Say cheese! Vegan cheese, that is.
Here at One Green Planet, plant-based cheese is something we like to celebrate eating whenever the mood strikes. There are many varieties of vegan cheeses that are available to purchase, but sometimes we just want to customize our cheese to suit our exact cravings or needs for a particular dish.
While making your own vegan cheese at home might sound like a daunting task, the truth is that it’s actually totally possible — provided you know what basic equipment to have on hand, and what staple ingredients you should be stocking in your pantry. Whether you like smooth, creamy, spreadable cheeses that pair well with hors d’oeuvres like these Baked Jalapeño Poppers, or are more into rich, decadent Spicy Cheese Sauces, the sky is the limit when it comes to making homemade plant-based cheese!
We’ve put together a list of some essentials to help you begin your culinary career as a plant-based cheese-making master. Check out our recommendations below!
USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is 100 percent undiluted and raw. You’ll need raw apple cider vinegar that includes the edible sediment known as “the mother” to make vegan cheese, which this brand does. There are no preservatives, flavors, colors, or any additives of any kind in this brand. Pick up a 16-ounce bottle for $12.95.
NOW Foods Agar Powder
NOW Foods Agar Powder is free of sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, eggs, or preservatives. Agar can be used as a vegetable substitute for gelatin. Dilute 2 tablespoons of Agar Powder in 1 pint of water or fruit juice. Cook for 5 minutes and then add fruit or vegetables. Pour into mold and refrigerate until hard. Buy two ounces for $5.29.
To make vegan cheese, you’ll need a Cheesecloth that can strain the solids from nut milks. Look for the Butter Muslin or Grade 90# variety, as well as an 18-inch square piece of cheesecloth. This pack contains 6 Square Yards of Natural Unbleached Cheesecloth. Buy 54 square feet of this cloth for $13.99.
Vitamix Certified Reconditioned 5300 Blender
High-speed blenders are expensive but they blend together the nuts and seeds required to make many vegan cheeses. This Vitamix Certified Reconditioned 5300 Blender has a 64-ounce low-profile container, a commercial-grade 2.2 horsepower motor, and is backed by a 5-year full warranty and 30-day guarantee. It has speed control features and a pulse feature. Buy one on Amazon for $269.95.
Organic Tapioca Flour
This Organic Tapioca Flour is organic, gluten-free, vegan and kosher. It is a grain-free flour that is made from cassava root. Tapioca flour is used as a thickening agent that produces a stretchy and even gooey texture when it is heated in liquids, so it should be used for different plant-based cheese sauces, dips, and fondue recipes. Buy five pounds of this flour for $19.99.
NOW Foods Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Nutritional yeast is a nonactive form of yeast that has a cheesy flavor and is often used as a vegan cheese sprinkle. NOW Foods Nutritional Yeast Flakes are fortified with additional B vitamins. “This is really good nutritional yeast. It has a mild flavor and no bitterness,” one reviewer wrote. Buy this 10-ounce tub for $8.60.
Stainless Steel All-In-One Saucepan
You will need a non-stick saucepan to make vegan cheeses. This Stainless Steel All-In-One Saucepan boasts a heat-resistant stainless-steel handle, side helper handle, and a tempered glass lid with a steam-release vent and heat-resistant knob. It also features ETERNA, the world’s longest lasting 100 percent PFOA and APEO-free non-stick coating developed in the USA. Buy one for $32.50.
Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag
You will need to use a nut milk bag to strain small particles of solids from your nut, seed, and grain milks. This Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag is BPA-free and food grade certified, and made out of nylon. “I love the lightweight yet sturdy quality of this item!” one reviewer wrote. “I expected it to be thicker or harder to clean it is perfect!” Buy this 12×12-inch nut milk bag for $8.99.
NOW Foods Probiotics
Probiotics are bacteria that act as a health supplement. The powder of probiotics is used as a starter for making cultured vegan cheeses and affects the taste and texture of the cheese. These NOW Foods Probiotics are vegetarian and vegan and they are wheat and gluten-free. Buy 50 capsules for $13.51.
Jiva Organics Raw Organic Cashews
Many nut cheeses are made with cashews. These Jiva Organics Raw Organic Cashews are USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO, raw, gluten free, and vegan friendly. “These are very good and fresh and the thickest nicest cashew milk we have made so far and we have tried just about every other brand,” one reviewer wrote. Buy a 2-pound bag for $21.89.
Healthworks Sunflower Seeds
These Healthworks Sunflower Seeds are raw, pure, no shell, unsalted, all-natural, vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO. Sunflower seeds have Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, and copper, and have a high source of manganese, zinc and phosphorus. They give vegan cheeses a nutty and slightly bitter flavor, and you will have to soak them for 8 hours before blending them. Buy 2 lbs for $10.44.
House Foods, Organic Extra Firm Tofu
Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil
Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil is used as a thickener in many vegan cheese recipes. This brand is Non-GMO Project verified, certified USDA Organic, and kosher. It is neutral in flavor and can be used at medium-high heat for everyday cooking, and can also be used for skin or hair care. You can pick up a 14-ounce jar for $8.99.
Get It Right Premium Silicone Mini Spatula
Silicone spatulas are heat resistant and make it easier to get your vegan cheese mixtures out of their containers or blenders. The Get It Right Premium Silicone Mini Spatula is heat resistant up to 550 degrees F and nonstick safe. It is BPA, BPS, and phthalate free and has a 100 percent lifetime guarantee. Buy it for $12.98.
Make Your Own!
If you want to get started on your vegan cheese making journey, there’s no better place to start than on the Food Monster App. Are you someone who appreciates lots of garlicky notes in your morning bagel? Then this Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Cream Cheez by Annie Oliverio is perfect for you. Throwing a party? Then take our your crackers and dip them into this Cashew Brie by Hailee Repko. The Decadent Baked Herb-Crusted Cashew Almond Cheese pictured above by Meredith Youngson is also a delicious choice. There are so many plant-based cheeses that will knock your socks off.
If you’re interested in finding some more scrumptious vegan recipes, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Decadent Baked Herb-Crusted Cashew Almond Cheese