If the idea of going to the trouble of making a vegan cheese recipe sounds even less enticing than giving up cheese altogether, trust me, I totally get it.
As someone who cooks pretty much every single day, I always try to factor in the time to taste ratio of any recipe before I get cooking. In other words, the longer I spend making a recipe, the better I expect it to taste! But not only does this vegan cheese recipe take less than 10 minutes of hands on time to prepare, it seriously tastes good. Better than good actually. It’s downright delicious. And unlike most other homemade dairy-free cheeses, you won’t need a dehydrator.
If you have our Clean Cuisine book then you already know I am not a fan of “fake” foods. I don’t dig artificial sweeteners, diet sodas or low fat/ low calorie/ low carb versions of the real things. And I have never been a fan of counterfeit cheese either. So while I would not consider myself a connoisseur of dairy-free cheeses, the vast majority of ones I have tried do not taste good. To date, the only two vegan cheese brands I like are Kite Hill and Dr. Cow. Like my vegan cheese recipe below, both Kite Hill and Dr. Cow are nut-based “cheeses” made without oil, fillers or funky additives. But other than those two brands, the other vegan cheeses I have tried are not only unpalatable, they aren’t even healthy! For example, Daiya Foods brand “Cheddar Style Shreds” contains the following ingredients listed below:
Ingredients: Filtered water, tapioca flour, expeller pressed non-GMO canola and/or safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegan natural flavours, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, yeast extract, citric acid (vegan, for flavour), annatto (for colour), titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral).
If I had to eat a vegan cheese with the ingredients listed above I would rather just eat the real deal or skip it altogether. And speaking of skipping out on cheese, let’s face it: giving up cheese is hard to do! So hard in fact that I have not actually done it. Again, if you have our book then you know cheese is the one single dairy product I still do eat a wee-bitty bit of. I don’t eat cheese because I think it is healthy though. I only eat cheese because cheese tastes good. Luckily a little bit of cheese goes a very long way.
But let’s get back to the vegan cheese recipe. If you take a look at the ingredients in the recipe below and compare them with the ingredients in the Daiya Foods brand above, you will see a HUGE difference. The ingredients in the homespun vegan cheese recipe are all unrefined REAL food ingredients, which means the end result tastes REAL. It doesn’t have a funky, phony aftertaste and it doesn’t taste like a “wannabe” food either.
A Word About the Vegan Cheese Recipe Ingredients
Now I’m not going to stretch the truth and claim my vegan cheese recipe tastes just like the real deal. But because it is made with macadamia nuts, it has the rich and full-fat “mouth-feel” you would get from the real thing. And the non-fortified nutritional yeast adds the much-sought-after umami savory flavor real cheese delivers.
One important thing to keep in mind with the nutritional yeast though is that you want to make sure you get a non-fortified brand. Although it may sound like fortified nutritional yeast would be the most nutritious choice, in reality fortified versions are simply fortified with synthetic nutrients, which are not metabolized or utilized by your body in the same manner as naturally-occurring nutrients. Fortified versions also don’t taste nearly as good as the non-fortified versions. It is not uncommon for me to hear someone say they tried nutritional yeast before but hated the taste, but nine times out of ten its because they tried a fortified version (note: fortified nutritional yeasts are the most commonly available.)
My favorite brand of non-fortified nutritional yeast and the one I use in the vegan cheese recipe is Sari Foods brand. Watch the video in this link to learn more about the benefits of non-fortified nutritional yeast over fortified versions.
What to Do With It…
First of all, don’t expect the vegan cheese recipe to melt. It won’t melt. It’s very similar in many ways to feta cheese in that it is soft with the full-fat “mouth-feel” described above, and instead of being creamy like many other cheeses, it is crumbly in texture. If you have ever had homemade Vegan Parmesan Cheese made with cashews (which is delicious, by the way), my version is softer, clumpier and a bit richer tasting. I realize the clumpy part might not sound good, but it is clumpy in a good kind of way—again, similar to feta cheese.
Even though it won’t melt, there are plenty of ways to put your vegan cheese recipe to good use, including:
- Put it on Homemade Pizza
- Crumble it on Salads
- Add it to Baked Potatoes
- Sprinkle it on Tomato Salad
- Scatter it on top of Black Bean Soup
- Use it on top of Zucchini Noodles (pairs especially well with olives and sundried tomatoes)
- With a Fruit and Nut Plate
- 2 cups raw macadamia nuts
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon non-fortified nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined.
- Using your hands, crumble the mixture onto the parchment paper. Transfer mixture to oven and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes.
Vegan cheese will keep for up to a week if stored in covered container and refrigerated.
P.S. Looking for More Clean Condiment Recipes?
If you liked the Vegan Cheese Recipe above and you are looking for more healthful, clean and delicious condiment, sauce and dip recipes, be sure to check out our Clean Cuisine Superfood Cookbook (only $2.99 as a digital download). The book includes 40 superfood salad dressings, smoothies, sauces, dips, desserts and more!