As a cheese substitute I have been using Daiya brand vegan cheeses. It is the only cheese at my local store that is both dairy free and soy free. Almost all of the vegetable based cheese contains casein from milk, and the only other vegan cheese contains soy.
Daiya makes three varieties, and of course I can only find two. I am still looking for the pepper jack. This dish uses the mozzarella and cheddar. I like the Daiya cheeses, although it somewhat, but not completely resembles texture of American cheese when it melts. It is different enough from American so that I like it enough to use it for pizza, pasta, and omelets. (As you can tell, I am not a fan of melted American cheese.)
This is a quick and easy dinner to make. The cheese melts giving it a nice and creamy taste. I had some canned chicken to use up, so it was the seed for this recipe. It was not enough to be the center of a meal on its own, but in a pasta dish, you would hardly notice. You could easily leave the chicken out for a completely vegan meal. Some chickpeas would make a nice substitute.
Creamy-Tomato Pasta in a Flash (Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free)
1 cup of Daiya cheese mixed between yellow and white
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
4 oz. can of mushrooms (drained, but reserve if you want to add in step 6)
3 oz. of tomato paste (1/2 of a 6 oz. can)
2 small onions
5-6 cloves garlic
10-15 canned olives halved
a few oz. of left over chicken or canned chicken
rice pasta of choice (enough for two servings)
Red Pepper Flakes
Red Wine vinegar
- Start salted water for pasta.
- Begin dicing onions and mincing garlic, and heat oil in saute pan.
- Start cooking onions in pan.
- Whenever pasta water is boiling, add and cook pasta for 3/4 of the time required on the package. Drain; shock with cold water to stop cooking process.
- When onions are soft, add garlic, mushrooms, olives, chicken, and spices to taste. Cook covered for a few minutes more before adding tomato products. Add a splash of red wine vinegar. Stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Add partly cooked pasta and a little water if there is not a lot from the canned tomatoes. The idea is to allow the pasta to soak up any excess liquid without becoming soggy. Allow to cook for a minute or so and test for doneness. When pasta is almost done, add cheese to top and cover to melt. Turn off heat if pasta is done. Stir in melted cheese and serve.