Daiya cheese is , from what I can tell, one of the hottest new vegan trends. Any place that is serious about making vegan pizza carries daiya.  Whole Foods sells it both as blocks and shredded. There are countless blog posts about it. Hell, they even have it in my hometown of Belmar, NJ.  When I tell people I’m transitioning to veganism, and they actually know what that means, one of the first things they mention is daiya. It’s pretty easy to feel like daiya is your pretty, popular, older sister who is dating the big man on campus, and that you are just a shy kind of awkward middle sister. But, before you go out and buy an unflattering black afro wig, let me share a secret with you. The reason why everyone is talking about it is because it is THAT good.

Daiya is a cheese that is free of soy, casein, gluten, egg, and even nuts. It melts to a deliciously gooey consistency. And it has less fat than regular cheese and no cholesterol. One of the reasons why I stopped at 28 days of veganism (the first time around) was my dislike of most soy cheeses. I was stocking up on Follow Your Heart mozarella for my pizza, but it just wasn’t doing the job. If I had only had the foresight to buy daiya from Whole Foods and stock it at home, I don’t think I would have ever run into that problem. They make an italian blend and a cheddar, which means that you can use a daiya replacement for just about any dish involving cheese: lasagna, pizza, tacos, fondue (I would use the italian), and my favorite: macaroni and cheeze.
I’ve been making baked macaroni and cheese for years, so I improvised a recipe that made a pretty filling meal for one. I’m always on the lookout for good weeknight meals for one, because I am single, I live alone, and I’m on my way to turning into a crazy cat lady. This was a great comfort food meal and a perfect end to a very looooong day.

Rotini and Daiya

  • 1/4 c. unsweetened soy milk (it’s very important to use unsweetened when you are cooking)
  • 1/3 c. shredded cheddar daiya
  • 1/4 tsp. earth balance
  • 1 tsp, flour
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • dash of garlic powder
  • breadcrumbs
  1. Boil a pot of water and add pasta. Cook for 5 minutes until just tender.
  2. Transfer to a baking dish and add the daiya, mix well.
  3. Return the empty pot to heat and melt the earth balance. Add pepper and garlic powder and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add soy milk and flour and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly.
  5. Pour hot milk over the pasta and stir well. Sprinkle with a handful of breadcrumbs.
  6. Pop into a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs brown. I left mine in for 10 minutes and it was a little darker than I had hoped.