There is nothing more scrummy than a creamy, cheesy sauce with macaroni or poured over steamed veggies. Especially when you have the munchies for something wholesome and comforting. But ideally you need to keep away from cheese when you have endometriosis because it can cause inflammation and promote the bad prostaglandins which can make your symptoms worse. To read more about prostaglandins in your diet and how they affect the symptoms of endo, you can read about it here.
You can now buy vegan alternatives for hard cheese. However, they can contain some pretty suspect ingredients, especially as they need to maintain a shelf life, so they will probably contain preservatives. The big problem with many of the hard cheese alternatives is they contain soy as the main ingredient, and soy is strongly advised to be avoided when you have endometriosis.
This is because soy contains high levels of phyto-estrogens, contains high levels of phytic acid which can upset the absorption of vital vitamins and nutrients, and finally most soy is produced as a GM crop. If you are interested you can read more about soy and endometriosis here.
The answer to getting your cheese fix is to make your own alternative with a tangy creamy cheese sauce. This will give you a safer option without the risk of additives or preservatives or any other nasty unwanted ingredients.
Read on and enjoy….
Creamy cheesy sauce
Gluten free, dairy free, endo friendly
Serve with pasta or zucchini noodle pasta
The base of this sauce is cashews soaked in very hot water so they soften quickly. You then add flavour with nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for kick and depth of flavour, and a bit of almond milk for texture. Arrowroot powder helps to thicken the sauce and helps to make it a bit “stringy” like real cheese!
Soak cashews in very hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and add to a high-speed blender.
To blender, add arrowroot starch (for thickening), nutritional yeast, garlic, sea salt, I cup of nut/rice milk. Add more if needed.
Blend on high until creamy and smooth, scrape down the sides if needed. Taste and adjust flavour as needed, adding more garlic for kick/zing, nutritional yeast, salt for saltiness, or dairy-free milk if too thick.
Transfer to a pan and cook over low to medium heat for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently. The sauce should thicken and bubble. Add more milk if needed to thin the sauce (it may need between 1/2 - 1 cup (120-240ml)
You can add a hint of mustard to the sauce for an interesting twist and extra punch.
This sauce is obviously ideal for a pasta dish (gluten free ideally) – mix pasta with sauce, transfer to a shallow heat-proof dish, cover with a layer of thinly sliced tomato and sprinkle with a thin layer of oats - place under the grill for 3 to 4 minutes till the lightly browned, and its ready to serve.
You could also do the same dish as above but use zucchini noodles instead, or used in a veggie lasagne.
So now you can enjoy a warming cheesy dish without paying for it later and aggravating your symptoms. Bon apetite …….