Cheese as meat, pasta alternative?

CHICAGO — No-melt cheeses provide shoppers and culinary professionals alternatives to make dairy a center-of-plate protein. The cheese retains its form when cooked and could also be used to interchange meat in all kinds of dishes, together with breakfast sandwiches.

“Agency, moist cheeses like panela and paneer are proving to be widespread choices to convey high quality protein to the plant-forward plate,” stated Ben Yee, director of producer partnerships, California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), Tracy, Calif. “Panela has a light taste just like a dry pressed ricotta, with out melting, so it holds up nicely as the bottom for dishes like tacos and even as a meat-like medallion in a tomato sauce. Paneer may be marinated in spices and grilled for kebobs or in sandwiches.”

The CMAB labored with cooks to teach them about the advantages of no-melt cheeses. Dishes that had been developed embody Nashville scorching paneer, the place the cheese replaces hen, and a keto lasagna, the place paneer stood in for noodles.

The New York-based Blue Apron meal equipment service began providing an “worldwide escape” menu this winter. One of many choices is paneer and vegetable tacos with peanut and arugula salad. The buyer is instructed to pan fry the diced paneer after which stuff them into flour tortillas alongside sautéed candy peppers and onion, guacamole and a chipotle sauce.

“These cheeses don’t soften on account of their protein construction,” stated Suzanne Fanning, chief advertising officer and senior vice chairman, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. “Both baked or grilled, these cheeses can type a candy, caramelized, toasted ‘crust’ that’s oh-so-delicious.”

Recognizing this rising development for center-of-the-plate cheese, Cheeses of Wisconsin, Cottage Grove, Wis., created The Massive Moo, which “cooks crispy on the skin, heat and melty on the within.” What distinguishes The Massive Moo from different no-melt cheeses is it’s accessible in flavors like bacon, cheese pizza, jalapeño and roasted garlic. The corporate promotes the product as keto-friendly with one serving containing 6 grams of protein.

“Gayo Azul Queso Blanco is a white delicate and contemporary cow’s milk cheese that’s rising in reputation,” stated Debbie Seife, director of promoting, FrieslandCampina Client Dairy North America, Paramus, NJ. “Customers are having fun with cooking with it and including it to their meals and dishes. It is usually improbable crumbled over enchiladas, tacos, salads and soups.”

One other Hispanic ingredient cheese gaining traction in america is cotija. It’s a crumbly, barely salty cow’s milk cheese.

“Most individuals have doubtless had it on tacos, however the place it’s trending now’s within the many assorted road corn dishes exhibiting up on menus and in supermarkets,” Ms. Seife stated. “The standard dish is made with corn on the cob, spices and cotija cheese.”

The sharp, tangy cheese doesn’t soften when heated. Nonetheless, it has an adhesive high quality when grated that allows it to cling to corn or different meals. This makes it an interesting ingredient as a garnish on scorching dishes.

“Customers are opening themselves as much as experimenting with cheese and to creating plant-forward dishes that also fulfill their cravings,” Mr. Yee stated. “Cheese is the ‘glue’ that holds these dishes collectively, offering the flavour together with the performance. The most important problem is lack of information of those lesser-known varieties as a result of they’re most frequently related to Indian, Mediterranean or Mexican dishes.”

New types and flavors

Cheese has been an integral a part of Italian cooking, typically even the middle of the plate. One dish that’s relatively new to america and actually taking off on menus is cacio e pepe, which interprets to “cheese and pepper.” The preparation makes use of lengthy, skinny, cooked noodles, corresponding to angel hair or spaghetti, which can be spun with heat pasta water in a partly hole wheel of pecorino Romano cheese. It’s then closely seasoned with black pepper.

Datassential, Chicago, studies that cacio e pepe was on 48% extra menus on the finish of 2022 than it was 4 years earlier. Curious shoppers are also experimenting with the tacky pasta dish that some say is an early ancestor to the US staple of macaroni and cheese.

Norseland Inc., Darien, Conn., provides Lotito Presto Cacio e Pepe Pasta Starters. The refrigerated line is available in 4 varieties: unique, con Pomodori (with sun-dried tomatoes), con Erbe (with wild herbs) and con Picante (with Calabrian chilies). The blends have sheep’s milk pecorino Romano cheese because the No. 1 ingredient. Entire milk powder and whey powder are important parts of the sauce combine. To make use of the combo, the buyer prepares 1 lb of pasta. Throughout draining, one cup of the recent water is saved and added to the sauce starter, then tossed with pasta. Two shelf-stable varieties — unique and black truffle — will enter the market this spring.

Norseland was one of many first to market refrigerated cheese wraps, a high-protein different to conventional flour-based tortillas and flatbreads. Folios Cheese Wraps are par-baked sheets of cheese which can be free from carbohydrates and gluten. The unique line debuted in 2016 in cheddar, Jarlsberg and Parmesan varieties. This 12 months Norseland added mozzarella to the road. The upper moisture content material of mozzarella offered baking challenges that the corporate managed to beat. The keto-certified wraps could also be stuffed, rolled, folded, melted, crisped and baked, stated Valerie Liu, model supervisor.

Sofia Auricchio Krans, a cheesemaker with BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Inexperienced Bay, Wis., stated the corporate has developed various cheeses supposed for including kick to all kinds of recipes. They supply a further layer of taste by way of a well-known format.

“Pepperoncino has spicy pink pepper flakes added to the curd for a bit warmth,” Ms. Auricchio Krans stated. “Our Artigiano cheese is available in blueberry, vino rosso (wine) and balsamic with cipollini.

“Our contemporary mozzarella is obtainable marinated with quite a lot of spice blends, together with pesto, hatch chili and white truffle oil,” she stated. “We’ve an espresso-infused mascarpone that goes nice in desserts.”