Updated on February 18, 2017
Better for You Cheese Sauce
I recently made this cheese sauce in hopes of making a kylie-friendly bacon mac-n-cheese dish. I was super excited with the way it came out, so it’s one to be shared with everyone! I don’t do dairy but have recently incorporated aged goat cheddar into my diet. So no, this recipe is not entirely dairy-free, but other than that I use coconut milk as the base. For those of you who are new to aged cheese and may not always tolerate dairy, I encourage you to give it a try, particularly aged cheese from goats milk. There are smaller fat globules in goats milk and little to no lactose in truly aged cheeses, both making this type of cheese easier to digest; a major plus for the sensitive folks like me! A few of my favorite brands of this cheese are Redwood Hill Farm, Sierra Nevada Cheese Company, and Meyenberg’s Aged Valley Goat Cheddar. They all have a sharp creamy flavor, satisfy those cravings, and can usually be found at any health food store. My local store go-to’s are New Leaf, Whole Foods, Staff of Life, and Aptos Natural Foods.
In addition to this sauce being tailored towards those with lactose sensitivity, some of the other “better for you” benefits are:
- Coconut milk as an excellent dairy-free alternative serves as a great source of healthy fats and vitamin and minerals (iron, copper, etc).
- Turmeric (which gives it that orange cheddar color we all love) with its anti-inflammatory properties. (See my Chicken Soup with Lemon and Turmeric post for more benefits of turmeric).
- Aged cheeses also contain higher amounts of essential nutrients such as calcium, Vit A and protein, just to name a few.
I just want to say how much I love being able to make this sauce. Being able to re-incorporate food like this into my diet has brought back a certain amount of happiness surrounding food that I lost nearly 4 years ago. I have always loved cheese and grew up eating cheese and butter sandwiches in my school pack lunches (yes, you better believe it- cheese AND butter!). I was known for saying, “Mom, I’m hungry, I want cheese!” in my sweet toddler voice. This is something I will always remember and am proud of the European roots I have. There is a love for anything bread, cheese, and sweet that runs deep in my family’s blood. Learning how to continue enjoying these pleasures with a restricted diet has turned into a passion of mine. Healthy food can still taste amazing and you shouldn’t have to go through life with bored and unsatisfied taste buds. Not to mention the satisfaction that food brings to your mental happiness as well.
One note on the preparation of this sauce is that it did turn out pretty thin, but when mixed with a pasta dish the consistency is just fine. I mixed it in gluten free pasta noodles with bacon, topped with crumbled gluten free chips and popped under the broiler until crispy….so. much. yum!! For leftovers, I was pleasantly surprised by how it does thicken up nicely after being refrigerated and can easily be reheated. Use this sauce as a nacho cheese sauce, a dip, or for mac n cheese like I did. I also added green chiles to it, which can easily be left out.
I hope you enjoy my better for you cheese sauce! Leave a comment below to share how you prepared it!
Fun fact: I recently found out that cheese is addictive. The casein (also a common source of allergy in dairy products) causes an opioid-like effect on the brain and keeps you wanting more. So, it turns out there is more to blame than the yum factor of cheese- it’s scientific to why we can’t resist that gooey goodness!
Let’s keep cheesin’!
The Food Mermaid,
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, can also use ghee
- 3 scallions, green part only, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour, I use Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 Baking Flour
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, more to taste if you like it spicy
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 ½ -2 cups grated Aged Goat Cheddar cheese
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil, or ghee, on medium low heat. Add scallions and lightly sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and whisk into a paste.
- Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add spices and salt pepper.
- Cook for 10 minutes on medium low heat to slightly thicken the sauce. It's ok if it doesn't completely thicken.
- Add the sauce and cheese into your blender and blend on medium-high for about 30 seconds.
- Serving suggestion: In an individual sized (oven safe) serving dish, pour sauce over cooked gluten free noodles with chopped bacon pieces and green chiles. Top with crumbled chips, and place under broiler until lightly crisped, watch carefully to not burn.