It’s Time for DIY Vegan Cheese
I am not sure what took me so long to try making plant-based cheese. All that I can say is that I wish I had started sooner, because the process is so simple and, more importantly, the cheese is so delicious!
If you have been on the fence, too, I urge you to give it a try.
Cashew Cheddar Cheese Benefits
My easy Cashew Cheddar Cheese is a great place to begin. It is:
- Packed with nutrition
- Great for slicing, shredding, cubing or melting
How to Make the Cheese
Step One: Soak the Cashews
Making the cheese involves blending and chilling, plus 2 additional, yet still simple, steps. The first is soaking raw cashews in boiling water for a few minutes until they are plump. Drain the cashews.
Step Two: Prepare the Agar (Plant-Based Gelatin)
Second, prepare the gelatin, which helps to hold the cheese together. The gelatin in this recipe is 100% plant-based: agar agar. It is an all-natural product, made from various forms of seaweed.
Agar is available in both powdered form or flakes. You can use either, but the quantities will be different depending on which type is used. For every teaspoon of powdered agar you will need to use 3 teaspoons of agar flakes.
Like traditional gelatin, agar must be dissolved and heated in order to work.
For this cheese, the agar is dissolved and simmered in nondairy milk. Any plain, nondairy milk will work, but I recommend something other than full-fat coconut milk–unless you are specifically opting for a coconut-flavored cheese :).
Step Three: Blend!
Blend the agar-milk mixture, drained cashews, and nutritional yeast in a high speed blender until completley smooth. This forms the creamy base of the cheese, as well as the essential cheese flavor (courtesy of the nutritional yeast).
Add the remaining ingredients to the blender to create a distinctive, sharp Cheddar flavor. I use tomato paste (for umami and color), lemon juice and mustard for sharpness, and garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and turmeric for tang and depth. The turmeric also provides bold, yellow-orange color.
Step Four: Pour the Cheese into a Mold
Pour the cheese mixture into any mold of your choice, such as a loaf pan or a circular mold (for a wheel of cheese). I used two small loaf pans (5×3-inches). I recommend lining the pans with plastic wrap, for easy removal; oiling the mold or pan will also suffice.
Step Five: Chill the Cheese
Chill the cheese for at least 4 hours until firm and set, and then unmold.
If there are marks from the mold or plastic wrap, you can dip a knife in hot water to smooth them out.
Enjoy this cheese!!!
More Delicious & Easy Vegan Cheese Recipes to Try:Print
Healthy, delicious, easy-to-make Cheddar cheese, made with cashews! It is vegan, paleo, oil-free, and naturally gluten-free, too.
- 1 cup (4 oz/112 g) raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon powdered agar-agar or 3 tablespoons agar-agar flakes
- 1 cup (250 mL) nondairy milk (I used cashew milk)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) tomato paste
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Place the cashews in a mason jar or glass bowl. Add 2 cups (500 mL) boiling water. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes until very plump. Drain and rinse the cashews.
- Meanwhile, combine the agar agar and milk in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low to medium heat until the agar is completely dissolved. Continue stirring over low heat for 5 minutes longer.
- Place the drained cashews, nutritional yeast, and agar-milk mixture in a blender. Blend until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down sides several times. Add the lemon juice, tomato paste, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, turmeric and salt. Blend until completely smooth.
- Taste the cheese; adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Pour the cheese mixture into a small loaf pan (or any mold of choice) that has been lined with plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until firm. Slice, grate, cube (or melt!) the cheese, as desired, for eating and cooking.
Overnight Soaking: If you prefer, soak the cashews in 2 cups cold water, at room temperature for 8 hours instead of using the quick soak method. Drain and rinse before using. I do not recommend soaking the cashews for longer than 8 hours (they can turn slimy).
- Category: Cheese
- Method: Blender
- Serving Size: 1 oz/28 g
- Calories: 51
- Sugar: 0.6 g
- Sodium: 93.9 mg
- Fat: 3.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 2.7 g
- Fiber: 0.8 g
- Protein: 2.4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: plant-based cheese, vegan cheese, paleo cheese, cashew cheese, dairy-free, blender, easy, Cheddar