I read in the paper today that the cost of cheese is skyrocketing. People have apparently been stockpiling cheese during the pandemic, in addition to Oreo cookies. God knows I’ve done my share of stress-eating over the past three months, and my waistline shows it. But the quarantine has also given me the opportunity to cook more homemade meals and not all of them have been regretful. I recently recommitted to eating more healthfully — and that includes my ongoing quest to eat dairy-free.
So when I saw the headline about expensive cheese, I thought, “What a great incentive to stop eating cheese.” Quarantine cooking doesn’t have to mean cheesy casseroles. Comfort food can be cheeseless. For those of you who are considering going dairy-free but can’t imagine life without cheese, I assure you it can be done.
Of course, there are some comfort foods that don’t make sense without cheese — for instance, pizza, mac-n-cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches. For those cravings, I’d encourage you to try the many dairy-free cheese alternatives out there. I personally like Daiya shreds for things like pizza. You can read my review of Daiya shreds here.
But other foods, like burgers and most sandwiches and salads, are just fine without cheese. It may take a little while to shift your thinking on this if you’re a diehard cheeseburger fan. But the truth is, most burgers already have enough flavor — there’s the beef, ideally flame-broiled, which is delicious in itself. Then there are a multitude of toppings. I just ate a takeout burger the other day that had bacon, grilled onions, arugula, and garlic aioli on it. Believe me, I did not miss the cheese.
Here are some other cheese-free foods I’ve made during quarantine. I hope they inspire you.