Friday, February 24, 2012

Dairy-Free Nacho Cheese Sauce

The kids and I enjoyed a treat last night: nachos. Interestingly enough, when I use Google Analytics the term "paleo nachos" has landed quite a few readers on this site! There's just something about the dish that people love, a guilty treat to be sure.

In the past I have made my nachos with homemade sweet potato chips BUT indulged in a little cheese on top. A 100% Paleo-compliant nacho is a pretty tricky feat. Last night I allowed myself some Simply Sprouted tortilla chips; I'm running a 1/2 marathon on Sunday so taking in a few more carbs here and there.

If you're looking for a reasonable "cheat," these chips are great! I love that they are sprouted and organic/GMO-free. Quinoa, chia and sweet potato certainly make the chips more healthy than the myriad of other junky options out there. I didn't feel bloated or ill after eating this dinner, which is saying quite a lot!

Since I was wiggling the rules a bit with the chips, I tried my hand out on some non-dairy cheese topping. Vegans often call it "cheez," which makes me snicker.

I tinkered with a recipe in a vegan cookbook to come up with my own nacho cheese sauce. It didn't taste exactly like the real thing, but once it topped the nachos and spent a few minutes under the broiler.... perfection! The kids had no idea their nachos weren't covered with cheese.

Vegan Nacho "Cheese" Sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tbs. tahini
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of dry mustard
1 tbs. arrowroot powder (I imagine you could use flour)
1/4 tsp turmeric (makes the "cheese" yellow)
1 tbs. olive oil
couple tbs. of salsa

Combine all ingredients through oil in a blender, and process until smooth. Transfer to a small pot and heat over low heat for about five minutes, stirring continuously**. Add a little more almond milk to thin it out to desired consistency. Stir in salsa to taste.

**I scorched my pot a little bit during the process, so speak from experience that you shouldn't walk away from the stove!! 

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