Does the thought of replacing your favourite cheese fill you with sadness as your transition to veganism? We've got a handy guide to helping you make vegan cheeses at home!
"It's not as good as the real thing" is something you hear when you talk about vegan substitutes. But hey! It's right there in the term... it's a substitute and is unique in its own right. Cheese is perhaps one of the most popular dairy items that’s also the hardest to kick from your diet. Scientific studies have shown cheese to be addictive, and if you like cheese then we probably don't need to describe its deliciousness to you.
If saying goodbye to cheese is scaring you, and the substitutes just don't seem appealing that may be because you simply haven't found the right one! Now, vegan cheeses have been popping up in stores everywhere. But they're pricey, and sometimes you just want that satisfying cheesy kick on top of the pasta you made for dinner.
The good news is, you don't have to break the bank to eat good vegan cheese, there are super simple recipes you can make right at home! In all honesty, we prefer the vegan parmesan over the real stuff to sprinkle on our paste over the real stuff. And the mozzarella melts gooey and stretchy!
By the end of this post, you'll know how to make:
- Vegan Parmesan
- Vegan Mozzarella
- Vegan Cream Cheese
But before we get to business, there’s one special ingredient you need to know about and buy to make delicious cheese substitutes at home... nutritional yeast.
This is the good stuff that gives cheese substitutes that umami, salty and cheesy flavour. Nutritional yeast, like the name suggests is also nutrient-rich! It’s a great source of protein with 8 grams of protein in every 15 gram serving, that’s 8 grams of protein in a single tablespoon. Nutritional yeast, also known as nooch, is also a fantastic source of Vitamin B12 and B6, and folates. If that's not enough, nooch is also naturally low in sodium, fat and cholesterol making it a super healthy addition to your diet regardless of how you choose to use it.
Nutritional yeast is easily available online, and you can have it delivered right to your doorstep. Although it can be a little pricey it’s worth every penny because one purchase will make you several jars of parmesan or batches of cream cheese.
Vegan parmesan is supremely yum. This recipe isn't a dead ringer for regular parmesan, only parmesan can do that but it's so delicious you won't mind, and we're sure your non-vegan friends will enjoy this too! It's had a lot of success with anyone that's tried it. And it definitely brings a pasta dish together when sprinkled on top.
Making this at home is a simple matter of gathering ingredients and dumping them in a mixer. It’s an easy substitute to make yourself and hard to mess up.
1 cup raw cashew nuts
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4th teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste
A pinch of mustard powder (optional)
Add all your ingredients to your mixer
Pulse till a crumble forms
Add salt to according to your preference
And you're done!
You can store your vegan parmesan for about 5 to 7 days. It tastes great on pastas and popcorn. Anything you want really. Sprinkle some on pizza!
Small tip, wait a few hours before you dig in, it gives the flavours a chance to develop.
This amazing recipe has been adapted from itdoesnttastelikechicken.com and is immensely easy to make. Its delicious flavour will definitely help you forget all about the real stuff.
There are two ways to make this recipe, you can make a softer melty version that you can put as a topping directly on pizzas or anywhere else or you can use an extra ingredient to get a grateable version that mimics real cheese.
You could also choose to use nuts, or keep it nut-free with some soft tofu. Whichever direction you choose to go in, this recipe will not disappoint.
1 cup soft tofu / cashews soaked in water
1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/4th cup coconut oil
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon agar agar powder (optional for a grateable cheese)
2 teaspoons salt (adjustable to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 cups water
Add all your ingredients to the blender, except for the water and agar agar.
Once the ingredients in the blender are smooth and have come together, set aside.
Add agar agar powder to the water, whisk in and then bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to whisk until the mixture starts to thicken into a thin gel.
Add the hot agar liquid to your blender, and blend till smooth.
Immediately add your hot mixture to a mould of your choice. Remember to work quickly, because the cheese will set quickly.
Allow the cheese to come to room temperature before putting in the fridge to set.
Notes - If you're worried about a mould, you can use literally anything you have lying around including a bowl.
Vegan Cream Cheese
A good cream cheese recipe in your repertoire is essential in helping you build bases for creamy queso sauces and cheesecakes. There's also no denying that plant-based cream cheese is a fantastic thing to add to your breakfasts! Creamy, tangy cheese (but not really), spread on toast is favourite across the world!
Nutritional yeast is not a must for this recipe, but adding it will give you a delicious savoury cream cheese flavour that makes all the difference. For desserts and the like, skip the nooch and you'll have the perfect cream cheese substitute to satisfy sweet cheese cravings.
Like the mozarella, this recipe can be made either with cashew nuts, or with tofu depending on what base you prefer. If you'd rather use the tofu base, you'll need a little coconut oil to make it set easily and be spreadable.
Ingredients (For tofu - based cream cheese)
1 cup of tofu
1/4th cup refined coconut oil
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (you can replace this with 1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice)
1 tsp nutritional yeast
salt to taste
Ingredients (For cashew-based cream cheese)
1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water overnight)
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or 1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice)
1 tsp nutritional yeast
salt to taste
Pick your recipe, add all ingredients in a blender, and pulse till smooth
Add water to get the right consistency if it turns out to be too thick.
Adjust nutritional yeast, and salt to taste
And that’s all there is to it. You can store this directly as it is, or you can add mix-ins to make different flavours of cream cheese for your anytime toast!
You can also freeze your cream cheese for up to two months, but if you're keeping it in the fridge be sure to finish it within 4 to 5 days! It probably won't last that long anyway.
With that, you now know how to make 3 different kinds of homemade cheese substitutes that help you cover MOST of your cheesy bases. From toppings on pizzas and pastas, and melty goodness to spreadable deliciousness, you can now go forth and cook up a cheesy feast that's sure to impress even your non-vegan friends! Let us know if you try any of these recipes and how they work out for you in the comments below.