Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adventures in Vegan Cheese Making: Vegan Cashew Cheese Ball:


While making this "cheese," I set out to achieve that sour, cheesy flavor. It worked. To me, this cheese tastes a little like goat cheese, but with a little bit of a softer texture. This recipe would be perfect for a cheese plate at your next party (and it's totally acceptable to enjoy it all to yourself). 

Also, don't fret if you don't have a cheesecloth. You can always put it in a jar and eat it how you would any other cashew cheese. You don't even have to let it sit out overnight if you don't want to. The sauerkraut starter will still lend a sour flavor.

After letting the cheese sit out overnight, I placed it in the fridge for a few hours, and then I shaped it into a ball and rolled it in sesame seeds, fresh parsley, and a little bit of orange zest.

Needless to day, after taking these pictures, I quickly gobbled up half of this cheese with some cucumbers. It was a nice, healthy snack that made me happy. Hope it makes you happy as well!

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour 
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 to 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. coconut oil (you can use canola oil as well)
1 1/2 tbsp. sauerkraut starter (the juice from raw sauerkraut)*
2 tsp. sesame tahini
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt 
Dash of smoked paprika
Dried herbs (optional, to taste)

Toppings for the Cheese Ball:

2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. orange zest (or more)

You will also need:

A cheese cloth
A strainer
A medium bowl

Instructions

1. Soak the raw cashews in water for at least an hour. Add the garlic to your food processor, and process it for 30 seconds.

2. Once the cashews are done soaking, drain them, and add them to your processor. Next, add the nutritional yeast, coconut oil, sauerkraut starter, tahini, salt, and paprika. Pulse for a few seconds.

3. Next, add half of the water and process it for about a minute. Scrape down the sides of the food processor (if necessary), and add the remaining water. Process the mixture until it's smooth and very creamy, with no clumps.

4. Once the "cheese" mixture is made, spoon the mixture into a cheesecloth, and tie it (either with twine or just tie it in a knot). Place the cheesecloth in a strainer over a medium-sized bowl (the cheese won't drain much, but you will want the bowl to catch the liquid that does drain out).

5. Place a small plate over the cheese/cheesecloth, and let it sit out on the counter for about 18 hours - or longer for a more sour cheese. Wrap the cheese in aluminum foil, and place it in the fridge for at least an hour.You can then roll it in the sesame seeds, chopped parsley, and orange zest. Serve with crackers, cucumbers, or whatever else you can think of.

NOTE: *you can use lemon juice in place of the sauerkraut starter, but the starter will give the cheese more of that sour flavor. 

4 comments:

  1. Great stuff! Wish you could cook at my house!

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  2. This looks so impressive! I don't actually like regular cheese (never have) so have never felt tempted to try making a vegan version. However, I keep seeing these really impressive products and kind of want to try just for the sake of it. Maybe :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank Kari. :) I was addicted to cheese before I gave it up, but now I really have no desire to eat it. It's just fun to make, and my readers seem to love it. The cool thing is that, once you have a basic understanding of the ingredients, you can tailor the "cheeses" to any flavor you'd like. You should try a basic cashew cheese recipe. It has a sweeter taste and goes really well with salty crackers. (It doesn't taste much like cheese. It just has a creamy texture).

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