Simple Vegan Slicing and Pizza Cheeses; Veganuary Made Easier
But getting back to the positive side of things, we thought we'd share with you a couple of our vegan cheese-making adventures, since cheese is one of those flavours and textures the newly-vegan (and also ex-cheese lovers like me who have been vegan for years!) miss the most. Since bought vegan cheeses are inevitably weird-tasting, nutritionally almost empty, really expensive, or all three of those things making your own plant-based cheeses should probably be on every vegan's to- do list. To make it even simpler for our readers, I looked around the internet, where there is a bewildering array of cooked vegan cheese recipes. Sure, we have our own raw vegan soft/ sauce cheese recipes (see here and here for a couple of them), but every once in a while you might want a cheese you can slice or melt. Something you can make with ingredients you either already have or can get easily to use in sandwiches, pizzas etc. I narrowed down the possibilities and adapted three recipes to make two cheeses for just such uses. They are simple and fairly quick to make.
When I share with you my own memory of a past disappointment with home made vegan cheese back in the 80's on my first venture into veganism, you'll see why I've bothered. In those days you couldn't buy vegan cheeses anywhere, so I was super-excited to find a recipe for a sliceable vegan cheese. It was based on hard vegan kosher margarine, yeast extract and soya flour. I followed the instructions eagerly but the result was disappointingly grainy, oily and not much like cheese at all! Hungry and hopeful as I was, I had to throw it away. I want to make sure nobody else ever has to go through that...
|Just about sliceable, this cheese is really delicious on crackers|
- 1 cup cashews
- 6 tabs lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil*
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 dsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp miso
- A pinch of hing
- 4 tabs tapioca starch
- 1 cup water
- 3 1/2 teaspoons agar flakes/ powder
|It's also good in a jacket potato, but although it softens and loses its shape it does not truly melt.|
|I was impressed with just how much like mozzarella these cheesey balls look and feel!|
Vegan mozzarella/ pizza cheese balls:
- Put everything into a blender (preferably high speed) until as smooth as possible.
- Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. The cheese will thicken a lot and start pulling away from the bottom and sides of the pan. you'll see what I mean when you try it.
- Have ready a large bowl full of ice-cold water, in which about a tablespoon of salt has been dissolved. I tested whether or not the cheese was ready rather like the test for jam: I dropped a little into the water and saw if it solidified.
- Using an icecream scoop, make balls of the cheese and put into the bowl of salty water. You can tidy up their shape with damp hands. I made about 15 balls. Keep them in the water in the fridge until needed.