I love vegan cheese. But unfortunately, it often comes wrapped in a lot plastic like regular cheese, and it’s not exactly very affordable.
This recipe, which was adapted from www.lovingitvegan.com, creates a firm vegan cheddar cheese that is sliceable, grateable, and smashable on crackers. If it’s not quite hard enough to be grated on the first day, leave it in the fridge for another day and it will harden over time.
It also freezes well, so you can save it later if you can’t finish it all right away. In the fridge, it can sit for up to a week.
The base is cashews and the key ingredient that solidifies the cheese is agar agar, which is a gelling agent that comes from a Southeast Asian seaweed. Agar agar has no calories, carbs, sugar, or fat and is loaded with fiber. It’s free from starch, soy, corn, gluten, yeast, wheat, milk, egg and preservatives.
Just remember to get agar agar powder, not flakes. Only the powder will work in this case.
The other important thing is that the agar agar needs to be dissolved in a liquid like water and then boiled. It will set the other ingredients it is added to as it cools. Once mixed in with the other ingredients though, you will have work FAST before it starts to set.
- 1 cup (150 g) Raw Cashews
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) Water
- 5 Tbsp (75 mL) Lemon Juice
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) Coconut Oil
- 1/4 cup (60g) Tahini
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos or Tamari Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Medium Red Pepper (deseeded and chopped, about 3/4 cup)
- 2 and 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (I prefer Himalayan Sea Salt)
- 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 cup (15 g) Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 cup (240ml) Water
- 1 Tbsp Agar Agar Powder (not flakes)
- Small saucepan
- Silicone spatula
- 5 inch round bowl or 2 small ramekins
- Grease the 5 inch bowl or ramekins lightly with a vegetable oil and set aside.
- Place the cashews, 1/3 cup water, lemon juice, coconut oil, tahini, coconut aminos/tamari sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, red pepper, salt, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and onion powder into the blender jug.
- Blend until smooth. Set aside, but do not remove from the blender.
- Put 1 cup of water and the 1 Tbsp of agar agar powder into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling let it boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and pour it into the blender on top of the cheese mix.
- Blend until smooth.
- Working quickly, as it will start to set very fast, pour the mixture into your greased round bowl or ramekins. Use your silicone spatula to scrape the sides of the blender to get as much into your dish as possible.
- Smooth it down and then place it into the fridge for 1-2 hours to set. If it’s not hard enough to grate, let it sit in the fridge for another day.
- Remove it from the bowl by running a knife around the side to loosen it and then turn it upside down onto a plate.
- Serving Size: 4 Slices (1oz)
- Calories: 76
- Sugar: 1.3 g
- Sodium: 235 mg
- Fat: 6 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 4.2 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2.2 g