And I thought my cheese days were over.
Yeah, right. Vegan cheese to the rescue!
This recipe is a reader request, and I’m so glad I gave it a try.
Vegan cheese has somewhat eluded me since going completely dairy-free. And to be honest, I’m perfectly content with all my dairy-free alternatives, especially now that I have a trusty Vegan Parmesan Cheese recipe (which I put on practically everything these days).
But there is something to be said for a soft cheese. And what better time to try it than now, especially with Valentine’s Day right around the corner?!
This recipe is simple, requiring just 8 ingredients! And the method is easy as well: Soak cashews, blend with seasonings to flavor, wrap in cheesecloth to absorb liquid, and chill – that’s it!
This cheese does involve a bit of planning ahead, since it requires soaking cashews and then chilling your cheese. But the prep is so simple and quick that it’s one of those recipes that happens in the background while you’re doing other things.
So, where does the flavor come from? Good question.
Minced garlic and garlic powder add ‘zing’ and depth;
Lemon zest adds tart and brightness;
Lemon juice adds acidity;
Nutritional yeast adds cheesiness;
Salt adds flavor and, you know, saltiness.
Once it’s done chilling in the fridge, unwrap and coat with fresh dill. Serious yum, and so flavorful.
I hope you all love this cheese! It’s:
& Entirely delicious
This would make the perfect cheese for a party or a romantic night in for two (cheese, wine, chocolate, strawberries, anyone?). Though it’s best chilled, it does well for a couple hours out of the refrigerator, and keeps for almost a week when properly stored, so you can keep enjoying it for days.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Easy Garlic & Herb Vegan Cheese
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (plus more to taste)
- 1 medium lemon, zested
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 medium lemons yield ~1/4 cup or 60 ml)
- 1/2-3/4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp finely minced fresh dill
Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator to soak for 12 hours*. If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. They will keep refrigerated for 24-36 hours.
Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to food processor. Add minced garlic, garlic powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, water (starting with lesser end of range), nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides and adding additional water as needed. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavor + balance.
Place a fine mesh strainer (or colander) over a large mixing bowl, and lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel).
Use a spatula to scoop all cheese over the cheesecloth, then gather the corners and twist the top gently to form the cheese into a “disc.” Secure with a rubber band.
Place in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away, and it holds its form when released from the cheesecloth.
To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and gently invert onto a serving platter. Reform with hands or cheesecloth as needed, then coat with chopped herbs and a bit more lemon zest (optional). It is fragile, so handle gently.
Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. Leftovers keep well covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
*If you’re in a hurry, you can quick-soak the cashews by covering with boiling hot water and letting soak for 1.5 hours. Drain and proceed with recipe as instructed. However, for this recipe long soaking (for 12 hours in cool water) is best because the cashews slowly soften rather than being shocked, yielding a softer, creamier cheese.
*Recipe adapted from Maple Spice and RawMazing.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*I use both garlic powder + fresh garlic because they offer different flavors (dried is more intense + fragrant, fresh is more intense + spicy).
Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 32 one-Tbsp servings)
- Calories: 55
- Fat: 4.4g
- Saturated fat: 0.7g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.73g
- Monounsaturated fat: 2.53g
- Sodium: 38mg
- Potassium: 70mg
- Carbohydrates: 3.1g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Sugar: 0.6g
- Protein: 1.8g
- Vitamin C: 2.5mg
- Iron: 0.5mg