So, being gluten and dairy free, and being the obsessive researcher that I am, I look at lots of blogs on this topic. There is all this buzz about the blogosphere on Daiya cheese... I had never heard of it, and couldn't find it anywhere...
Lo and behold, today, while at one of my favorite fresh markets, (Sunflower Farmer's Market that is) I walked by the dairy ("dairy") aisle and saw in brand new fashion a package of DAIYA CHEESE sitting there... granted, it is a little pricier than regular cheese, but at $3.99 a bag, I thought I would try it and see what all the kerfuffle is about.
Here are some pictures of the package so you can get an idea about what I am working with:
As you can see, it's definitely not NOT a whole food, but it is definitely not something made from scary ingredients either. But does it taste good?
Well, I tasted it, and I have to say it tastes a LOT better than the rice cheese I have used in the past. So, I decided to make a dairy free (vegan) Pesto. And, let me just say, that the finished product is DELICIOUS.
So, I love pesto. I don't know about all of you, but it happens to be my favorite thing at Italian restaurants. But, pine nuts? $19.95 per pound? Yeah, right. I instead use RAW sunflower seeds. Much more cost effective, and just as tasty if you ask me.
I also get my fresh basil at Sunflower Market, which just so happens to be right up the street from me, making my life so much easier... It's about $4.95 for a big bag of ORGANIC Basil!
So, typically, the recipe calls for, (and I want to note that up until the last month, I have been using) PARMESAN SHREDDED CHEESE, but since going Dairy free, that's not an option for me. So, in steps the Daiya... Here is the recipe and some pictures for you.
2 cups PACKED fresh basil leaves
1/3-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (or pine nuts)
3 cloves of fresh garlic (or I use the minced garlic, and use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of it)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheese (or Parmesan)
In a food processor, add the fresh basil leaves and sunflower seeds and garlic and pulse it a few times until everything looks really chopped up. Then add the salt and pepper, pulse again. Add the cheese and turn the food processor on, while pouring in the olive oil fairly slowly.
That's it. Taste it, make sure it's the consistency you like, and then just eat it and enjoy it!
It will stay good in the fridge for about a week, but it freezes really well. I like to freeze mine in individual snack size plastic baggies and then just defrost it with warm water when I want to use it. I don't cook mine, because I like the raw pesto best, but you can definitely cook yours if that is the way you like it.
Me personally? I like to put it on toast and devour. :)
If you are curious about the bread that I use, it is called UDI'S WHOLE GRAIN BREAD. It is SO SO SO GOOD.
I think that I can safely say that Daiya Cheese is now among Udi's Bread as the only product of it's kind that I will buy when I buy it.