It would be an understatement to say I was pee-in-my-pants-excited when I tasted this recipe while it was cooking. It’s so good, I’m labeling it a life-changing recipe.
You know I’m all about coming up with substitutions for the foods I can’t eat. When I saw Vegangela’s post for Homemade Vegan Cheese a few weeks ago, I knew I had to make it. Pizza, mac and cheese, and cheese burritos are a possibility for me again.
It’s like I’ve entered a whole new world of culinary delights. Kudos to Ann Gentry who came up with the original recipe.
I am just as shocked as you that I could make this:
I made gluten-free vegan crackers too. That recipe’s coming tomorrow!
I made a few small changes to the original recipe.
Cashews, nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic salt get ground up in the Cuisinart.
Non-dairy milk, agar flakes, and oil go into a pot to simmer.
Ten minutes in, I dump it into the running food processor with the dry ingredients. Then I top it off with lemon juice and white miso.
Add any special seasonings to make this cheese uniquely your own; port wine, horseradish, raisins (I’m not gonna judge what someone may or may not find appealing). I used liquid smoke because I have a long-standing love of smokey cheese that began with havarti. I also used dill (in a separate batch), probably because I loved dill havarti as a kid. Jeez, what is it with me and havarti?
Two technical notes:
Agar flakes and powder can be found in specialty stores with the sea vegetables. Agar is the binder and viscosity adder in this recipe.
I always worry myself to death about heating the wrong oils and getting soiled oils (that rhymes). I considered using all sesame oil since it keeps its healthy fat profile when heated, but was afraid it would be too nutty. It turns out I didn’t taste it at all so I’ll get to use only the healthy stuff next time. Hooray!
Both have a rich, slightly salty, cheesiness. Of the two, I was completely bananas over the smokey cheese. It covers the miso flavor a wee bit more than the dill.
The texture reminds me of Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. It’s creamy, light, and juicy. Apparently, it even melts. And you should know, it’s a bit…rubbery… like a water balloon. I can throw it around and it doesn’t even break. OK, I didn’t actually try that because that would be messy.
I’m storing mine in Ziploc bags. Baron is worrying about how much cheese we have now, so I’m going to try freezing some.
Cashew Vegan Cheese
Makes 4 cups/ Prep time: 15 minutes/ Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 and 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 3 and 1/2 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 cup agar flakes (or 8 teaspoons agar powder)
- 1/4 cup canola oil plus 1/4 cup sesame oil (you can do 1/2 cup of a single oil)
- 4 TBSPS yellow or white miso
- 2 TBSPS fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. dill or 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- Lightly oil 2 large salad bowls.
- Using the pulse button, finely grind the cashews in a food processor. Don’t over-grind and make a paste. Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic salt. Pulse a few more times to blend in the spices.
- Combine the non-dairy milk, agar, and oil in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the agar is dissolved.
- With the food processor running, gradually pour the milk mixture through the feed tube. Blend for 2 minutes or until the mixture is very smooth and creamy. Blend in the miso, lemon juice and special seasonings.
- Pour the cheese mixture into your oiled bowls. Cover and refrigerate until it is very firm, about 4 hours. When it’s firm, use a knife to gently remove the cheese from the bowl.
- To reheat and melt the cheese, place in a pot over medium heat, stir frequently. Add more milk if needed.
- The cheese will keep for 4 days, covered and refrigerated.