And we LOVED these various convenience foods–in fact, I only recently learned that my sister hated Fridays because dinner was always Birds Eye Fish Sticks and McCain’s Frozen French Fries (made in the oven…which was apparently healthier than frying!!).
A particular family favourite was Cheez Whiz. From the day it was introduced to the Canadian market in the 1950s to this day, my parents have gone through a jar of this stuff a week–my Mum even heats it in the microwave to pour over steamed broccoli. And my Dad always opens a new jar the same way: he pulls it out of the cupboard, turns it upside down and smacks it hard on the counter to loosen the seal. A few years ago, the jar broke when he smacked it and he wrote a letter of high dudgeon to the president of the company. As a result–and to his great delight–he received an enormous crate of free Cheez Whiz and enough coupons to keep him in the stuff for a few years.
Anyway, I’ve been craving this tasty spread all week and thought I’d try my hand at a healthy, vegan version of the stuff. I started with this recipe from The Vegan8, but felt the need to add a number of ingredients. Then, of course, I wanted to spice it up, so I added a few more. The result is a super spicy cheezy spread that is actually quite yummy! I should mention that it really doesn’t taste much like the original, but apparently, the current version of Cheez Whiz also bears little resemblance in terms of appearance or taste to the Cheez Whiz of my childhood (See “The Day They Took the Cheese out of Cheez Whiz”).
The spread I made is very good on toast, but could be heated up to pour on a baked potato or a Cena Mexicana…or even stadium-style nachos. And best of all, it contains no corn syrup, xantham gum, food colouring, and the myriad other questionable ingredients in the original product.
Spicy Vegan Cheez Spread
- ½ cup water
- 4 TBS tahini
- 1/4 cup cashew pieces
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 1 – 2 TBS Sambal Oelek (depending on how spicy you like it)
- 2 tsp vinegar
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika