Paleo Nacho Cheese
This Paleo Nacho Cheese is dairy-free, easy to make, totally delicious. Making use of sweet potato, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and a magical mix of other ingredients, this “cheese” is great on nachos or as a crockpot party dip!
Hold onto your seats, my friends. I’m about to turn this Paleo nacho cheese recipe post into an excuse to talk about a pretty major self-realization. In fact, this nacho cheese may have even CAUSED this realization. Not all on its own, of course, but it was (for dang sure) the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Let me take you back to a slightly younger (think 5 years ago) version of myself. I was 25, about a year into food blogging, and completely obsessed with two (now I see as conflicting) ideas: 1) I want to HELP PEOPLE and 2) I don’t want to offend people.
My consuming desire to help people get on the fast track to feeling GREAT (which I supported by sharing my story, nutrition science, and kitchen creations) pushed me to work harder, more thoughtfully, and with more meaning.
On the flipside, my also consuming desire to not offend or annoy anyone (because I was afraid of pushing folks away) actually laid a thick blanket of FEAR over my work. I was fearful that my recipes or nutrition science approach would get laughed-at, not taken seriously, and then ultimately dismissed by those it could possibly benefit. I thought that my most efficient route to fulfilling my purpose would be to navigate the minefield of personal preference eggshells, taking care to not crush too many on my path to building a meaningful life’s work.
Bringing this back to Paleo nacho cheese, I distinctly remember hearing from several folks (many of whom are friends of mine) that Paleo-friendly cheese (specifically nacho cheese) was an absolutely ridiculous pursuit. The thought of a dairy-free nacho cheese was laughed at! I remember cooperatively laughing along, while mentally crossing “make a Paleo nacho cheese” off my to-do list.
Fast-forward 5 years to a more confident and peaceful version of myself. I’ve realized, over the wild and bumpy ride of building this business, that my controversial work is sometimes my best work. The projects and undertakings that scared me THE MOST have actually resonated the most widely and deeply, fulfilling my original purpose (help people) with more gusto than I could have ever imagined.
While I don’t think that Paleo nacho cheese is going to change the world, I do think it represents an important concept: if there is work (or an idea) in your heart, you must chase it. Whether it’s a recipe, blog, book, podcast, program, or business, quiet your fear of stepping on eggshells. That fear, though contributing to a healthy state of awareness, need not control your efforts.
Go boldly in the direction of your heart and dreams and remember that though it feels scary for a moment, the empowerment lasts a lifetime.
Thanks for listening (reading). Shall we talk nacho cheese now?
I LOVE THIS CHEESE.
I love this cheese and I’m so glad I finally stopped caring about what possible dismissive things people would say if they saw it. It’s delicious, easy, and could be a great option for folks who love the melted cheesy goodness but cannot tolerate dairy.
I want you to know that this recipe is easy peasy. It calls for just 6 ingredients and took a whopping 15 minutes to make! Spread it out over some loaded chips to make nachos (recipe coming soon for this!) or pour it into a crockpot with 1 cup of pico de gallo (a Rotel substitute) for a classic party dip. JUST like regular nacho cheese, this melted cheese is BEST when hot. When it cools, it will thicken. Keep it warm for the best texture!
The signature cheese flavor is made possible by one of my favorite pantry super foods, nutritional yeast! Don’t be intimidated by the nutritional yeast. It’s NOT like the yeast we use to bake bread. It’s an orange, flaky food supplement you can usually find in the health food isle. Note that you can order THIS ONE online, which is *not* fortified with folic acid (if folic acid is a concern for you). It’s loaded with B-Vitamins and (in my humble opinion) really delicious! With a little kitchen wizardry (the right amount of coconut milk, lemon juice, salt, and garlic powder), the yeast takes on a signature nacho cheese flavor.
Not that the size of the sweet potato you use will have an impact on the consistency of the dip – just keep playing with it, adding more/less coconut milk, until you get a consistency you like!
I hope you love this recipe and that you not let fear keep you from fulfilling anything on your heart’s to-do list.
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 to 2-inch thick chunks
- solid cream from 1 (13.5 ounce) can of full-fat coconut milk
- 2/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- red pepper flakes, for garnish, optional
- 1 cup fresh pico de gallo (rotel substitute), optional
- Place the peeled sweet potato chunks into a small pot and cover with water. Cover with a lid and place on the stove over medium heat. Bring the water to a boil and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the sweet potato pieces are easily pierced with a fork. Drain the water off the potatoes.
- Immersion blender option: return the drained pot of potatoes to the stove and place over low/medium heat. Add HALF of the coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Use an immersion (or “stick blender”) to blend the nacho cheese until it’s completely smooth and creamy. Add more coconut milk cream to the pot, blending as you go, until it has a consistency you like. Transfer to a crockpot over “warm” setting for a party dip or keep covered and warm on the stove until serving.
- Food processor (or blender) option: place the drained potatoes in a food processor or blender. Add HALF of the coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Blend the nacho cheese until it’s completely smooth and creamy. Add more coconut milk cream, blending as you go, until it has a consistency you like. Transfer to a crockpot over “warm” setting for a party dip or return to the stove to keep covered and warm until serving.
- Optional: stir in 1 cup of fresh pico de gallo for a dip and/or garnish with red pepper flakes.
- Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days in a sealed container. Be sure to warm thoroughly again before serving.