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Basic Vegan Cheese + 3 Flavor Variations (Herb, Smoky Cheddar and Baked Goat Cheese!)

FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige Recipe - Vegan Cheese featured

Have you gone dairy-free, but missing your beloved cheese? Or maybe you’re looking for a plant-based twist on an American diet staple that will satisfy cravings and please a crowd (hello, vegan cheese board)! I’m going to show you how to make basic vegan cheese with three flavor variations to experiment with. Who could pass up herb, smoky cheddar and a baked, vegan goat cheese? FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige Recipe - Vegan Cheese 6

 

 

I would be willing to bet that when incorporating more plant-powered foods into your diet, you might miss the cheese on your plate more than meat. While you might not get that Instagram-worthy cheese pull from vegan cheeses (unless you’re buying the super processed kind), they are equally as creamy and decadent.

Dairy is commonly known to being a “blocker” in the body and has been linked to acnemucus production and digestive issues. Since I’ve significantly reduced the amount of dairy in my diet the past few years, I’ve noticed clearer skin, less bloating and an overall lighter feeling.

Experimenting with Vegan Cheeses

It wasn’t until I went to culinary school that I really started experimenting with vegan cheeses. Even then, most of the cheeses were made by adding probiotic powder to the raw cheese blend and allowing to ferment in the dehydrator for one to two days to achieve that tangy flavor.

FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige Recipe - Vegan Cheese 3

There are a variety of dairy-free cheeses that can be found at the grocery store, however, many of them are full of additives and fillers. That shredded vegan cheddar cheese? Just say no. It’s better to just eat the real (dairy) deal then fill up on this fake alternative.

How to Make Vegan Cheese

Homemade vegan cheeses are not nearly as intimidating as most people think they are! I highly recommend a high-powered blender or food processor for this to be able to get that thick, smooth texture.

Vegan cheeses are made with a base of soaked nuts. Soaking the nuts allows them to blend into a creamier consistency and releases the phytic acid, making them easier to digest. You can use any combination of cashews, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, or even blanched almonds. The fattier the nut, the creamier the texture!

The texture you are looking for is a creamy, almost fluffy consistency. Similar to that of a ricotta cheese.

Here’s where the really fun part comes in – playing around with flavors and cooking methods!

  • Nutritional yeast is a must to achieve that cheese-y flavor
  • Herbs, garlic and citrus zest can be used to add a fresh twist
  • Spices can be used for coloring and an added layer of flavor
  • Baking the cheese adds a nice richness and removes some of the moister for a more dense cheese

With the holidays approaching, why not try out some of these vegan cheese ideas? Or take it one step further and make your own vegan cheese or charcuterie board (tutorial coming soon)!

Vegan Cheese Recipes

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Basic Vegan Cheese


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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cashews, soaked for 4 hours, rinsed and drained (could substitute for macadamia nuts, or do ½ and ½)
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For serving: crudites (raw veggies), crackers, apple slices  

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients (except for the water) in a high-powered blender or food processor.
  • Blend until smooth, adding the water until a thick, smooth consistency is reached (almost like a ricotta).
  • Transfer to a bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Keywords: vegan cheese, cashew cheese, nut cheese, dairy-free, cheese, cheese board, entertaining, vegan herb cheese, vegan smoky cheddar cheese, vegan baked goat cheese, dairy free cheese

Flavor variations:

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Smoky Cheddar Cheese Ball – Vegan


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Ingredients

  • 1 batch Basic Vegan Cheese
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Chopped dried tart cherries and chopped pistachios for rolling

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients for basic vegan cheese (except for the water), plus nutritional yeast, coconut oil, smoked paprika and turmeric into a blender or food processor.
  • Blend until smooth, adding the water until a thick, smooth consistency is reached.
  • Transfer to a bowl to chill for a few hours.
  • Sprinkle the chopped cherries and pistachios onto a plate.
  • Shape the cheddar cheese into a ball with your hands and roll into the nuts and dried fruit to create a coating on the outside.  

Keywords: vegan cheese, cashew cheese, nut cheese, dairy-free, cheese, cheese board, entertaining, vegan herb cheese, vegan smoky cheddar cheese, vegan baked goat cheese, dairy free cheese

FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige Recipe - Vegan Cheese 5

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Baked Sharp Goat Cheese – Vegan


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Ingredients

  • 1 batch vegan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • Raw honey, for drizzling

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients for basic vegan cheese (except for the water) into a blender or food processor, as well as the lemon juice, nutritional yeast and garlic clove.
  • Blend until smooth, adding the water until a thick, smooth consistency is reached.
  • Spoon into an oven-safe dish and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, drizzle with honey and serve.

Keywords: vegan cheese, cashew cheese, nut cheese, dairy-free, cheese, cheese board, entertaining, vegan herb cheese, vegan smoky cheddar cheese, vegan baked goat cheese, dairy free cheese

FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige Recipe - Vegan Cheese 1

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Herb Cheese – Vegan


Description

  • 1 batch basic vegan cheese
  • ¼ cup finely minced fresh herbs (parsley, dill, basil or tarragon would all be delicious!)

Ingredients

  • Combine the ingredients for basic vegan cheese (except for the water) into a blender or food processor.
  • Blend until smooth, adding the water until a thick, smooth consistency is reached.
  • Transfer to a bowl to chill for a few hours. S
  • hape the cheese into a small log.
  • Sprinkle the herbs onto a piece of parchment paper and roll the cheese logs to coat.

Keywords: vegan cheese, cashew cheese, nut cheese, dairy-free, cheese, cheese board, entertaining, vegan herb cheese, vegan smoky cheddar cheese, vegan baked goat cheese, dairy free cheese

Enjoy, friends!

-Carly Paige

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Simply Swapped Everyday is your guide to elevating the everyday through mindful methods, ingredient swaps and over 75 plant-powered recipes. Cooking healthy foods at home has never been easier or more delicious!

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Hi! I’m Carly Paige, a culinary nutrition expert and chef who believes that healthy doesn’t have to be frustrating, boring or restrictive. I’m here to show you how through my Simply Swapped Method so that you can feel more energized and confident from within. You’ll find tips for focusing on nutrition in the kitchen, along with plant-powered, gluten-free recipes that proves healthy can be delicious.

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