It seems as if we have entered what we like to refer to as the Vegan Cheese Renaissance. What does that mean? Essentially, vegan cheese has gotten so good, it is now practically indistinguishable from the real thing. Step into a shop like Riverdel,  an all-vegan cheese shop located just a few blocks away from Brooklyn Museum in NYC, and you’ll find an entire refrigerated section full of vegan cheeses that are counterparts to classic cheeses like mozzarella, Parmesan, and more. Not only that, Making vegan cheese at home is also becoming more common.

Vegan cheese recipes are one of the most popular categories on the Food Monster app, for example. Typically, homemade vegan cheeses are made from almonds and cashews. These American Cheese Slices, for example, are made from raw cashews combined with nutritional yeast, puréed red bell pepper, and aromatic seasoning. Cashews can also be used to make cheesy dips, like this Green Chili Nacho Cheese, where cashews are blended with hot peppers and cayenne pepper. In this Raw Cashew Almond Cheese, the two nuts are blended together to make a cheese that goes perfect on crackers.

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For those of us on a budget, sunflower seeds can get the job done, and it tastes just as good. While cashews have a fairly neutral flavor when blended into vegan cheeses, sunflower seeds have a delicious, subtle, nutty flavor. Check out the recipes below to see what we mean.

Sunflower seeds are extremely cost-effective — for example, one 16-ounce bag of raw sunflower seeds at Trader Joe’s will set you back about $2. That’s enough to make the sunflower seed “ricotta” on this Cauliflower Crust Pizza and then some.

 

Or, if you can stretch your budget, the Cream Cheese recipe below uses half sunflower seeds, half cashews.

Sunflower seeds can also stand in for cashews to make creamy dips, like the tangy dip paired with this Oven-Fried Okra.

Sunflower Seed Cheese on the Market?

We’re not quite there yet, but one Brooklyn-based vegan cheesemaker is working to make it happen with the launch of an entire line of vegan cheeses made from sunflower cheese.

The brilliant mind behind Ché Artisan, a line of sunflower seed-based vegan cheeses, has developed stretchy mozzarella…

…and yes, it shreds. Drool.

What you’re looking at right there is moldy vegan sunflower seed cheese in the stages of development. Oh, yeah. It’s about to get real.

According to their Instagram bio, they’re set to launch in late August. It’s likely that in the beginning, they’ll be local to the NYC area.

But if you live in the NYC area, you’ll often find Ché Artisan selling bagels with sunflower seed cream cheese and carrot lox at pop-up markets like Vegan Market and Vegan Shop-Up.

Now, we want to hear what you think! Have you used sunflower seeds to make vegan cheese? Let us know in the comments below!

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For all your home cooking needs, we also highly recommend you check out our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. Once you download it, you’ll gain immediate access to 500 free recipes. If you upgrade to becoming a subscriber, you’ll be able to browse through over 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes. Give it a try!

Lead image source: Cauliflower Crust Pizza With Sunflower Seed Ricotta