As you probably know, I strive to eat as plant-based as possible. As a result, I enjoy creating alternatives to recipes that I grew up eating. Since I’ve always loved cheese, completely avoiding it is a challenge. I was raised in Texas so cheesy Mexican cuisine was common. As a result, I developed an affinity for quesadillas. Let’s be honest, life wouldn’t be complete without them.

Luckily, there’s a variety of alternative cheese products on the market. As a result, a 100% plant-based quesadilla can become a reality! No animals needed=less resources depleted.

I bought four different types “cheese” to test. Quesadillas serve as a vehicle to  evaluate their taste and melt-factor. The three types of Daiya “cheese” I tested were jalapeño Havarti, sliced provolone, and mixed shredded.

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The fourth type was a soy alternative to American cheese by Trader Joe’s. (After I purchased it, I realized it contained a bit of milk…whoops. I went ahead and tested it anyway. I consider it to be a “less bad” American cheese alternative.)

I also used this cooking session as an opportunity to test out Beyond Meat “chicken” strips. Chicken is quite common around here, and I know most people have difficulty giving it up. That’s why I believe it’s important to experiment with alternative “meats” so plant-based people won’t feel as though they’re missing out.

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If you’re not sold by this amazing “meat” substitute, let me give you a few reasons why you should be.

Beyond Meat Grilled chicken

  • Complete protein — 20g per 3-oz serving
    • 46% of your daily value!
  • 20% DV of iron
  • Absolutely NO saturated fat or cholesterol

Real Chicken

  • Some contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Animal exploitation
  • Potential for E. coli contamination
  • Chicken waste pollutes the land and water
  • Some chickens are fed arsenic to make them grow faster. (It’s toxic to humans…)

Now, back to the quesadillas.

Ingredients:

Flour tortillas, “cheese”, “chicken”, minced garlic, diced tomatoes, chopped green onions, spinach, and olive oil

What I did:

First I heated olive oil in a skillet and cooked the garlic for a bit. I added the tomatoes, green onions, and spinach at the very end. I placed the veggies in a bowl and set them aside.

Next, I heated oil in a skillet (on medium-high) for the quesadillas. I took four flour tortillas and placed one of the “cheese” varieties inside. I added the cooked veggies, folded the tortilla in half, and placed it in the skillet, flipping when the tortilla became a nice golden brown. Once the tortilla was evenly cooked, I placed the quesadilla on a plate and covered it as I cooked the next three.

I added the “chicken” to the quesadilla with the shredded Daiya cheese.

Once finished, I cut each quesadilla into three pieces.

Two friends and I sat down to test the four alternative quesadillas. We first tried the one with the Trader Joe’s soy cheese. I thought it was tolerable, but the others weren’t too thrilled.

Then we tried the Daiya Jalapeno Harvarti. They were incredible! The “cheese” melted beautifully and all three of us were in love with them. I was strikingly similar to normal cheese.

Next up was the Daiya sliced provolone version. Again, this alternative “cheese” could fool someone into thinking it was real. The three of us loved it.

Finally, we tried the one with shredded Daiya “cheese” and grilled “chicken”. This was the by far, the winner! The “chicken” tasted very real and the cheese melted well. It reminded me of a quesadilla I used to order from Mexican restaurant back home.

The verdict: All three Daiya “cheese” varieties and the Beyond Meat grilled chicken were excellent substitutes . Plant-based quesadillas for the win!

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