Strictly speaking, this recipe is not WildFit Approved. However, it does provide a dairy free option if you are weaning yourself off of cheese, or yearning for a creamy, gooey dip but dairy is below your “freedom” line.
Utilizing the gelling, creamy and slightly sticky qualities of tapioca, combined with a bit of sour from vinegar and some umami from nutritional yeast and seeds, this combo creates a perfect substitution for the gooey, white, spreadable and dippable cheese of L.B.E. (Life before Eric). It is also much easier on the body, and possibly even helps improve digestion. Try it on your next cauliflower crust pizza, Caprese salad or side of green veggies. Also, it is kid approved.
Prep Time: 2 hrs + 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Makes: 4 servings
½ small yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
½ cup sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hrs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp tapioca starch, finely ground
1 cup room temperature water
*high speed blender required for texture and esthetic appeal. Otherwise you will need a fine mesh sieve.
First you will need to soak the seeds, covered in water, for at least 2 hours to soften them and release the antinutrients. I like to do this overnight, so I am sure not to forget this crucial step. Once soaked, rinse them well to remove any remaining enzymes from the surface.
The key element in this recipe is the tapioca starch. Many may have a less than fond remembrance of it as childhood pudding, but it becomes disguised in the flavours of the recipe. Despite any dislike, it cannot be substituted for another starch. The tuber it is made from has special properties that create a silken, mucilaginous ‘goo’ when boiled, and that is exactly the quality we’re after here. It can’t be replicated by another starch or substituted- so don’t mess with the science. The starch you buy may be in pearls or have large pieces, so grind it down so it is an even, fine powder before using in this recipe to avoid lumps or grainy cheeze! Pour the ground powder into a small bowl and move to the next step.
I couldn’t bear it if this strayed too far from WildFit acceptable, so I used fresh onion and garlic in the recipe. This adds depth of flavour and some personality, as well as health benefits, to the recipe. If you aren’t a fan, use an extra teaspoon of tapioca starch to replace each.
The next step is to add the soaked seeds, peeled onion, peeled garlic, salt, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice to blender and blend until creamy smooth. The apple cider vinegar keeps the enzymes in the raw food from reacting, and the lemon juice keeps the sunflower seeds from turning green when heated. Fun fact, they do that because they contain chlorophyll, aka pure sun energy.
Once the mixture is silky smooth, add the nutritional yeast, ground tapioca starch and water to the blender and blend again until smooth. If you don’t have a high speed blender, at this point use sieve over a bowl to separate any chunks of seeds or starch. I would use a spatula, pressing the thickened mixture through the holes, but not with too much force. Scrape any chunky bits off the top and compost them.
Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Once warmed, pour the mixture into the pot and whisk continually until it thickens to a melted, gooey, cheesy consistency. This takes about 5-7 minutes, you will know it is ready when it starts stretching from the edges to the whisk and can be collected into the center. Without the stirring action it will not form up properly, so make sure to keep stirring and don’t let it burn.
That’s it! It is ready to serve hot as a dip, be used on pizza or vegetables, or as a sandwich spread. Once it has cooled, it can be used as a spreadable cheese, although it will become quite sticky. You can make larger batches and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. It will melt back to gooey consistency when heated or baked as well.
For hard core cheese lovers- no, it won’t hit the spot quite the same way. What makes cheese so addictive is the extremely high concentration of the milk protein casein that, when digested, results in casomorphins. Casomorphins are opioids, belonging to the same chemical family as morphine and opium, inducing euphoric feelings and lowering pain. However, just like morphine and opium, casomorphins are addictive and if you suddenly stop eating cheese, you might experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and strong cravings. The good new is, after a withdrawal period, those cravings do fade, and in the meantime, this Gooey Mozza is here to help take the edge off.