I stopped eating meat almost two years ago, right after our son was born. At the end of 2008, I decided to stop eating animal products all together, and gave up eggs and dairy, including cheese… almost. I have always loved cheese, and I found that I would still occasionally buy it, although far less often than I used to.
Then I discovered Kristen’s vegan nacho cheese sauce, and no longer had a need for dairy based cheese in any Mexican-style meal. That stuff is amazing (my husband seconds that vote).
Last week, I discovered Gena’s Hemp-esan, and I think I’m now set for life without dairy cheese. I bought two big buckets of hemp seeds last month, and I also bought a six pound bucket of nutritional yeast at the co-op (for a sweet discount, since I bought it in bulk) last month, so I should be able to make hemp-esan and nacho cheese sauce for a good long while without running out of ingredients. (To be fair, hemp seeds are not cheap. But neither is parmesan cheese.) The first time I tried it, I used 1/4 cup of hemp seeds and 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast. We used that up at one meal, so I’m now making two cups at a time and storing it in a glass jar in the fridge. My husband gave it a thumbs up, and as far as I’m concerned, it makes a great topping for just about anything. We’d had it on spaghetti, pizza, and several types of salad, and it’s definitely a winner.
I’ve always liked nutritional yeast. Maybe that goes back to the days when my mother would mix it into our orange juice in the mornings… I don’t know. But it adds a great cheesy flavor to foods, and is an excellent alternative if you’re looking for a way to avoid eating cheese.