If you’re a cheese lover like I am, then I don’t have to tell you how hard it can be to wean yourself away from it during your first leap into Paleo, during a Whole30, adopting the Autoimmune Protocol, or any other scenario that rules out dairy. You need a few great Paleo recipes for cheese lovers that can help you meet the challenge with confidence!
Now, there are some lucky few of you out there that can genuinely get away with partaking without consequence. However, most discover just how intolerant they are to dairy once they remove it from their diet. I learned last summer that unfortunately I am one of those people… *sigh… I avoid it in general, but there are certain times where I’m willing to deal with the storm that follows. I mean, Manchego… Am I right?
During times where I’m cleaning things up in the diet department, I know that cheese is gonna be my toughest tie to break. I can do without sweets and treats, I can do without a lot of eggs even. But totally walking away from all cheese is just plain tough.
So when the time comes to face the music, I take two tactics. And they’re exactly opposite of each other. The first is to focus on recipes where I wouldn’t really eat cheese anyways and the second is to find a couple really great recipes that replicate the cheesy flavor or texture perfectly (ok, ok… acceptably).
Clear as mud right? I’ll tackle the last one first and the first one last.
Find a Great Replica
Many have tried to replicate cheese in the Paleo world, and many have missed the mark. And do you know how I feel when I go in with high hopes that a recipe is gonna taste awesome and it doesn’t? Why yes, yes I do think you know… Frustration, disappointment, regret, and left craving the real deal. It takes extra time and effort in the kitchen to pull off a fake-out, and when it bombs it’s a huge bummer. Finding a couple recipes that totally nail it, however, makes my heart (and my stomach, joints, skin, and mood) happy.
Here are a few recipes that do a great job of tasting cheesy without the dairy:
Creamy Artichoke Dip (AIP compliant!) by Meatified
Paleo Pizza by Paleo Cupboard
Twice Baked Cheeseburger Spaghetti Squash by Popular Paleo
Twice Baked Macaroni & Cheese by Paleo Gone Sassy (via Paleo Parents)
Chicken Parma-Paleo by Predominantly Paleo
Creamy Crab Dip by Paleo Foodie Kitchen
Loaded Mashed Cauliflower by Clean Eating With a Dirty Mind
I also really really love the Bacon and Scallion Mac & Cheese recipes from Real Life Paleo by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry (AKA The Paleo Parents). If you don’t own a copy of the book yet, I’d highly recommend grabbing one! I love to put a runny fried egg over leftovers that I’ve reheated for breakfast. And my two kids inhale this recipe, which is essentially a delicious way to prepare butternut squash.
Steer Clear Altogether
Ok, so now the opposite tactic: eat lots of recipes that you wouldn’t really put cheese on anyways. These are typically your Asian, Indian, and even some Mediterranean flavor profiles. These cuisines typically lean on rich spices, fresh herbs and aromatics, bright citrus and vinegars, silky fats, and well-prepared proteins making cheese somewhat irrelevant. And that’s good news.
The cuisines that get me missing cheese the most are, as you might guess, usually Italian, Mexican, and typical American fare, so steer clear! Although I have some tricks up my sleeve for distracting my tastebuds, I know that these are the areas I need to avoid until it’s “safe” again.
Here are 8 fantastic recipes that won’t have you missing that sprinkle of Parmesan or gooey mozzarella topping:
Moroccan Chicken by Popular Paleo
Cast Iron Hanger Steak by Everyday Maven
Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast by Stupid Easy Paleo
Easy Thai Coconut Chicken from The Frugal Paleo Cookbook
Paleo Pad Thai by The Clothes Make the Girl
Zucchini Pinwheels of Prosciutto & Basil from Sustainable Dish
Slow Cooker Kalua Pig by Nom Nom Paleo
Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Almonds by Zenbelly
So whether you need a really great replica or think it’s best to steer clear entirely, these 15 recipes should give you a great start in either direction!
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