Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Special: Vegan Soy Free Cheese Updated

Alright carnivore, stop right there - move along - there is nothing to see here. Just go back to your happy little life with your cheese and your sour cream and pretend that everything is okay...keep moving. This post is for vegans ONLY! Ya, it's a private club. Now beat it.

If you're vegan you understand. Vegan cheese is an "acquired" taste. If you're not committed, don't even try. I've heard that there are some great new vegan cheeses that have come on the market back in the states but being out here in never never land with the lost boys I haven't had the pleasure of experimenting for myself. As for now, I am stuck with what the local corner market can supply; but, after much research I've developed something that seems to work. In my research I have come across two types of cheese -
1. tofu/soy
2. non tofu/soy (usually made with nutritional yeast and cornstarch)
I try to avoid soy whenever possible.....hormonal reasons, don't ask........I said don't ask alright? sheesh....Anyway, since soy is not an option we had to try something else.

Well, I tried the cornstarch variety and while it tasted ok my brain couldn't quite swallow it. So, mine is more of a rice cheese.

Now, this is not my first attempt at cheese making. When Matthew and I were first married we were gifted some Kefir grains. We Loved Kefir....that is until I neglected the poor dears and we got a sour batch. Well, not wanting it to go to waste, I came up with the brilliant idea of making cheese out of it. I researched it online and found I was well on my way to a perfectly delight cheesy substance. I watched it like a hawk for days, if only I had given it this kind of attention when the grains were still good. Finally, I summoned Matthew into the kitchen to try my first of what I hoped to be many batches of Kefir cheese. I sliced off a delicate morsel of a ball that was the consistency of soft cream cheese. We both took a bite and realized.....I had made alcoholic cheese. It fizzled like rootbeer and smelled like a drunk on new years eve. Okay, so not my best.

So Kefir didn't work, that's alright. I then got into sprouting and heard that you could make cheese out of rejuvilac left over from soaking wheat. Now what could go wrong with wheat? It's not to speak, no way to kill it. This one was sure to work. After several days of anticipation I called Matthew into the kitchen again to taste my new cheese. I guess the memory of the last experience was still a little too fresh in his mind, or maybe it was the mold that was growing on the outside of the cheese; whatever, it was, I was able to convince him that mold was part of the cheese making blue cheese, this was just a sign of my success. Unfortunately, he wouldn't agree to be the guinea pig this time so we agreed to try it together. We then concluded that no, this was not the right kind of mold.

As I'm re-reading this I realize this is not the best intro to get you to try my vegan cheese but look at it this way, with all this experience behind me I now know what NOT to do. That's got to count for something. So, try it if you dare. I tried it on the vegan pizza for an upcoming post and it is heavenly! So, if nothing else, try it on the pizza.

Vegan Cheese
1/4 c cashews
2 potatoes
4-5 carrots
1 onion
1-2 c celery
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C nurtitional yeast
1 c water

In a pressure cooker cook potatoes, carrots, celery, water, and onion  for 10 minutes. When finished add all the ingredients to a blender to make it creamy. Use while its hot. You can also use it cold as a cheese spread.

Add ins: for nacho cheese add bottled salsa and a hit of Tabasco
or, add broccoli and vegetable stock and serve over potatoes


  1. Oh my had me laughing out loud. You crack me up, not only because you grew up "cooking" in my kitchen but because when you write I can actually picture, feel and smell everything you are describing, even down to trying to get Matthew (and others... Andrew and Lainee) to, "just try it, it won't be that bad...or it won't kill you" or "If you die I promise I'll call 911".

    Thanks for sharing...when is the hard copy book coming out?

  2. Well, maybe now you and Matthew wont get strep throat or UTI's for a little while.

  3. hmmm, I don't think it was that kind of mold either :)

  4. In re-reading this one (cause it makes me laugh every time) you said "I guess the memory of the last experience was still a little too fresh in his mind..." Wouldn't it more accurately be called an "EXPERIMENT" as opposed to an "experience"...I guess it could be classified as both really!

  5. Grandma Bette: Your attempts sounded more like a suicide pact. Be careful my darling.

  6. Should the Garbonzo beans be pre cooked?

  7. For those who have nut allergies, you can make this cheese sauce without the cashews, it is less creamy but the flavor is held in the nutritional yeast and the color is held in the carrots. I do agree that your writing is very humerus and I heard your voice as I read it in my head!