the recipes I use it in, but this may be because I’ve gone so long a time without cheese. Though everyone loves this dish, I’ll leave the verdict to you! Either way, all say this white sauce is good in my white mac-n-cheese or potatoes au gratin (which is similar to scalloped potatoes). I’ll share these recipes later, but both of these include this white cheese sauce. The feature picture is the potatoes au gratin.
Well, without further ado, here is the recipe. I hope this brings you one step closer to giving up animal-based cheese! Enjoy!!!
White Cheese Sauce (Plant-based)
- 3 cups pure water
- ½ cup macadamia nuts* (or brazil nuts* or cashews)
- ½ cup of extra-firm tofu, pressed dry
- 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 5 Tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
- 1 tablespoon potato starch, optional but preferred
- 1 Tablespoon pink Himalayan salt
- 2 Tablespoons lime/lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon cold-pressed avocado oil, optional
- ¼ heaping teaspoon dried onion
- 1/8 heaping teaspoon roasted sesame seeds**
- Put all ingredients into the blender and blend for about 1 minute or more, or until smooth.
- Pour over potatoes for potatoes au gratin or macaroni for mac-n-cheese and bake UNCOVERED at 400 °F for 40-60 minutes.
*Brazil or macademia nuts are preferred! I typically soak my brazil nuts.
** Roast raw sesame seeds at 425 °F for 5 minutes.