- Food and Cooking
Healthy Cheeseless Cheese Sauce
The uncooked ingredients
The cooked ingredients (a spicey quinoa-porridge)
There are two sets of ingredients: the 'cooked ingredients' and the 'uncooked ingredients'.
The Cooked Ingredients:
2 heaped tablespoons of quinoa flakes
1 heaped teaspoon of mustard powder
¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric
½ teaspoon of bouillon mix (or whatever seasoning you prefer)
1 cup (6 fluid ounces) of water
Put all these ingredients into a bowl and microwave them for about 3 minutes.
The Uncooked Ingredients:
2 heaped tablespoons of natural, unflavoured, fat-free yogurt
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon of rapeseed/canola oil
Stir this lot in with the cooked ingredients. You'll find that the whole thing blends easily and the lemon juice and oil won't separate the yoghurt. Don't ask me why; trust me.
To get the cheesy flavour, the yoghurt, lemon juice and mustard, are the important ingredients in this recipe. I just use turmeric as a natural colouring. You won’t need to use quinoa in particular - ordinary flour-based roux will do fine. A stock cube or basic seasoning etc should also suffice instead of the bouillon mix.
Of course, when you add the cold uncooked ingredients to the hot cooked ones the sauce won't stay piping hot, but if you want to, you can give the whole mixture another whirl in the microwave. However, the more you heat vitamin C and essential oils, the less nutrition you'll get from them.
Quinoa flakes, used this way, won't give you a smooth sauce. Maybe I'm wrong even to describe it as a sauce, but you will get a nice strong cheesy flavour from this recipe. If you prefer your sauces to be smooth, or if you're cooking with others in mind and want to do it right, quinoa flour lends itself well to roux making etc, but that's another blog - some other time.
This recipe will work well with anything you'd serve with Mornay Sauce (cheese sauce - excuse my French). Some examples would be macaroni, fish, cauliflower or broccoli. I often add the 'cooked ingredients' in with a mirepoix (cooked carrots, onions and celery) and then add green vegetables at the last moment so that they don't get overcooked. Then I stir in the 'uncooked ingredients' last. It's a very quick way of putting something healthy and flavoursome together, fast. There's a link for more about mirepoix, at the bottom of the page.
I think green vegetables are boring on their own, especially if they're lightly cooked. You end up reaching for the ketchup and the saltcellar. This recipe gives a dish 'attitude' along with undeniable health benefits. On the other hand, real cheese sauce, in the same doses, might eventually give you a heart attack.
I've called this recipe the Healthy Cheeseless Cheese Sauce
I use the ingredients in a variety of ways to simulate the cheesy flavour that I like so much. These are all considered healthy ingredients, but here I don't intend to criticise the more traditional ingredients (i.e. real cheese) - or those who prefer them.
The recipe also brings the ingredients together in a way that conserves the natural goodness whilst making it tasty and quick. These factors are important to me, and fit my lifestyle.
My trouble is I like the flavour of cheese, but I’ve heard that eating too much of it, isn’t considered healthy. That's why I've spent so much time experimenting to find a healthy substitute for it.
This is probably my quickest way of combining the ingredients to get that cheesy taste. I do most of my preparation in the morning, so that I don't have to do it all when I come home from work. However, in order to preserve the vitamin C in the fresh lemon juice, the omega oils in the canola oil and the live bio-whatever-it-is, in the yoghurt I leave that to the last moment. That's not so convenient, but I grudge eating empty calories, dead vitamins and essential oils that are no longer doing whatever it is that’s essential.
I use quinoa flour a lot as a thickening agent - I'll leave a link for guff about quinoa at the bottom of the page for those who aren't familiar with it. Just to thicken the plot (or should I say sauce), instead of making a proper béchamel sauce with a roux etc (which works well with quinoa flour incidentally), I use quinoa flakes in this recipe for quickness and convenience. The finished sauce looks a bit coarse this way, but I always serve it as part of a dish so it doesn't matter to me.
Don't worry if you don't know what quinoa flakes are. Just throw in a couple of handfuls of porridge oats and you'll get the same effect. Quinoa is supposed to be healthier, but the porridge oats will do the job.
This sauce will go well with lightly cooked vegetables or fish and because the ingredients are so healthy, you can be as liberal as you like with it. If you’re used to a diet of processed foods full of sodium and animal fats but want to start eating more healthy foods like lightly cooked green vegetables without losing out on lip-smacking flavour, you can plaster on as much of this sauce as you like. This cheesy mixture will mask the blandness of vegetables without permeating your food with sodium, cheap artificial flavour enhancers and preservatives. (As they say,‘good food doesn’t keep’.)
Tuna and Broccoli Pie with Healthy Cheesless Cheese Sauce and Quinoa Topping
Here's one of my recipes - I use the cheeseless cheese sauce in this. The broccoli is almost raw, but the sauce is so tasty it masks the blandness of the broccoli. You can use the sauce as liberally as you like as part of a healthy diet.
Healthy Cheeseless Cheesy Broccoli
- Quinoa - Health Benefits and Cooking Tips
You'll get some info about the health benefits of quinoa here.
- Quick and Easy Ways to Get Your Five a Day
This is one of my early hubs. You'll get some info about mirepoix here.
- Fish Kedgeree Made With Quinoa and Sprouted Mung Beans
Another quinoa recipe