Dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, casein-free cheese… I can tell you how to make some. It actually melts. And it tastes amazing.
It’s totally a thing, I promise. And I’m about to give you the recipe.
I’m not kidding, by the way, about the “tastes amazing” part… My brother, who practically lives off of meat and dairy and is highly skeptical of any foods purporting to be vegan, is addicted to this cheese. No joke. I can’t seem to make it fast enough for him.
I feel the same way. This cheese is great on pizza, lasagna, and even to thicken creamy sauces. My brother eats it cold most of the time. But where it really shines is in grilled cheese sandwiches. Oh, it makes the most delicious grilled cheeses… One of the best things about is that you can throw it face down on a non-stick skillet with a little oil or butter and it doesn’t turn into a sticky mess like normal dairy cheese. Fried a little bit face-down, it gets gooey and melty but with that delicious, crispy skin that tastes like heaven. My open-face vegan grilled cheeses are one of my favorite things ever.
And what’s really fun is that you can play with making many different flavors of cheese – as many as you can dream up. I’ve included some suggested variations but feel free to experiment on your own. Let me know if you come up with a great one!
This cheese is inspired by and loosely adapted from the meltable vegan cheeses in Miyoko Schinner’s fantastic book, Artisan Vegan Cheese. It’s based on my almond-cashew yogurt, which is vegan, paleo, and super easy to make! (Make the yogurt a day ahead of time to allow it to culture and thicken up.)
- 1 cup almond-cashew yogurt
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1½ teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon granulated garlic (optional)
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- 2 teaspoons carrageenan powder*
- ½ teaspoon guar or xanthan gum
- Combine yogurt, water, oil, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder in a blender on high speed. Add the tapioca flour and carrageenan and blend until smooth.
- Pour mixture into a medium saucepan. Whisk in the guar or xanthan gum. Continue to whisk the mixture over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes, until it gets very thick, develops a glossy sheen, and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan when stirring.
- Remove from heat and immediately pour the mixture in a small glass container that will serve as your mold. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for about 2 hours or until cooled and set.
**If you find that you prefer a tangier cheese, you can culture it. Here's how: Blend all ingredients except for tapioca, carrageenan, and gum until smooth, then pour into a glass container, cover and let culture at room temperature for 12-24 hours or until it gets as tangy as you like it. Add the remaining ingredients and proceed with the recipe as directed.
**Garlic Lover's Cheese:
Increase the granulated garlic to ½ teaspoon and add 1 clove of raw garlic.
**Onion & Chive Cheese:
Add two teaspoons of onion powder and 1 tablespoon of dried chives (or 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped chives). Reserve about half of the chives to whisk in after blending if you'd like to see chive pieces in the cheese.
**Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Cheese:
Add 1 clove of garlic, 1½ tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes, and 1½ teaspoons of dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil).
**Pepper Jack Cheese:
Add 3-4 tablespoons of drained, minced, canned jalapenos, decrease the water to 3 tablespoons, increase the tapioca to ⅓ cup, and increase the carrageenan to 1 tablespoon.
**Tangy Cultured Miso Cheese (Cheddar-Style):
Double the nutritional yeast flakes to 3 teaspoons and add 1½ tablespoons of red miso (you can use chickpea miso if you want to keep it soy-free) and ⅛ teaspoon of turmeric (optional, for color). Blend all ingredients except for tapioca, carrageenan, and gum until smooth, then pour into a glass container, cover and let culture at room temperature for 12-24 hours or until it has thickened and tastes tangy. Add the remaining ingredients and proceed with the recipe as directed.