Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nacho Nacho Vegan!

Tonight was nacho night. We haven't had nachos in forever, and not at all since we've gone vegan. The one thing I hear the most from people when we talk about going vegan is, "I don't think I could do it. I could never give up cheese." Well, I have to admit, it was difficult to give up that ooey gooey deliciousness that is cheese. But, becoming lactose intolerant this past year did help! Not so much fun to eat something that doesn't make you feel well. Actually, that's how I feel in general about non-vegan food - it doesn't make you feel well, whether you realize it or not. Just try going vegan and see how much better you feel! For me, that was a big indicator that the food I had been eating was not good for my body. (Keep in mind, I was on the "healthier" end of the non-vegan spectrum - it's not like I ate tons of junk and processed stuff all the time. I was eating chicken breast, steamed veggies, skim milk, etc. - all that supposedly "healthy" food.)

But, you do get to missing some non-vegan food. And cheese is definitely one of those foods. There are vegan "cheeses" out there, like Daiya, but I don't particularly like them. They seem to try too hard to be cheese, when all they really are is mostly chemicals that melt into a sticky gooey mess (and not gooey in a good way). I came across yet another amazing recipe from Oh She Glows! for "Cheeze" sauce and decided that it might be a good thing to try with nachos. I made the recipe exactly as printed, but I would add less salt next time as I found it a little too salty. I'm pretty sensitive to saltiness, so others might find it to be okay. I might also add a little less dijon mustard as it was pretty tangy, but not necessarily in a bad way. Overall, it was a pretty good substitute for cheese sauce. I made a double recipe so we'd have lots:

Looks pretty "cheezy," doesn't it? I assembled the nachos using organic blue corn tortilla chips with flax, one diced red pepper, one diced green pepper, about 1 cup/250 ml cooked black beans, and a bunch of frozen corn. I broiled the nachos with toppings on in the oven for about 10 minutes or so - keep a watch on them so they don't burn. Then, I poured the hot "Cheeze" sauce over top. I have to say, it was pretty yummy. The hubby and I basically finished off this entire tray:

I don't feel too bad about eating so many nachos since they were mostly bean-veggie topping with not too many chips. But I was wondering about that cheeze sauce - how did it stack up for calorie and fat content compared to real cheese sauce (using this basic recipe). Using the recipe analyzer at, I discovered that it is actually really similar to real cheese sauce in terms of calories, protein, and fat content (the recipe I used for real cheese sauce was supposed to be a lower-fat version of the more processed types). But, in terms of good points, the real cheese sauce only has three: high in calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin, plus two bad points: high in saturated fat and sugar. Meanwhile the cheeze sauce has many good points: no cholesterol, very low in sugar, high in dietary fiber, high in iron, very high in niacin, very high in pantothenic acid, very high in phosphorus, high in potassium, very high in riboflavin, very high in thiamin, high in vitamin B6, high in vitamin E, and NO bad points. In my mind, this makes the cheeze sauce a much more worthwhile use of my calories. So, perhaps not our most low-calorie dinner, but we seriously don't plan on eating it very often. Not sure if you could go vegan 'cause you'd miss the cheese? Give this sauce a try - but be openminded (it won't taste exactly like cheese because it isn't cheese!) and remember that you are putting good things into your body when you eat whole-food plant-based. Be kind to your body - it's the only one you've got!

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