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My favorite food, pre-lactose issues, was manicotti.  We would home make the shells and everything.  So, I spent a lot of time trying to substitute the cheese filling (which was primarily ricotta).  I tried the tofu ricotta substitute (my body does not like that much soy in one sitting), I tried the cauliflower ricotta (texture and taste wasn’t right), so I experimented.  This is what I came up with (and it’s delicious if I do say so myself).  As a note, this recipe is best for recipes that call for some type of cheese filling where the item is cooked after filling (manicotti, ravioli, etc.).

Lactose-free “Cheese” Filling:

1 cup Daiya Shredded Mozzarella
1 cup Daiya Shredded Cheddar
1 tub (8 oz) dairy-free cream cheese substitute (Daiya’s plain cream cheese is my favorite though others are also good)
[sprinkle to taste, about 4 tablespoon-ish] parmesan grated cheese*
2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
[to taste, about 1/4-3/4 teaspoon] basil

Recipe:

1) Let cream cheese soften out of fridge to make it more pliable (not necessary, but certainly easier)
2) Place all ingredients in mixing bowl.
3) Use the back of spoon to pull all the ingredients into and throughout the cream cheese.  Mix until fully mixed together and the mixture resembles a typical “spread.”

*Parmesan cheese is naturally lactose-free if aged 24 months or more.  Be careful to ensure the parmesan has been aged to 24 months.

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