Finally… a post on homemade vegan cheese! Scroll down for the recipes.
For the past few days, my motivation seems to have run away. I imagine it is currently lounging on a beach somewhere tropical while I struggle with finishing the book I’m reading, going to the gym, getting out of bed, and just doing normal human things. Usually I like to spend my weekend running errands and taking care of things I didn’t get around to doing during the week, but last Sunday, I spent the entire day lazing around in my pajamas. I binge-watched Orange Is The New Black, baked cookies, and went on a reddit.com/r/nosleep marathon. It was glorious.
Now that my last day at work is approaching, I’m beginning to second-guess my decision to quit. But when I think about the possibilities waiting for me, I realize that all new beginnings can be intimidating. Not knowing what’s next is scary, and even though I felt more excited than scared last week, right now I am feeling more nervous than ever. What I do know, however, is that staying at my current job isn’t going to get me any closer to my dream of cooking and working with food. (And then I wonder if I should get a masters degree or do something related to my International Relations degree. But more on that later.)
A few months ago, I was curious about making my own vegan cheese. I had never done it before, and had only heard about all the ways you could make your own cheese… with nuts. I did a little digging and found several helpful resources, which I’ve included below. You will need a food processor, but it’s not as daunting as it seems. I hope all the recipes I’ve included below are helpful to those who’ve been meaning to try making their own vegan cheese! My favourite nut cheese so far is the one from the My New Roots cookbook, which, similarly to dairy cheeses, goes through an actual fermentation. I’ve included the recipe for this below.
So, let’s get started!
THE BEST RECIPES TO GET YOU STARTED ON MAKING VEGAN CHEESE
There are many kinds of vegan cheeses, but let’s begin by separating them into two groups: firstly, ones that have gone through the fermentation process, and secondly, ones that haven’t. Traditional dairy cheeses are made through fermentation, where enzymes are introduced to coagulate milk. When we ferment nut cheese, we do the exact same thing by adding probiotics. It’s a pretty fun project! Below are five of the best recipes to get you started on making vegan cheese, both non-fermented and fermented.
- Simple Almond Cheese from Rawmazing
- Cashew Ricotta Cheese from The Simple Veganista
- Buffalo Mozzarella from Veggie Wedgie
- Quick & Dirty 5 Ingredient Vegan Cheeze Sauce from Oh She Glows
- Aged Pine Nut Cheese with Garlic and Rosemary from This Rawsome Vegan Life
- Gourmet Dairy Free Cheese from One Green Planet
- Basic Vegan Fermented Cashew Cheese from The Fermentation Podcast
- Cashew Chevrè from Phickle
- Cultured Cashew Cream Cheese Base from Amanda Nicole Smith
Two other cultured vegan cheese recipes I love come from two beautiful cookbooks I highly recommend buying: Amy Chaplin’s At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen and Sarah Britton’s My New Roots. Some excerpts from their books on cashew cheese…
“Everybody in my life, including the passionate cheese connoisseurs, love this cheese. It’s especially good for those avoiding dairy, as it provides the rich, creamy texture and delicate, tangy flavour of a good soft dairy cheese. Cashew cheese is surprisingly simple to make but requires a little advance planning- a day or so to culture and then a night in the fridge. The probiotics (acidophilus powder) gives the cheese a slightly tangy flavour and also provides you with some beneficial bacteria.” – Amy Chaplin
“Making a cheese out of nuts is actually quite simple, and all you need is a few basic ingredients to get started. Once you have mastered this recipe, feel free to experiment with adding different ingredients to flavour your cheese, such as fresh herbs, honey, dried fruit, citrus zest, or even edible flowers, for a beautiful presentation… Spread it on toast, savoury crepes, or crackers; and serve it with olives, walnuts, and grapes on a cheese platter. Your friends will devour it without ever knowing it’s totally raw and vegan!” – Sarah Britton
The recipe below for raw vegan cashew cheese comes from Sarah’s recently published book, all credit goes to her and her hard work!
RAW VEGAN CASHEW CHEESE
Yields around 2 cups.
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 3/4 cup filtered/non-chlorinated water
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- zest of 1/2 an organic lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 probiotic capsules – or enough to equal 40 billion active cells
- 3 tablespoons minced herbs of choice – I used basil
- Cover the cashews in cold water and soak for 4-12 hours.
- Drain the cashews and place them in a food processor with the filtered/non-chlorinated water. Blend. Add the garlic powder, salt, nutritional yeast, lemon zest, and juice. Purée again, scraping the sides occasionally until all the ingredients have been blended smooth.
- Scoop the cashew purée into a nonreactive bowl, preferably one made with glass. Crack the probiotic capsules into the purée and stir with a wooden or glass spoon. Mix in the herbs.
- Cover the bowl with a dish towel and leave in a warm place overnight. Sarah suggests the top of a radiator or inside a gas oven with the pilot on, which is what I did. The cheese is ready in 12-24 hours, and should taste tangy, which comes from the cultured/fermented sugars of the cashews.
- Mold the cheese to your liking by pressing into a container with a spatula or shaping with a cheesecloth. Cover and refrigerate for another 6 hours before serving and eating. For a distinct flavour, Sarah suggests rolling or covering the cheese in the herbs, seasonings, and spices of your choice.
The cheese keeps for up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,