You heard that right. The Cheddar “Cheese” in this sandwich is made of Cauliflower! No nuts! It is sliced, and has limited oil. Loads of flavor in the cheese. Paired in this sandwich with some fresh pesto, grilled zucchini and juicy tomatoes. Summer in a panini. The way I use cauliflower these days, I should plant half my yard with cauliflower. No?
The awesome part about the recipe, no wait required except for the setting time. And you can keep tasting as you go to change up the flavor profile, make it stronger, add more flavors, make is smokier with liquid smoke, sharper with more miso or sundried tomato, and so on. Some tips to keep it less cauliflower-y tasting. Use fresh cauliflower, do not over cook the cauliflower. If the taste still stands out, add more non dairy milk, and flavors, and add a tsp more agar so it sets the added liquid. If you can have nuts, then add some soaked cashews.
The thick saucy cheese is spread on parchment into a thin layer where it sets nicely and is then cut into squares and stored. You can also make a block of the cheese. It is much much easier to cut it up when already set on the parchment.
And this sandwich. is. amazing. Fresh basil, zukes, and double slices of cheddar. Perfect!
As with the agar cheeses, they melt, but are not necessarily stringy and oily. For a Stringier cheese you will need more tapioca starch and oil and maybe use fruit pectin.
More cheeses from the blog
Melty Cashew Mozzarella and Mozzarella sticks - baked and fried versions
Green Goddess Gouda
Cashew millet Nacho cheese
Coconut Milk Cheddar and Mozzarella
Messy grilled panini. Messier the better.
Layer the pesto, cheddar, zucchini, tomato, more cheddar.
Top with a buttered/oiled slice and grill.
Cauliflower Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Zucchini Pesto Tomato
Allergen Information for Cheddar: Free of dairy, egg, corn, soy, gluten, nut.
Cheddar slices: Makes 10 to 12, 3 inch slices
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups cauliflower florets (1.5 to 2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup non dairy milk
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp chickpea miso or other miso
3/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 pickled jalapeno, 3 slices (optional)
1 Tbsp flour of choice (omit to make gluten-free)
2 Tbsp Tapioca Flour/Starch
2 tsp Agar Powder
Basil pumpkin seed pesto (Basil, pumpkin seeds, salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice)
Sliced ripe tomato
Sliced Zucchini, raw or grilled
salt, pepper and sriracha
Make the Cheddar:
In a large pan, add 1 tsp oil and heat at medium heat. When the oil is hot, add chopped garlic and cook for a minute. Add the cauliflower, water and salt and cover and cook for 8 minutes or until cauliflower is tender crisp. Cool slightly. Drain the water into a bowl (reserve for later use). Add cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients (hemp seeds to flour) except tapioca starch and agar to the blender. Blend to a smooth thick puree. Add a Tbsp or more water for the blending only if needed. (Blend 2 to 3 cycles so the hemp seeds get blended). Taste and adjust salt, tang if needed. (add 1 Tbsp sun dried tomato for sharper cheddar).
Add tapioca starch and agar and blend again. Transfer mixture to a pan and cook at medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes. (Once the mixture starts bubbling, keep cooking for 6 minutes so agar gets activated). The mixture will thicken.
Pour this onto parchment lined sheet immediately and spread into a 1/8 inch thick layer using a spatula. (or you can pour in a greased container to make a block, slicing that will not be easy though:). Keep the slices thick as the thin slices will break too easily.
* The mixture starts thickening more as it cools, so spread when it is still hot. Spray oil on the spatula and on the cheese mixture to help with spreading.
Refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Cut into squares, peel each slice carefully from the parchment and store between square parchment papers in an airtight container. Keeps refrigerated for upto 4 days. Can also be frozen.
Make the Sandwich:
Brush oil or butter on the bread slice. Add a thick layer of pesto, add a slice of cheddar, then layer tomatoes, layer raw or grilled zuccini slices, sprinkle salt and pepper. Add Sriracha for spice. (optional)
Add another cheddar slice. Top with a bread slice. Brush oil on the top slice and grill. Serve hot.
Add other veggies, greens, or burger crumbles etc for variations. If the cheese doesnt set or anything else goes wrong, use it as a spread or make mac and cheddar cheese
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This chart about the carbon footprint of different foods. Read more about how the diet impacts climate and environment here. And how one diet change can tale upto 46 million cars off the road.