For many people who consider going vegan, the hardest part is giving up cheese. No wonder, dairy cheese is addicting. Fortunately, nowadays there are more and more vegan cheeses popping up on the shelves of grocery stores. There are also several outstanding books on how to make vegan cheeses at home. The two I highly recommend are: Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner and This Cheese is Nuts by Julie Piatt. These ladies have years of experience in making vegan cheeses and dishes and their recipes are truly outstanding.
But for all of you who never tried making your own cheese at home I have my staple recipe that I tried and tweaked over the last four years. You can use any kind of nuts for this recipe. Most popular would be cashews, almonds, or macadamia, but I also tried pine nuts and walnuts. Walnuts will not give that white color you see in the picture, but are still tasty. To make this cheese fully raw remember to use raw nuts. And as always use organic when possible, as it contains less chemicals and truly tastes better.
2 cups soaked and drained nuts of choice (soak in water overnight, or at lest four hours for cashews and pine nuts; and at least 8 hours for almonds, walnuts, or macadamia)
2-3 capsules of vegan probiotic
1 cup of water
juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
Place soaked and drained nuts in a high speed blender. Add probiotic powder from capsules and water. Pulse blend until you have a uniform mass. You will have to scrape down the sides a few times. If you need to add extra water, do it one tablespoon at a time. You don’t want your cheese to be to watery. Blend on high some more until your cheese reaches creamy consistency with no small pieces visible.
Transfer your cheese to a glass bowl, cover with cloth and let it sit on the counter for about 24 hours. During this time the bacteria from probiotic will transform nuts into fermented “cheese”. After 24 hours put a strainer over an empty bowl. Place a cheese cloth on a strainer and transfer your cheese onto a cheesecloth. Wrap it around and on top of it put a stone or a medium jar filled with water. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 hours (may be longer if you forget). During that time any extra moisture will drain from your cheese. Final step is mixing in spices and lemon juice. Now you have a basic nut cheese that is similar in taste to cottage cheese or goat cheese. You can add any extra spices you want. My husband loves to add cayenne pepper, cumin and turmeric. I like to add fresh chives.
Store this cheese in a closed container in the fridge for up to three weeks. But it never lasts that long in our house.