Grilled Quesadillas with Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

Quesadillas were a staple of my diet in my early 20’s. Sometimes I would run out of cheese so then I would just use butter instead. Yes, butter on a tortilla for dinner…ah to be 24!

Here is a much healthier version of a quesadilla with a really delicious nacho “cheese” sauce. I have made several vegan cheese sauce’s, and over time I have developed a love for them. The thing you have to get over though, is that they taste ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like real cheese. I actually think the only similarities are the yellow color and the nature in which they are used.
Important note: At first this sauce looks runny and not too appealing. But after heating it up for a few seconds in the microwave or stove top it gets really nice and thick, just like a proper nacho cheese sauce. It’s really good for veggie dipping too!

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I ate a version of this quesadilla all week and it was delish. Sometimes I would add tofu in to the mix and eat it like a burrito. It’s all good!

I don’t think I really need to explain the concept of a quesadilla or burrito. Obviously you take a tortilla and fill it with whatever goodness you want to eat. For these I used:
Ezekiel tortilla
black beans
sometimes tofu
cilantro
avocado
vegan chili cheese sauce (see below)

Place the tortilla in a pan over low heat. Add ingredients including sauce. Heat through and eat!

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Lilly is doing well and continues to be her usual sleepy, cute self.

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Her fingernails have gotten so long! Since she never walks she doesn’t wear them down. I have cut her nails myself since I got her and I don’t know how she does it-but she is SO STRONG! I swear, she could fight off 10 men at once if they tried to clip her nails. Ok that’s a slight exaggeration. Over the weekend my husband held her and I clipped her nails. Now we just need to do that every week for the next 6 weeks to get them to an appropriate length.

Ok, cheese sauce!

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup cashews
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender or magic bullet and blend until smooth. Heat the sauce to make it thick. Store in the refrigerator.

I’m so excited the Winter Olympics start today! Have a great rest of the week and weekend!
Laura

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Vegan Cheese Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

Oh married life is so great! I know I’ve been a bad blogger lately but it’s only because my husband and I are always on the go and having fun! Last Tuesday we celebrated our 3 month anniversary! We thought we were a pretty big deal having been married for 90 days now 🙂 We went to see one of my husbands favorite rock bands in concert and stayed up waaaaaaaay past our bed time. It was such a fun way to celebrate. It was also the first concert I’ve been to in a really long time. Rock concerts are funny. I totally fit in. Not.

Now it’s fall and life is busy! We don’t even have kids and life is busy! I can only imagine what it must be like to have little ones starting back in school. My husband is a full time college student though (starting his third year!) so I’m definitely feeling the transition into fall.

I got a new spiralizer about a week ago and I’m loving this thing! Its such a great and easy way to get more vegetables! It turns vegetables into noodles. It’s so cool. I use it on zucchini, cucumber and carrots and my veggie intake has definitely increased! I have wanted one of these for a long time but I don’t like spending money, especially if its something I’m not going to absolutely use a lot. This is worth it though. It’s very small and we’ve been using it almost every day.

Look.

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That huge pile was 2 zucchini. All you do is stick the vegetable in the spiralizer and start twisting and you end up with beautiful noodles. One end does thin noodles (good for carrots) the other end does thicker noodles (good for zucchini noodles). Then I heat some coconut oil in a large pan and sauté the zucchini until desired texture. I know some people will just go for it raw and put sauce on the raw “noodles”. I’m not that hard core yet so I like to cook mine and then add them to actual pasta. They cook down soooooooo much. This week I used 4 large zucchini and they cooked down to just a couple cups.

This weeks recipe is straight out of one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, Appetite for Reduction. This is their “Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce” recipe which I’ve wanted to try for a long time. Oddly enough I had all the ingredients on hand and I wanted to make a pasta sauce so I would have something to put on all my zucchini noodles. I did make a couple slight modifications.
This sauce gets its yellow color and “cheese flavor” from nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is weird. It’s a powder or flake you get in the bulk section of health food stores. It’s not a regular yeast like what you use to make bread. It’s actually a great source of B vitamins AND it’s a great source of protein, a complete protein at that.
I will say however, that I have had real cheese before in my life and nutritional yeast cheese tastes absolutely nothing like real cheese. Not even close. Vegans really need to stop saying this stuff tastes “just like cheese”. This sauce is finger lickin’ good, just don’t dive into it expecting it to taste like cheddar.
This meal is really quick to throw together. I would say the whole thing took less than 30 minutes to make and it will give me lunch for 5 days.

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And last. If you eat dry rice paper wrappers, they will stick to your lips and make you look silly. Just ask Lilly.

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Vegan Cheese Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

1 pound brown rice pasta
2 zucchini, spiralized into noodle shape
2 teaspoons coconut oil
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1-2 tablespoons broth powder (I used rapunzel vegetable broth. It was very salty so start with a little ad add more if needed)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard (I used grey poupon)

First get the water started for the pasta. While you wait for the water to boil heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spiralize the zucchini and then throw it in the heated pan. Be sure to use a splatter cover if you have one! Cook the zucchini as you desire. It’s totally up to you how crunchy or un-crunchy you like it.
While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. In a mixing bowl combine the nutritional yeast, flour, garlic, onion and broth. Add in the water and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat stirring often for about 5 minutes. Once it boils reduce the heat and stir for another 5 minutes until thick and smooth. Add the mustard and taste to see if it needs more broth.
Add in the cooked pasta and zucchini.

Have a great week!