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Zucchini Cheese (AIP, SCD)

Zucchini Cheese.png

Zucchini cheese. Seriously. Cheese made from zucchini. I kid you not! A couple days ago I happened to see an Instagram post which purported to show non-dairy, nut-free, and soy-free “cheese” made from zucchini.

As I am progressing through this month of a paleo reset, I’m realizing that I feel a lot better when I don’t eat dairy. But as a proud “cheesehead,” it was breaking my Wisconsin-born heart to accept it. Then all of a sudden, Instagram gives me this beacon of hope in the darkness. I knew I had to get to the bottom of the “zucchini cheese” story.

I was still skeptical, but whipped up my own batch of zucchini cheese this morning and posted my own Instagram pic.

I asked the recipe originator if it would be OK to share it with all of you you and she graciously agreed.

Notes on healing diets:

This recipe is acceptable for people who are following virtually all healing diet, including The Paleo Approach/Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and the low-FODMAP diet. Nutritional yeast is not specifically legal or illegal on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), so I suggest omitting it to be on the safe side.

Notes on ingredients:

Zucchini Cheese Recipe (from Hayley Stobbs)

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Zucchini Cheese (Dairy Free, Nut Free)


  • Author: Jaime Hartman
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours

Description

This “cheese” alternative is free of all major allergens and acceptable for people following a paleo, AIP, GAPS, or SCD diet.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup (about 7 ounces) zucchini, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gelatin (Hayley says you could use 3/4 teaspoon agar powder to make this vegan, but I haven’t tried it)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Line an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place zucchini and water in a pan and bring to simmer. Steam with lid on for about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain and discard water.
  4. Transfer zucchini to a blender and add coconut oil and lemon juice. Blend on highest speed until completely smooth.
  5. Add gelatin, optional nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend again until smooth.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread in an even layer.
  7. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set.
  8. Remove and cut into desired sizes.
  • Category: Cheese
  • Cuisine: American

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Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable.

159 replies on “Zucchini Cheese (AIP, SCD)”

I was wondering, have you tried cooking with this cheese after it’s been made? Does it melt well or does it ruin the texture & flavor? I’m going to make a batch either way, but thought I’d ask first.

It melts VERY FAST, so you can’t really cook with it exactly. But I have seen a lot of people put it on pizza and burgers with success. Just allow the residual heat to make it a little melty but not liquid.

We re-melt it as a sauce and a soup base all the time. My family loves it with lentil flour pasta and homemade sausage. It’s like Hamburger Helper but way, way better for you! It won’t stay as solid as melted cheese on a pizza, or get stringy, but I have used it and it tastes good.

I tried creating this last week, and tried it 3 times now. This comment gave me an idea for tomorrow’s breakfast. I love paleo tortillas so I will start adding this cheese on top of the salad.

Wonder…any idea what the equivalent would be of frozen zucchini? I have some shredded zucchini so the water is already separated pretty much. How much does it cool down to, figure that’s what I should start with?

I have made notes that lead me to believe that 12 oz. (weight) fresh zucchini = approximately 1 cup peeled, cut, steamed, drained, pureed zucchini. Hope that helps!

Thanks Rachel… I have found this recipe to be pretty forgiving in terms of proportions. Hayley’s original recipe used cups, but I find weights to be helpful. Either seems to work though.

I used the 7oz weight measure and decided to double the recipe as I had a lot of zucchini to use up. It barely filled the bottom of an 8×8 pan, so I am wondering if I hadn’t doubled if it would have been not nearly enough.

You said you used zuccini. Have you ever tried using the very similar yellow squash? I cooked some up the other day and was reminded how good the flavor is… I have yet to make this cheese, but I think experimentation is in order.

[…] Zucchini Cheese (Dairy Free, Nut Free) – Gutsy By Nature […]

Have you tried melting it for a nacho or making a nacho sauce with it? Or would it be too runny? I wonder if thickening it would work for such a thing?

I have! I think it works well if you just warm it gently rather than making it piping hot again. Now I want to try thickening it.

The instructions are unclear. I was wondering the same thing as Sandy. Some friendly suggestions: Maybe adding to step 1 “and set aside.” Otherwise it looks like the 8 by 8 pan should be used for step 2 (which makes no sense because there’s usually no lid for an 8 by 8 pan). For step two add “in a sauce pan” or something to distinguish between the two pans. I’m excited to try the recipe!

Thank you, Shanni! I was confused about the pans and thankfully I read what you wrote and it clicked – they are different pans. ’. I think I have it figured out but I could be wrong. I can’t have dairy so this cheese would be a Godsend.

Step #1’s pan is a ‘baking pan’ (like for a square cake) you will pour the zucchini cheese into so it has a square shape after it sets up.
Step #2’s pan is a ‘frying pan’ or ‘sauté pan’ (at least that’s what I’m thinking in this instance of steaming because you can put a lid on them and put them on the stovetop burner and create steam).

I’d love to see the directions tweaked for future readers. Lots of people switching to Paleo and other programs that cut out dairy.

My suggestion would be to take the current Step #1, cut it out, but save the sentence to merge with the current Step #6 to make a brand new sentence.

The current Steps #2 through #5 should all be renumbered 1-4.

The current Step #6 should be the ‘new sentence combination’ of the original Step #1 and Step #6 (and this ‘new sentence’ should be renumbered as #5). The sentence might read like this: “Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and pour mixture in. Spread evenly.”

Add the current Step #7 renumbered as #6.

Add the current Step #8 renumbered as #7 and you’re done with reader confusion as far as I can tell.

Just wanted to say that I’m LOVING this cheese! So much so that I’ve been making it in double batches, in fact! I usually mix a little garlic powder and herbs (like thyme, basil, and a bit of oregano) to give it a savory flavor. I prefer the color when I use yellow squash, but it tastes just as good when I use zucchini. One more note–when I make it, I just poor it in a Pyrex container that I’ve lightly sprayed with Pam. It doesn’t stick at all, and I don’t have to deal with parchment paper that way.

I’ve made this twice now – would love to not have to use parchment. I will try it this way next time!

I have! I think it works well if you just warm it gently rather than making it piping hot again. Now I want to try thickening it.

I have! I think it works well if you just warm it gently rather than making it piping hot again. Now I want to try thickening it.

Sorry–that was meant as a response to a comment further up the thread.

I tried this using agar agar in place of gelatin. Turned out fine. BTW, you must BOIL the zucchini cheese and agar agar mixture first before it will set. I boiled mine for about 5 mins.

Shortly after I found this recipe, I discovered I am sensitive to coconut. I recently had a brainstorm (actually while using a mix from Urban Cheesecraft, but it’s applicable here too): while milk-based fat is out, unless you need it to be vegan, other fats that are solid at room temperature might work as well. So I tried beef tallow … sure enough it worked!

Spectacular! Made a coconut flour pizza crust and topped it with homemade sauce, garlic, spinach, and this amazing recipe find! Thank you so much for what will become a staple in this house:)

I made this last night & didn’t get to try it till tonight…. Wow- LOVING it!! Thank you so much for sharing – it’s a perfect addition to my AIP arsenal! :))

[…] with making my own dairy and soy free cheese using cashews and savoury yeast flakes, and even one based on zucchini, but they’re not really anything like cheese. Recently I found a pretty decent one called Bio […]

Thank you for your honest posts and wonderful recipes! Made this last night and it came out great! It does taste like American cheese.

Another question regarding a coconut allergy. Has anyone tried it with another oil and had good success?

Thanks.

Any other successes? Sorry to be a bother but avocado is another bad one for me. 🙂 I have a very low functioning gall bladder and avocado really upsets it. What oils have you heard that work?

Thanks again.

haven’t made this yet, but looking forward to it! would coconut manna/butter be a viable option in place of the coconut oil? maybe keep it from melting as quickly if using it on something hot?

Very interested in making this. I have limited experience with gelatin. Don’t you have to mix it with warm water? Or can you just put the powder right in the blender?

I am wondering if Ghee would be good. I am going to make some Ghee this week and actually thought it might be delectable in this “cheese.” Opinions?

Hi–i own your cookbook and love your recipes. i’m pretty sure that gelatin is NOT low fodmaps though, just as bone broth isn’t. I personally can tolerate a bit, but a lot of people are reporting problems. thanks much!

re: agar… i tried this today, and at first it didn’t turn out right, but i was able to save it… i used the agar instead of gelatin, but i didn’t follow the rule for agar. so, my “cheese” never set up. i didn’t want to give up just like that, and i remembered you have to boiled agar in order for it to work. so i boiled one teaspoon agar powder in 4 tablespoons water, then i actually re-heated my cheese mixture, mixed in the agar, and put it back in the fridge. it worked! i used yellow squash, doubled the recipe, and i spread out my “cheese” in a cookie pan, really thin, so i can cut it into square “slices”, like American cheese. that’s what the look and taste most reminds me of. i’m so looking forward to trying this on a sandwich! thanks so much for the recipe!

I know this is an old post, however I am only able to get my hands on agar agar in bar form and was wondering if I can use it in the same way that you did? Are the different forms of agar agar interchangeable? I read somewhere that one agar agar bar is equivalent to 2 teaspoons of powder

The Paleo cauliflower pizza crust calls for mozzarella added to the cauliflower “snow”. I am allergic to cheese. Can zucchini cheese be substituted for the mozzarella in making the crust.

Hi. I’m curious if anyone has attempted to add Jalapeno, or any other flavor to this, to give it some zip and zest. It seems it should be quite easy to alter this to make home style pepper jack, or add any other spice to compliment the dish or dishes this is intended for. Also, has anyone tried using this to make onion cheese bread? My wife and I make this on occasion in our bread maker.

I have heard of people adding all kinds of flavoring – you are limited only by your imagination. As for using this to make bread, I suspect it wouldn’t work very well. It becomes liquid as soon as it is heated.

I absolutely cannot thank you enough for this. I am usually successful at abstaining from dairy (which my body really, really abhors), but every now and then I let myself have cheese because I just can’t say no. And then I’m miserable and wondering why I’m so masochistic.

This is sooooo good! In fact, next time I might quadruple the recipe and try to make a brick of it in a small loaf pan. xD Maybe two: one regular and one pepper jack? The grocery clerks will know me as the weird girl who buys all the zucchini.

I have dubbed this wonder recipe “Zucchese” (zoo-KAY-zay).

Thanks again!!

Thinking of trying with tapioca starch, I’ve seen it give stretch to aquafaba “mozzarella”. Might help with the gelatin as well. We’ll see! Thank you for the recipe.

Do you heat the gelatin in liquid to dissolve prior to adding to the cheese mix in the blender or do you just add the powder straight up?

I’m doing a presentation on making foods healthier and I the food I choose was cheese. I am making it healthier by using your recipe and making Zucchini cheese. I was just wondering if it would be okay you with if I used your pictures in the presentation. Thanks

[…] Zucchini cheese (is this vegetable magical or what!?) […]

Yesterday I tried to really give google a challenge: paleo nut-free cheese. This recipe came up top. I just made it and tasted a dab before the fridge and it’s really good! I mostly want this for when I send my kids to school with their alternative lunches (hence the nut-free). My eldest loves cheese, and while she tolerates a small amount, too much isn’t good. If she likes this (and she always wants to like cheese), our lives will be forever improved.And she’s four and wants to fit in, so this is great. Plus, what a great way to get some extra veggies and gelatin and not consume so many nuts! Thanks!

I added fresh rosemary and garlic whIle blending. Also I sedan agar agar. It turned out great & a flavor to die for!

I made this cheese today. I tripled the recipe and added one scoop of probiotic powder. We really like it! I will do spice variations like Mexican or tomato/basil soon. What a great way to get our gelatin in and enjoy a fairly low cal snack! Thank you!

I just made this today and I love it. My daughter-in-law is temporarily on a non dairy diet. Has anyone tried it between the noodles in a lasagna? Would it melt into a liquid, as some have suggested?

Does anybody know if nutritional yeast is low FODMAP? I can’t even take probiotics without major bloating so the word “yeast” scares me.

Hello. I am excited to find this recipe. I am wonderinging of. You seeded your squash before cooking or not?
I do thank you
Mrs. Kale

Quitting Dairy? Homemade, Dairy-free Cheese and Cream Recipes That Taste Better than Dairy! - Raw and Natural Healthsays:

[…] you more fond of the milder taste of mozzarella? Try this recipe that is made with a surprising main ingredient […]

Just wondering about the purpose of peeling the zucchini. Is it simply to remove its colour or will adding the peel of the zucchini throw off the texture? Thanks!

I have made this a few times now. Love it. Last few times added garlic and chives. Yum! Added it to salads, ate just by the slice and tonight I will make it adding it to a spaghetti squash chicken BBQ dinner. I no longer crave regular cheese. Even my friends like it and so easy to make. Thanks for a great recipe!!!!

Hi, coconut oil is from coconut and many nut allergics are allergic to this. me included, if you ever hear of anything one could use instead I am all ears.

I am hoping to have time to make this today but during the heatwave we’re experiencing, dread the idea of turning on the oven. I could attempt a double batch in the toaster oven, but wonder if I could instead steam the sliced zucchini in a pressure cooker (less heating of the kitchen).

I doubt it matters how you cook it the squash. The pressure cooker would work just fine. But reading this comment made me think about roasting it on my Traeger to get that smoky flavor.

I was off on my proportions and shorted the gelatin for the amount of zucchini. I got a soft, spreadable consistency – like a very firm greek yogurt. I ended up mixing it with some black bean pasta for a “mac n cheez” style meal. It was not cheese, but it was very nice. Thinking I need to go dairy free to see if I can drop this stubborn weight. I will miss cheese horribly, but it’s nice to find some new flavors and textures that I will enjoy.

I’m disappointed. It’s nothing like cheese, really. more like a nutritional yeast-flavored gummy. I didn’t have high hopes, so it’s not a huge let-down. I wonder what i can make with it, since i don’t like it on it’s own… ideas?

I froze it, then shredded it. I’ve used it in a broccoli “casserole” … it was “cheesy” for that, and it includes bacon, which is very tasty. I also sprinkle the shreds on my salad as I used to do with cheese. No, it doesn’t mean it tastes like cheese on the salad, but everything it’s made with is still good for me and adds to the salad flavor.

I’m really excited to try this! I am sensitive to the sugars in lemon juice (Candida). Can it be made without or is it essential? Thanks.

This looks very interesting. However, I must point out that nutritional yeast is EMPHATICALLY NOT at all SCD-legal. An SCDer could become VERY sick if they ate it. But it would make a great way to have my beloved zucchini when I travel!

Thank you for your feedback. To be on the safe side, I agree that one should avoid it at first and be VERY cautious about trying it once they are stable. But the official legal/illegal list only defines baker’s yeast and says nothing about other forms.

If you throw the slices in your food dehydrator they turn out to be amazing you can bust them up to make a course cheese to put on your salad or just eat them plain Yum thanks for the recipe

Great directions and the recipe turned out just fine. I loved cheese, but no longer can eat anything with dairy proteins. I was never a fan of the Kraft slices (low quality processed cheeses) and that’s what this vaguely resembles to me. If that is your thing then great, but I didn’t like the flavor.

I cant wait to try – Just a side note, in step 6 of the instructions, you have the word “poor” and it should be “pour” – Really not THAT important, but thought I would mention it. Thank you so much for this recipe!!

Others noticed it. It’s just that this blog and this particular post/recipe on it are so significant within the heal-thyself blogsphere, those who did notice it consciously refrained from mentioning (/emphasizing?) it.

This cheese was incredible! I can’t wait to try this on a burger tomorrow. I used a silicone mold for my cheese and did not even have to spray it with oil. After it firmed up in the fridge for a couple of hours, I just turned the mold upside down and my cheese came out easily. My husband is a non vegan and loved the cheese and I fooled my chihuahua too. My puppy thought he was eating real cheese! He loved it too! Thank you for the great recipe.

I made this and it came out great, except that there is a slight coconut taste which totally throws off the cheesy thing. I am wondering if I could substitute butter for the coconut oil?

Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I had absolute no problems in understanding it as written. It was quite delicious too. I substituted Agar Agar for gelatin. As mentioned, naturally I did cook that separately and the add to my mixture plus a few AIP spices. Quite pleased with it. Good thing as I doubled the recipe. I had grain-free bread, which I toasted, and spread some on a piece. Yummy

Can’t use gelatin or agar as it’s not recommended on acid reflux diet. Tried arrowroot. But it came out runny. Maybe arrowroot too old and won’t thicken. Wanted this to work.

I’ve never heard of gelatin not being recommended for people with acid reflux – I wonder what the reasoning is for your practitioner to give that advice.
I’m sorry to hear that arrowroot didn’t work for you.

I made this yesterday, but doubled the recipe and added 1/2 large cooked parsnip and 1/2 cup sliced cooked leeks in addition to caraway, fennel, and black pepper. I had to use two 9″ rounds rather than an 8×8.
IT CAME OUT BEAUTIFUL AND DELICIOUS!!!!! Really reminded me of a very buttery cheese. I had it on a sandwich with gluten free multigrain bread, cucumber, roasted pepper, onion, and boston lettuce. Was AMAZING! Made my husband try some. He was very impressed and said that it looked and tasted like cheese. I will definitely be trying different variations of this and making it regularly since I have to avoid dairy for the time being.

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