Ok all, it’s official: I’m completely giving up dairy (for now). I’ve been slowly but surely cutting out dairy from my diet for a plethora of various reasons. I haven’t had milk in who knows how long. I’m quite content with enjoying nut milks instead. I’m totally fine with not eating yogurt or keifer, yet I’m struggling with one thing – cheese. Oh my love of cheese. I know that many of us simply want to know how to eliminate cheese. I’m the first to admit that I’ve had a huge obsession with cheese ever since I could remember. Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, goats cheese, you name it. The savory taste that it gives to all of my recipes simply kept me hooked. Cheese helped me incorporate way more vegetarian meals into my life when I was transitioning from a primarily meat based diet. I can’t help it, I love that dang cheese.
Well then why am I giving up cheese you ask? To start, it’s been making me experience an increased amount of inflammation in my body in one way or another (actually to be quite frank, it’s been feeding a recent bout of blemishes). I also can’t seem to control myself. When I eat cheese, I end up consuming about 600-700 calories after going hog-wild with a whole wedge. Speaking of, there was a time when I was on an all-inclusive cruise in France, and I embarrassingly ate I a 1/2 wheel of Camembert cheese a day. By the end of the week the crew would just bring extra cheese to our table after dinner. Woops.
It’s been an interesting experience trying to come up with salad recipes that shows us how to eliminate cheese, but still provides a savory taste. That is until I added capers to the mix. Now I know you’re thinking, capers? Really? But yes, let me explain.
First of all when trying to eat healthy you’ll come across numerous studies that do nothing but contradict each other. You end up feeling like you can’t have anything to eat. Sometimes that means having to prioritize your purpose for eating what you do. Yes capers do have a good amount of sodium in them, but that leaves your recipes being completely vegan and dairy-free while still allowing a balanced flavor profile (tangy, savory, nutty, sweet). Just like a salad with cheese. If I have to choose between inflammation or just 100 more milligrams of sodium in a salad, I’ll choose the later.
Not to mention, capers actually have benefits. I also feel like no one really talks about capers or includes capers in their vegan recipes. Why?! They are SO good!
First of all, capers are pickled flower buds and are very low calorie (about 2 calories per tablespoon). A little also goes a long way due to their robust flavor. Capers have the following nutritional profile:
● Contains Vitamin A, K, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and even Omega 3 fatty acids.
● Contains phytonutrients and antioxidants
● Are fabulous to add to salads instead of cheese
They are really wonderful when used in salads (and I also used them in my vegan Caesar saladdressing). In today’s recipe, they add a burst of flavor to my Italian inspired antioxidant salad bowl.
How to Eliminate Cheese by Using Capers
Vegan Artichoke Heart, Kidney Bean and Caper Salad
● 1 cup leafy greens of your choice
● 1 tbsp capers
● 1 cup of artichoke hearts (frozen or canned is OK)
● 1/2 cup of rinsed and drained kidney beans
● 1/2 cup of roasted red peppers (canned, rinsed and drained)
● Dressing: 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1. In a big mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients together. Toss well and serve! One-and-done.