The first and still the best vegan cheese I ever made

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In the first week of my vegan journey, I craved some creamy cheese. I bought a store-made brand and after one taste, dumped the whole tub. That chemically, chalky glop tasted like something that had been made by people who had never had cream cheese.

A quick google search didn’t bring me much luck either – I wanted cream cheese NOW not after eight hours of soaking cashews.

This is what I came up with and it’s still one of the best vegan cheeses ever. It’s so popular with my tribe that my friend, Cathy, specifically requests it for her birthday gift.  This recipe is nearly instant, easy and simple. And best of all, it’s delicious.

Let’s get started.

Cheese ingredients.jpg

Ingredients

¾ cup raw cashews

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic

2 tablepoons nutritional yeast

2-4 tablespoons water (I used 4 today for a very spreadable cheese).

Cheese.jpg

Directions

Put everything in a blender and whiz until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a couple times.

Serve with crackers, rye toast, slices of apple or tomato.

 

 

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Say “Cheese”! A cheese ball for grown up parties

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As I considered becoming a vegan, the thought of giving up cheese forever was off putting, to say the least. I tried many commercially produced vegan cheese products. I didn’t like them. So I explored making my own nut-based cheese. And now? Now I’ve punched my ticket to the vegan side of town!

This cheese ball is not a lot of work, but it does take a bit of planning. The cashews have to soak and the cheese needs to sit and firm up before being rolled into a ball. If you know company is coming, start this cheese ball the day before.

CheeseballSliced

Ingredients

1 ½ cups raw cashew pieces – soaked in water in the refrigerator for 8 hours

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes (NOT in oil), cut into small pieces. Soak these with the cashews in the water. The brighter and redder the sun-dried tomatoes are, the brighter and orangier the final cheese. You can see that my sun-dried tomatoes were quite brown.

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp sherry (optional but yes… you’re keeping sherry in the kitchen at all times, right?)

1 ½ Tbsp miso – I used a deep brown-rice miso and got a browner cheese. You can go with a milder miso.

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp mustard powder

½ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp turmeric

Pinch of cayenne (optional)

¼ cup unrefined coconut oil warmed to a liquid.

Walnut or pecan pieces or slivered almonds for rolling your cheese ball in. You’ll need about 2/3 of a cup. You could add thyme or sage to the mixed nuts too for colour.

Directions

Drain the cashew/sun-dried tomatoes. Place them and all the other ingredients EXCEPT the nuts for rolling the cheese ball in into a high speed blender or food processor. For this recipe, I find the blender is better.

Blend on high until you have a smooth, paste-like mixture. You can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if you think the mixture is too thick (i.e. the motor on your blender is smoking), but be patient. The longer you blend, the smoother the mixture will be. You will need to spoon down the sides a couple times too to make sure everything’s well incorporated.

Place the paste into a container with a cover and let it sit refrigerated for 4-6 hours. You will be convinced that you will never be able to roll the pastey glop you’ve created into ball have faith. You will!

After 4-6 hours, remove the mixture from the fridge and roll it into a ball. You can serve as is, or roll in crushed/slivered nuts or herbs. Keep this cheese chilled until you’re ready to serve it since the coconut oil will go liquid at warmer room temperatures.

Slice this baby up and enjoy with crackers and olives, wine and friends. Enjoy!

 

With few exceptions, this recipe is based on the recipe in the excellent Vedged Out blog. Here’s the link.

Borscht with cashew cream

Borscht

This is a winter soup that always makes me feel nourished and well loved. Traditionally borscht, a beet-based soup, is eaten with sour cream. When the two are stirred together, the borscht turns a glorious, creamy fuchsia. The cashew cream has the same effect and adds protein and healthy fat (there is no fat in borscht) to this nutritionally potent soup. Borscht is extremely easy to make and lasts for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Ingredients for the borscht

4 medium sized beets – peeled and cubed. You should end up with 3 cups of beets.

1 medium carrot, washed and chopped.

1 onion diced

1 19oz can diced tomatoes

½ head cabbage shredded (about 3 cups). I often use red cabbage for an extra vibrant borscht, but today I only had a Chinese cabbage so that is what went in.

4 cups vegetable broth

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon raw sugar (white sugar is not vegan)

1 tablespoon white vinegar (or use cider vinegar if that’s what you have).

Directions

In a large pot combine the onion, carrot, beets, bay leaf, broth, salt, sugar, pepper and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the cabbage and return to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 40 minutes.

This recipe makes 6 large servings.

For the cashew cream

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashew pieces – soaked in water in the fridge for 2-8 hours and then drained.

½ to ¾ cups water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Store in a sealed container for up to 3 days. This recipe makes about 1 cup of cream.