Tag Archives: dairy-free cheese

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Broad Bean & Pancetta Risotto


This is a wonderfully earthy recipe, combining the powerfully-savoury taste of thyme with the substantial broad beans, and the strong pancetta and dairy-free cheese. I use the Cheezly dairy-free cheeses because I think they’re the best on the market – and my favourites are the White Cheddar Style, Red Cheddar Style and the new Blue Style Cheezly. These are all made with soya but if you don’t want to eat soya, they also make a Soya Free Cheezly which is really good.

Broad beans are in season right now (and lovely), so if you can get fresh ones, it’s well worth the extra effort of shelling them (and if you have time to skin them, even better!) But don’t worry if you can only get the frozen variety – this dish will still be delicious.

Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 5 minutes     Cooking time 20-25 minutes     Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250g/9oz/heaped 1 cup arborio or other risotto rice
  • 300ml/10½fl oz/scant 1¼ cups organic dry white wine
  • 800ml/28fl oz/scant 3¼ cups hot, gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free vegetable stock, or vegetable stock made from gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free stock powder
  • 1kg/2lb 4oz broad beans, shelled, or 450g/1lb/heaped 2½ cups shelled broad beans
  • 200g/7oz pancetta
  • 1½ tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 handful chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 75g/2½oz dairy-free cheese, shaved
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then lower the heat and stir in the rice until it is well coated in oil.
  2. Pour a little of the wine into the mixture and stir. Continue cooking over a low heat, gradually adding and stirring in the wine, until it has all been absorbed. Add a ladle of the hot stock and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding and stirring in the hot stock for 18–20 minutes until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, steam the broad beans in a saucepan of boiling water or a steamer for 5-7 minutes, depending on their size, until they are just tender. Remove from the heat, drain and set to one side. (And remove the skins if you have time.)
  4. Pour the remaining oil into a heavy-based frying pan and heat over a medium heat until hot. Add the pancetta and fry for 4-6 minutes until just crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. When the risotto mixture is almost cooked, season lightly with salt and pepper to taste and add the beans and pancetta. Stir in carefully and continue to cook for a further minute until the rice is soft but still has a slight bite and all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the thyme (and parsley leaves if using), and sprinkle with the shavings of cheese. Serve immediately.

Dairy-Free Cashew Nut Cheeses


Cashew nut cheese is the classic vegan version of cheese. The subtle taste of the cashews, along with their soft texture when soaked, mean that they make a wonderfully creamy, soft cheese (and also cream). The mixture can then be flavoured – whether it’s with herbs, spices, or other ingredients to make delicious cheeses. I’ve used a recipe from Nicola Graimes’ new book New Vegetarian Kitchen, which I featured a few weeks ago and is full of inspirational and creative recipes for vegetarians, including this recipe for a trio of (dairy-free) cashew nut cheeses.

These cheeses are delicious just as they are, eaten with gluten-free bread or toast. But they’re also wonderful when added to a recipe. I made the herb one with rosemary instead of the suggested thyme, oregano or chives because I wanted to add it to a tomato-based pasta sauce I’d made to make it creamy, and wanted the strong rosemary flavour. The bland flavour of cashew nut cheese will work with a myriad of flavours, both subtle and strong – whatever you feel like trying!

Makes 3 different cheeses     Preparation time 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 300g/10½oz/2 cups cashew nuts
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • a large pinch of smoked paprika
  • 5 tbsp shelled pistachios, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp chopped mixed herbs, such as thyme, oregano and chives
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Put the cashews in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for at least 2 hours, then drain and transfer the cashews to a food processor or blender. Add 185ml/6fl oz/¾ cup water and blend into a coarse paste. (For a softer ‘cheese’, add a little more water and blend into a coarse purée.) Add the salt and season with pepper.
  2. Divide the nut cheese into 3 equal portions. Stir the garlic, lemon juice and paprika into 1 portion and spoon it into a ramekin. Put the chopped pistachios on a plate. Using your hands, divide another portion of the nut cheese into teaspoon-sized balls, then roll each ball in the pistachios until evenly coated. Roll the last portion of the nut cheese into a log and roll it in the herbs to coat.

Dairy-Free Pesto Pasta


Dairy-free cheese makes a fantastic pesto. I find the harder types of dairy-free cheese (often called cheddar-style) best for this, but any of them work well. This recipe freezes well, so you can prepare a large batch – especially if basil is in season and inexpensive – and freeze individual portions for when you’re just too tired or just don’t have any spare time to cook.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 2 minutes     Cooking time 10–13 minutes     Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 400g gluten-free pasta
  • 50g basil
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 40g dairy-free cheese
  • sea salt
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, then the pasta. Cook over a medium heat for about 8–10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, stirring frequently so that the pasta does not stick together.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the basil under the running cold tap, and carefully pat dry in a clean tea towel.
  3. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Add the pine nuts and dry-fry for 2-3 minutes, until they start to brown. Keep the nuts moving all the time so they don’t burn.
  4. Remove from the heat and tip the nuts into the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil leaves, garlic and dairy-free cheese, and start to blend the mixture. With the motor running, pour the remaining oil in gradually until the mixture becomes a thick, dense sauce. Add salt to taste.
  5. Drain the pasta and rinse well with boiling water, then drain again. Serve immediately with the sauce.

Harry’s Nut-Free, Dairy-Free Pesto Pasta!


Harry’s Mum requested this as Harry can’t eat pesto because of a nut allergy. He’s fine with chickpeas (but they’re part of the same food family as peanuts, so it’s important to check this out), so I devised this recipe. Apparently it was a great success!

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 5 minutes plus overnight soaking time, if using dried chickpeas
Cooking time 1½ hours–2 hours, if using dried chickpeas     Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 400g gluten-free pasta
  • 50g basil
  • 25g dried chickpeas, or 50g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 40g dairy-free cheese
  • sea salt
  1. If using dried chickpeas, place them in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight or for at least 12 hours.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas, then rinse thoroughly. Put in a large saucepan, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 1-1½  hours until tender. Drain thoroughly.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 1 tbsp of the oil, then the pasta. Cook over a medium heat for about 8–10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, stirring frequently so that the pasta does not stick together.
  4. Meanwhile, wash the basil under the running cold tap, and carefully pat dry in a clean tea towel.
  5. Put the basil leaves, garlic, cooked or tinned chickpeas and dairy-free cheese into the bowl of a food processor, and start to blend until the mixture is a smooth puree. With the motor running, pour the remaining oil in gradually until the mixture becomes a thick, dense sauce. Add salt to taste.
  6. Drain the pasta and rinse well with boiling water, then drain again. Serve immediately with the sauce.