The first thing I did when I decided to be vegan was curl up in a little ball and tremble with the thought of never having cheese again. How would I eat my favorite salads without the nutty, fermentiness of cheese! Thankfully, the notion of giving up cheese was soon placated by a very informative article on One Green Planet. After several tries with several different (exorbitantly-priced) cheese, I began to realize finding a vegan cheese that would replace the vibrant flavor of goat cheese was going to be an insurmountable feat. And so I took out my beaker and lab coat (ok, it was more like a bowl and apron) and ended up with a cheese that wasn't at all like my beloved goat cheese -- it was far, far more flavorful. And let's not forget the almond's LDL cholesterol lowering abilities and it's insulin moderating power.
Simple Salad With Lemony Almond Cheese [Vegan]
1 salad and 1 round of cheese
- 1 c. blanched almonds
- 1 t. sweet miso paste
- The contents of one probiotic capsule
- 1/4 t. dulse
- Nutritional yeast (optional)
- Any mild leafy green
- Tomatoes (use grape tomatoes or chop regular ones)
- Chopped onions
- A drizzle of lemon juice and/or the zest of one lemon (optional)
- Put the almonds in a food processor and process with just barely enough water to make it smooth.
- While processing, add the dulse, miso paste and the contents of one probiotic capsule. If you would like, you can add a dash of nutritional yeast as well.
- Transfer paste to a cheesecloth-lined strainer. I like to place the cheesecloth in a fine mesh sieve and put that over a bowl to catch the water that drips out.
- Much like yogurt, the cheese needs time to culture. Place the bowl in a warm location overnight. I used the inside of my gas stove.
- After about 12 hours, smell and taste the cheese. Does it smell slightly cheesy and taste fermented enough? If it does, you're done. Wrap up in cheesecloth, shape the cheese into whatever shape you want and put it in the fridge to ripen. If it doesn't, put it back in the warm place for awhile.
- Assemble the veggies into a salad and crumble the cheese over the top.
Do not use any metal during this process. I overlooked the science the first time I made this and ended up with rancid cheese.