Delicious Daiya - Recipe and Photos

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When I first decided I was going to try out being vegan in 2005 I made an ill-fated trip to my natural food store to pick up some shiny new products including a block of soy cheese that was hard, gray, and smelled like sweat socks. "I've been tricked," I thought. The pizza cravings set in pretty quickly. There was a place near Tim's apartment that advertised vegan pizza that was pretty decent but we eventually learned they were using casein-based cheese. Bastards!

Eventually I learned of Follow Your Heart brand soy cheese which made a reasonable substitute in small quantities and I started making pizza at home. Sometime in 2008 I believe, Chicago Soy Dairy came out with Teese. It was basically love at first taste. It melted so much better and the taste was a little uncanny. (Tim actually didn't care for the nacho Teese because he thought it tasted too much like the real thing.)

And then along came Daiya. For months I've heard it being hailed as the holy grail of vegan cheese, so when Rainbow Grocery finally started carrying it, I stocked up. It is very good. Perhaps I've gotten spoiled, but it didn't blow me away like I thought it would. But it has a lot of advantages going for it: it melts much faster than other vegan cheeses, it lasts a long time in the fridge, it comes pre-shredded, and it is soy-free, made rather from casava root.

I bought kind of a ridiculous amount of it though and I'm still looking for dishes to use it up. Here's a little collage of meals I've made with it so far:
Starting at the top we've got a veggie pizza and a basic spaghetti marinara (made with Mariquita Farms tomatoes). The middle two are from a lasagne which was awesome. By far the best vegan lasagne I've ever had. Bottom right we've got tempeh marinara with breadsticks and salad. The salad had Daiya in it too because I find that it works really well as a Parmesan substitute as well as a mozzarella. That's what inspired the last dish.

When I was just vegetarian I used to make this all the time using Parm, and it was probably really bad for me. I modified the recipe to make it a bit healthier and will share it for you here:

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli, Chard, and Daiya

While your pasta water is boiling, chop up one stalk of broccoli into small pieces. Steam it in a covered pan for just 2 minutes or so so it's still somewhat firm. Add a tablespoon or olive oil, one chopped clove of garlic, a pinch of thyme, and a cup of chopped chard. (Spinach would work as well.) Add some vegetable broth keep it cooking and liberally add salt and black pepper. Once your pasta has nearly finished cooking add 1/4 cup of Daiya Italian cheese to the broccoli mix and keep stirring. Drain your pasta and toss it right into your pan to mix it all up.

Plate it and top it with some more Daiya and extra black pepper (you really can't use too much). It makes either one really large serving or two small ones.

If you've got any great recipes using Daiya let me know. Or if you can think of any meals you used to enjoy with mozzarella or parmesan and would like to see veganized, I'm always willing to give that a shot!


Greg R said...

I am glad to hear you enjoyed the Daiya product. I have been working closely with them. We have developed a Vegan pizza product that will feature, pepperoni, sausage and roasted vegys. It should be in stores early in 2010.

Greg Rekas
R&D Chef
Turtle Island Foods

leslie joan linder said...

Daiya in mexican style quesadillas is good too. I usually fill mine with sweet potato, spinach, and a little garlic/chiles, etc. but the Daiya tops it off really well.

I wish Daiya had more recipes on their site. Thanks for the spaghetti recipe idea!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe -- I'm going to try it tonight.

Like you, my previous attempts at veganism were thwarted by really unappetizing cheese substitutes. I have now discovered Daiya and absolutely love it!!