While working on my best-selling print cookbook, Latin American Paleo Cooking, I developed an entirely new kind of stretchy, meltable white "cheese" that looks, tastes, and behaves like fresh mozzarella. In my book it's called Queso Blanco, but I couldn't stand not being able to share it with EVERYONE, so it is published for free here on my blog as Tapioca Cheese. And boy has it made a huge impact!
Zucchini cheese is the original AIP-friendly "cheese" replacement and I've made my fair share of it in the past. But my one major complaint was that it didn't melt and therefore doesn't stretch. The texture is more like American cheese than anything else, which is fine! It's great served on veggie slices or on crackers (I have the perfect Paleo and AIP cracker recipe for you right here).
Homemade Paleo and AIP Pizza with Mozzarella!
Aside from all the recipes in my cookbook that use it, the obvious use for this Paleo AIP and vegan mozzarella replacement is to top pizza. Oh yeah....this stuff melts and stretches like the real deal, as you can see in this animation.
And if you want an entirely AIP Paleo pizza, you can do that with recipes right on my blog:
And yes, you can absolutely make the pizza just like a normal pizza, where you add the toppings with the cheese as the final touch then bake 10-12 minutes until everything is hot and the cheese is melted.
If you do that with zucchini cheese, you will end up with a puddle of cheese sauce on top of your pizza (because of the gelatin).
Tapioca cheese stands up to baking and melts and bubbles just like real mozzarella! It's truly amazing.
Legit Paleo AIP Vegan Mozzarella Sticks
But the last batch of tapioca cheese I made had me craving something else....MOZZARELLA STICKS.
Oooh yeah. When I first made these and took a bite I said to my Instagram: "y'all, this is seriously the most delicious thing I have ever cooked."
And I was not exaggerating.
My husband is kind of a weirdo and hates melted cheese, and he won't eat these because they taste just like real mozzarella sticks! But there's no dairy, no gluten, no grain, no nuts.....yet they are crispy crunchy on the outside and ooey gooey stretchy melty on the inside!
In a word, they are PERFECT.
You can also save them after frying and reheat them by baking in the oven. I have even frozen them and reheated in the oven and they taste AMAZING!
Holiday party appetizers, anyone? Perfect for vegan guests, Paleo or otherwise gluten-free guests, and pretty much everyone.
Tapioca Cheese Is A Healthy Dairy-Free Paleo & AIP Cheese That IS Easy To Make
If you've never made tapioca cheese before don't worry: it is SO easy to make in just 10 minutes with a few simple ingredients. The hardest part is waiting for it to chill in the fridge if you're making these mozzarella sticks! Just watch how fast and easy it comes together in this video:
- This recipe is written to serve ONE person a nice snack or appetizer and uses a small portion of 1 batch of tapioca cheese. I would estimate that you can multiply this by 4 or even 6 to use up an entire batch of tapioca cheese (I have not done that, and can't give you the exact number, because I would be sick if I ate that many all by myself LOL!)
- Tapioca cheese takes about 2 hours to chill. Plan ahead accordingly, as it needs to be firm, chilled cheese for this recipe.
- You have a lot of freedom with the final breading - crushed chips (plantain or potato) or a special kind of Latin American bread known as casabe bread. Casabe is made from the fiber of the yuca plant and is traditional fare in many countries. You can find it for dirt cheap at your local Latin market, or you can order it online. The Paleo restaurant Mission Heirloom Cafe has a Venezuelan owner, Yrmis, and they produce their own brand of casabe bread branded as Yucan Crunch (get it?) You can order it on Amazon and feel good about supporting a small Paleo business! But, if you are pinching pennies, you can get generic casabe bread much cheaper from a Latin grocery store.
- How to reheat: they won't be as crispy crunchy if you reheat from the fridge or freezer, but they are still DELICIOUS. Reheat in a 350F oven until hot and melted in the middle. From the fridge, that is about 6-8 minutes; from the freezer, 10-12 minutes and you need to flip halfway through
Mozzarella Sticks - Paleo, Vegan, AIP, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free
Makes 6 sticks to serve 1
- 6 slices of cold tapioca cheese (cut 1/2" wide and 1.5-2" long) You'll be dredging them through 3 different bowls to build up the crust
- Bowl #1 1 tbsp tapioca starch
- Bowl #2 mix together:
- 1 tbsp cassava flour
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp granulated onion
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
- unrefined salt and black pepper to taste (omit black pepper if desired for AIP)
- 2 tbsp sparkling mineral water or club soda
- Bowl #3 mix together:
- about 3 tbsp crushed plantain chips, casabe bread (the brand Yucan Crunch is a great option if you want to support a Paleo business!), or potato chips (cooked in a healthy fat like avocado oil or coconut oil)
- about 1.5 tbsp tapioca starch mixed well with the crushed coating of choice
- fat for frying (coconut oil, lard, bacon fat, tallow, avocado oil, ghee all work depending on your dietary needs)
- marinara sauce for dipping, if desired (here's my AIP nomato marinara sauce
- Prepare the tapioca cheese according to the recipe on my blog at least 2 hours in advance to give it time to set and chill.
- Heat fat of choice in a small frying pan or pot. You'll need about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of fat, so you can use a small pan to use less fat (recommended, since these cook SO quickly). Heat to 325F to 350F over medium heat, adjusting the temperature as necessary so the oil does not scorch.
- Prepare the 3 bowls in a row. Use a spoon to thoroughly mix the ingredients in bowl #2 to make a uniform batter. Dredge each piece of cheese first in the tapioca starch, then through the batter, then coat with the crushed chips/casabe. Make sure to coat EVERY surface, including the ends.
- Carefully drop into your heated fat and fry for about 1 minute per side, until golden and some of the cheese begins to ooze out.
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and enjoy immediately!
- Serve with your favorite marinara sauce - I have a delicious AIP marinara sauce (no tomatoes!) here.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in a 350F oven for about 6-8 minutes, or until hot and melted in the middle. May also be frozen, and reheated in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, or until hot and melted in the middle.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 2 mins.
Total time: 7 mins.Tags: AIP, Paleo, Autoimmune Protocol, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Cheese, Tapioca Starch, Queso Blanco, mozzarella sticks, Vegan, Nut-Free