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These days, more and more mainstream restaurants are offering vegan cheese options to their hungry patrons. But did you know you can make your own vegan cheese right at home? It might not be as hard as you think to create a cheesy masterpiece, and you might find it to be even more flavourful than the dairy version.

These talented, all-female recipe developers, bloggers, cookbook authors and chefs have created some magnificent vegan cheese recipes that stretch, melt and taste great. Each one uses healthy ingredients that are good for your body and your soul. So whether you choose to avoid cheese because you know the truth about the dairy industry, you’re lactose intolerant or just want to be a bit more health-conscious, you’re in for a tasty treat with these plant-based cheese recipes.

1. Low-fat Vegan Cheese Sauce

The mastermind behind Oh She Glows, Angela Liddon, is famous for her healthy plant-based recipes and cookbooks. This delicious cheese sauce definitely lives up to her standards of excellence, and is perfect poured over fresh noodles or steamed veggies like broccoli or cauliflower. Liddon uses simple, easy-to-find ingredients, including almond milk, flour, mustard and spices — and you don’t need a food processor; just a whisk and stovetop. The result is a smooth and buttery topping that will have all your guests asking for seconds.

2. Smoked Coconut Gouda

It took recipe developer Somer McCowan six attempts to perfect this original smoked coconut gouda, and it was worth it. Her recipe includes a full can of coconut milk, dry pectin (so the cheese can melt and stretch), liquid smoke and nutritional yeast. The end result is a delicious cheese that can be grated over your favourite meal. You’ll need a power blender or food processor and may need to visit your local health food store for the ingredients that are harder to find.

3. Sunny Hemp Cheeze

Canadian chef Natasha Condie is the founder of Plates for Plants, a vegan and gluten-free blog that aims to put an original twist to traditional recipes and make them healthier. The hemp seeds from this cheese are packed with healthy fats that make a great dairy alternative. And not only are the cashews optional (the recipe’s still delicious without them and holds it’s rich texture), but the creamy sunflower and hemp seed spread also uses sun-dried tomatoes for a unique and appealing flavour. You’ll have no trouble eating the whole batch immediately.

4. Vegan Shredded Cheese 

If you’ve ever dreamed that potatoes could be used to create cheese, this is the recipe you’ve been waiting for. Leanne Vogel is the mastermind behind the Healthful Pursuit website, and she uses shredded sweet potato and baking potato to create this outstanding cheese. This recipe is a wonderful alternative to store brands, and is perfect in casseroles, pizza and mac and cheese. Aside from being dairy-free, this recipe is also nut-free and gluten-free

5. Spicy Vegan Pimento Cheese Ball

Dana Shultz, cookbook author and the recipe developer behind the Minimalist Baker, is devoted to cooking with 10 ingredients or less. Like her other recipes, this spicy pimento cheese ball can be created with 10 ingredients, including two cups of raw cashews that you soak overnight, minced garlic cloves and pimento peppers. You will, however, need a food processor or blender, a fine mesh strainer and a cheesecloth to make it. Serve it as a dip with tortilla chips or spread it over crackers for an appetizing snack.

6. Vegan Parmesan Cheese

This tasty vegan Parmesan cheese recipe created by Richa Hingle is posted on her popular blog, Vegan Richa. In the recipe, she uses a variety of healthy nuts (cashews, almonds and pecans) that she pulses to a fine meal in a food processor, and then adds in tangy flavours, including ground mustard and lime zest. Like many vegan cheese recipes, nutritional yeast is also needed. The result is an invigorating cheese topping that can be sprinkled on your favourite meal or snack.

7. Garlic And Herb Vegan Cheese

Another masterpiece by Dana Shultz is her garlic and herb delicacy, whipped to perfection with only eight ingredients. She suggests adding the finished product as a dollop on top of soups, pastas, salads or spreading it on crackers as a snack. Like other recipes using cashews in place of dairy, they need to be soaked overnight and later wrapped in a cheesecloth. The creamy, soft cheese would make the perfect appetizer for your dinner party, and like all the recipes listed here, your guests definitely don’t need to be vegan to enjoy them — they just need to have an appreciation for tasty cheese.

Bon appetite!