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Food food Vegan

Give vegan cheese a try with these 100% dairy-free recipes

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by: Annette Lavrijsen
give vegan cheese a try with these 100  dairy free recipes

Being a vegetarian for almost 20 years, I both care about animal welfare and feel a plant-based diet works best for my health. From the start I have cut out all meat and fish products, and since a couple of years I'm also trying to limit the dairy I consume on a daily base by replacing them by plant-based alternatives such as coconut yoghurt and almond- and oat milk. However, until very recently some of my most beloved foods remained untouched.

I love my Gouda sandwich, prefer a French cheese board over a bowl of crisps or popcorn and – not unimportant – eating cheese makes my life as a vegetarian living and eating in Spain much easier. Yet my recent discovery of the fact that the production of cheese accounts for some of the highest emissions of greenhouse gases  ­– more than fresh fish, because for making cheese you need livestock – has put my mind to think. Should I cut down on my cheese intake or at least try some vegan alternatives? As it turns out the options for the latter are plentiful.

Below are a few vegan cheese recipes that I’ve tried and tasted, and I recommend them to anyone who would like to give vegan cheese a try. 

Creamy almond cheese

This cheese is great as a replacement for white cheese in a salad or as a topping for pasta. The flavour and texture are different than normal cheese, but tasty.

What you need

160 g unroasted almonds, soaked overnight and drained

160 ml water

2.5 tbs of lemon juice

0.5 clove of garlic

3 tbs of olive oil

1.25 tsp of salt

How to make it

  • Put all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until you have a smooth mixture. If it is too thick and not blending add more water.
  • Remove the mixture from the blender and put into a small sieve lined with fine cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a pan to catch the draining water and refrigerate overnight, which will allow the flavours to merge.
  • The next morning you carefully remove the cheesecloth. Put the drained cheese onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 180˚C for 30-40 minutes for a crumbly yet creamy cheese, or at 165˚C for 25-30 minutes for a spreadable cheese.
  • Let the vegan cheese cool down and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
    Glass yer laying with almonds rolling out

Image by: Tetiana Bykovets, Unsplash

Vegan cheese with nutritional yeast

Because of its richness in B-complex vitamins and its strong flavour that can be described as cheesy, nutty or creamy, nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in vegan cheeses. Basically it is a deactivated yeast which is sold in the form of a yellow powder or as flakes, which can be used as a key ingredient in cheese substitutes ( personally I like it most as an alternative to parmesan). You can find nutritional yeast in most natural food shops.

What you need

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

75 ml water

200 ml coconut- or almond milk

1.5 tsp paprika powder

1.5 tsp salt

0.5 tsp black pepper

0.25 tsp kurkuma

1 pack of agar agar (a plant based alternative for gelatin)

How to make it

  • Put the spices, milk and nutritional yeast in a little pan.
  • When it starts boiling, you add the agar agar and let it simmer for a while. Stir to prevent it from burning.
  • The mixture will get thicker and look like melted cheese. If it is too thick, add a bit of water (max. 75 ml) a let it softly simmer for at least 4 minutes.
  • Take the mixture off the fire and pour it into a baking dish or bowl. Put it away in the fridge for 45 minutes.
  • Turn the solidified cheese upside down and put it on a plate. This vegan cheese is delicious on a pizza or pasta, or in a toasted sandwich. Refrigerated the cheese will last 1 to 1.5 week ­– that is, if you don’t finish it before.

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More like this: Annette Lavrijsen
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