13 November 2013

Not-Your Momma's Queso Sauce

I love tortilla chips and picante sauce.  When Nacho Mom's Original Queso Sauce came to Vegan Essentials, I tried it and liked it, but didn't love it.  But, when mixed with some Pace Picante Sauce, the mixture became better than either of its parts.

The beauty of this sauce is that it is low in calories, no fat, and can be used for a lot of things, like baked potatoes, in pasta sauce, etc.  

Having both Nacho Mom and Pace around to mix became the routine.  Nacho Mom's kept getting more expensive, and then seemed to always be out of stock when I placed an order. One day, the temperature dropped from 56F to 14F in a few hours, and it seemed like a good day to come up with my own sauce.  I expected it to take several tries, but it was actually pretty simple and took less than 10 minutes to do.

This recipe uses regular all purpose flour for the thickening agent, becasue Nacho Mom had flour listed as an ingredient.  However, I have also tried this with tapioca flour and it worked fine.

The recipe calls for two cans of 'RoTel Tomatoes with Green Chiles. Most chain groceries have a cheaper house brand of this product as well.  However, you can use a can of diced organic canned tomatoes and a can of green chiles from the Mexican food section of your grocery.  You could even chop fresh tomatoes, if you wanted.  I have also made this with diced fire-roasted tomatoes and fresh jalapenos, by adding the jalapenos, diced, to the liquid on the stove to soften while it thickens.

Not-Your Momma's Queso Sauce

2 cans RoTel Tomatoes with Green Chiles
water as needed
1/2 c nutritional yeast
3 heaping Tbs of all purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4  tsp garlic powder (optional)
1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
2 tsp Massel Salt Reduced Chicken Bouillon Powder (vegan bouillon powder)

Drain the cans of Rotel into your blender jar and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.  Set the solids aside.

Check the level of liquid in your blender, and add water to bring it to 20 oz (2 1/2 c)

Add all the other ingredients, and blend until the flour is well incorporated.

Preheat a 2 quart saucepan.

Add the blender liquid to the saucepan and cook until it bubbles and thickens, about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the reserved solids from the cans and mix well.

Let cool , then move to a wide mouth mason jar. It will thicken up a little as it cools.  Refrigerate.

06 September 2013

Arugula, Hummus, Daiya Flatbread 

If you are looking for a super-fast, low calorie, healthy yet flavor packed dish, try this flatbread. This is one of my go-to summer lunches.  The cheese, hummus, arugula and balsamic make a terrific combination.  My favorite components are a lavash or FlatOut flatbread, Tribe Classic Hummus, and Daiya Jack Style Wedge, and a good quality Moderna balsamic vinegar.

Arugula, Hummus, Daiya Flatbread 

1-2 hands-full arugula (2 - 2 1/2c)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp chile flakes, optional
3-4 Tbs hummus, such as Tribe Classic
1 1/2 oz Daiya Jack style wedge cheese, grated
1 FlatOut flatbread, or a lavash trimmed to the size of your plate.


Take 1-2 hands-full of arugula and toss in a bowl.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and the salt. Add the chile flakes, if using.  Toss and set aside for a few minutes.

Take your flatbread and spread it with a thin layer of hummus (preferably one without cumin, such as Tribe Classic). Grate the Daiya cheese evenly over the flatbread.

Quick method: toss the flatbread into the microwave for 30 seconds until the Daiya melts, then proceed.
Slower, crisper method: Heat a 10-12" skillet over medium heat.  When the skillet is hot, add the layered flatbread and heat until the Daiya starts melting, about 3 minutes.  This method makes for a tastier crust.
Quickest method: eat it cold...

Once the flatbread is warm, top with the arugula, drizzling remaining oil and vinegar over the top, and dig in.

05 September 2013

Pimento Cheese, Vegan Style

One of the few things I still miss from my non-vegan days is good old Southern pimento cheese...  It seems that different places in the South have different versions of this classic, but I've tried to recreate the one I used to eat the most.

Pimento Cheese Spread

2.5 oz (1/3 block)  Daiya Cheddar Wedge, grated
3.5 oz (1/2 block) Daiya Jack Wedge, grated
1/3 - 1/2 c (to taste) Earth Balance Mindful Mayo
1 1/2 tsp Annie's Naturals Organic Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
1 2oz jar diced pimentos (Dromedary brand) drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder


Mix all ingredients well and let sit in the fridge for an hour, or better, overnight.   If using Daiya  Cheddar Shreds instead of the wedge cheese, you might need to add a small amount of salt.