Just when I thought zucchini and yellow squash couldn’t get any more versatile, I stumbled across this recipe for “Zucchini Cheese” and I squealed. Yup…mind-blown! I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and test this out! Turns out you can swap other veggies for the zucchini as well, so this won’t be the other time I make a variation of this recipe.
A quick and EASY cheese substitute that is nut-free and made from veggies?!? This “cheese” makes a great snack on the go or a unique dairy substitute on a sandwich or lettuce wrap. You can even serve over warm soup for a cheesy swirl or top sauteed asparagus or other veggies for a saucy flavor boost.
It even MELTS (thank you coconut oil and gelatin), well kind of melt…it becomes more of a sauce with a cheesy flavor if you serve this over anything warm. I added it to a bowl of warm spaghetti squash with sauteed chard and it had a cheesy pasta feel to it. If you are looking for a 100% cheese fix, you might be a tad disappointed but I was open-minded about the results and loved it!
Summer Squash “Cheese” (lightly adapted from AIP Lifestyle)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free, Paleo-friendly, Sugar-free, Anti-Candida Friendly
1 cup zucchini, chopped into 1-inch cubes (peel first if you don’t want the green color, I left peels on)
1 cup yellow squash, chopped into 1-inch cubes (can use more zucchini if desired)
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp coconut oil (olive oil, ghee/butter can also be used)*
1 1/2 – 2 tsp raw coconut vinegar (can use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar if preferred)
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt (I used fine hickory smoked salt)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (optional but brightens up the color a bit + it’s anti-inflammatory)
3 1/2- 4 Tbsp gelatin (I used Great Lakes in a the red can)
contents from 1 probiotic capsule (optional but I used this)
1. Line a bread pan with non-bleached parchment paper or a silicone baking pan may be use without a need for parchment paper.
2. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add squash and zucchini, then cover and simmer on medium low heat for 5 – 8 minutes. Drain off the water completely (You can save the water to sip or to cook with vegetables).
3. Add your veggies to a blender then add the oil, vinegar/lemon juice, tumeric and sea salt. Blend on high speed.
4. With your blender set on low speed, sprinkle the gelatin into the mixture. Blend on high for one last whizz until smooth.
5. If you want to add probiotics to your ‘cheese’ wait for the mixture to cool so that it is no longer hot to touch in the blender. Add the probiotics and blend on low.
6. Pour into your prepared pan and refrigerate overnight or for at least three hours to set. Alternatively to speed things up you can freeze to set, for about an hour.
7. Cut into squares, cheese slice, dice, melt, or grate. Use on protein patty’s, with veggies, in salads, and use incorporated into snack plates.
8. Wrap and refrigerate, or store slices in an airtight container. For best flavor, consume within 10 days.
*If you are using extra virgin olive oil, wait until your mixture has cooled slightly so that the heat does not oxidize or morph the structure of the delicate polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Notes: If you want a more cheesy flavor, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, however it’s not AIP-friendly so I haven’t tried it yet!