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Vegan fresh cheese recipe

Vegan fresh cheese recipe

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An easy to make vegan nut cheese made from raw cashew nuts. Look for the harder to find ingredients online or in health food shops.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 150g raw cashew nuts
  • 375ml water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agar agar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sour tapioca starch (see footnote)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:10min ›Extra time:12hr › Ready in:12hr20min

  1. Soak the cashews in water overnight. Drain well.
  2. Place the cashews in a food processor with 375ml fresh water. Blend till smooth, then add all remaining ingredients and process till well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and place over low heat. Heat through, stirring constantly, till thickened and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then pour into a glass bowl. Level and press down the cheese with the back of a spoon.
  4. Cover and chill in the fridge for 4 hours. To serve, invert onto a serving plate and cut into slices.


Sour tapioca starch is a popular ingredient in Brazil, called polvilho azedo. It adds body and flavour to this recipe, but you can use cornflour instead if you can't find it.

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Vegan Cotija Cheese

Hey Internet, have you ever heard of Cotija? It’s a dry aged cheese, kind of like Parmesan, that’s often crumbled and served atop Elote (Mexican street corn) or Esquites (Mexican corn salad). Honestly, I can see myself putting it on pasta though because it’s just really good.

Perhaps more importantly, it’s really easy and quick, and it only takes a few ingredients to make.

I didn’t even intend to create a recipe for vegan cotija, but my husband convinced me to, since we are in fact also putting out a esquites recipe later this summer, and we might think of other uses for it.

Actually, I bet it would also be great in tacos, on tostadas, and more, so I’m definitely going to have to experiment.

I also thought I might be able to find a vegan cotija in the store, but I wasn’t. Not even at that really expensive health foods store a little ways away from me. Dang.

But I did some reading on the origins, culturing, and flavors of cotija and I think I got it.

The base is sunflower seeds, plus just a few common spices. The sunflower seeds are also easy to substitute if you don’t have them, so let’s just get into the recipe.

Sprouted Sunflower Cheese Recipe

Easy recipe for a raw vegan cheese made from sunflower seeds. Sunflower cheese slices, grates and melts so you can use it in place of regular cheese in most recipes. Heart-healthy cheese that tastes great, is cheap to make and doesn’t take long – what isn’t there to love about this recipe? This seed cheese is one of my staples that I often have a batch of in the fridge.

I use fresh garlic and onion as these are widely available and have the most nutrients. You can replace with garlic and onion powder if you prefer, about tsp of each gives the same flavour.

Turmeric gives the sunflower cheddar a bright yellow colour and adds valuable nutrients. You really don’t taste the turmeric in this recipe so do add it even if you don’t like the taste. As it’s mainly sunflower seeds in this vegan cheese it is grey without at least a pinch of turmeric.

The natural and heart-healthy fats in the sunflower seeds are great for giving optimum absorption of the turmeric goodness.

This is a quick and easy vegan cheese recipe as it isn’t fermented so it can be made in a few minutes and sets quickly.

In the sunflower cheese recipe I usually double the amount of cayenne pepper as I like a bit of a kick. Also you may want to add half a tsp of salt into the recipe, I tend to just have the saltiness from the miso but some might find it a bit bland without it.

The miso is just to give the salty and umami flavour to this vegan seed cheese. Miso paste is added after cooking so that none of the nutrients are destroyed. If you can use fresh unpasteurised live miso as it’s the most nutritious. It works great without miso if you don’t have any – just add some salt instead.

Sunflower vegan cheese is great on a cheese board along with smoked cashew cheese and pistachio cheese. If you are allergic to nuts or on a budget this seed cheese recipe is perfect!

This vegan cheese can be frozen if you like. I recommend to freeze in wedges and enjoy within 3 months. Just defrost at room temperature for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.

I often call this a vegan sunflower cheddar as it has a mild cheesy taste similar to the popular cheddar. Some may not like calling this vegan Cheddar but I actually live next to Cheddar in Somerset so this vegan cheese is way more cheddar than most cheddar cheese!

This vegan “cheese” uses sunflower seeds as the base. This means that it is significantly cheaper than using nuts such as macadamia or cashew. It’s actually raw as most sunflower seeds will sprout whereas most nuts will not.

The agar agar is cooked in this recipe, but this is just the thickening agent and nutritionally void. The rest is raw and all the nutrients of the seeds and other ingredients are intact so I would still consider this a raw dish, but some purists raw foodists may disagree.

This is a sprouted sunflower seed cheese as the seeds are soaked in water to start to germinate and activate. It makes it much easier for the body to digest all of the goodness.

A Visit with the Queen of Vegan Cheese, Miyoko Schinner

In our latest Chow-To episode, senior video producer Guillermo Riveros visits the queen of vegan cheese, Miyoko Schinner. Watch and learn how to make vegan cheese at home take a virtual tour of Miyoko’s factory and her animal sanctuary (both located in Petaluma, California) and learn a bit about the dire state of the dairy industry and the promise of the plant-based economy.

As plant-based eating grows ever more popular, we’re seeing more and more animal-free products on shelves, from the Impossible Burger to multiple brands of vegan cheese. But when Miyoko Schinner first went vegan, that was definitely not the case.

Miyoko Schinner’s animal sanctuary is home to pigs, cows, goats, sheep, and geese (Chowhound)

Miyoko’s Creamery: Where Love of Cheese & Love of Animals Converge

A vegetarian since the age of 12 (a choice she made based on her abiding love for animals), Schinner decided to go fully vegan after learning more about the dairy industry while she adored cheese, she couldn’t support its manufacture. Even small farms that truly care about animal welfare can’t ultimately have the cows’ best interests at heart (because there’s always the bottom line, after all).

Luckily, Schinner also loves a challenge, so she set about learning how to make vegan cheese that tasted delicious, and she’s been perfecting the art since the 1980s. In 2012, she wrote a book on vegan cheese, with recipes that use various non-dairy ingredients including nuts and plant-based milks.

Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner, $9.95 on Amazon

Check it out for even more intel and tips.

When she started her company, Miyoko’s Creamery, she was making small 40-pound batches of cheese, but demand quickly outstripped supply—they went online on a Friday and by Monday had $50K worth of orders. Since then, she and her team have had to solve the problem of scaling up production, but remember: she loves a challenge.

And people love her vegan cheese.

It comes in an array of sophisticated flavors like Double Cream Chive, Rustic Alpine, Black Ash, and Smoked Farmhouse there’s also vegan cream cheese and cheddar-y vegan cheese spread.

Miyoko’s vegan cheese (courtesy of Miyoko’s)

So what’s the secret to its appeal?

It’s All About the Fermentation

There are several ways to make vegan cheese, but it achieves its true glory through the magic of fermentation. The cashew cheese recipe Schinner shared with us includes both sauerkraut brine and miso paste (both packed with probiotics and good bacteria), and the mixture sits for at least 24 hours in a warm place. In that time, the pH drops and the smooth blend gets more acidic, cheesier, and thicker. Nutritional yeast also contributes to the cheesy umami flavor.

Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes, 1 lb for $12.99 on Amazon

An essential ingredient for vegan cheese dishes.

Muso From Japan Light Sweet Miso, $4.80 on Amazon

If you have trouble finishing big tubs of miso, this smaller size is handy.

Miyoko’s Vegan Cheese Recipe

This very basic vegan cheese is a delicious starting point for your own creations, but it also tastes great as-is. You can experiment with how long you let it age (up to several weeks in the fridge after the initial fermentation), as well as try different mix-ins (like mushrooms, chives, or garlic), or even coat it in various spices or herbs while it cures. If you have a set-up for cold smoking, you might try that too.

Miyoko's Basic Vegan Cheese

  • 2 cups cashews
  • enough water to cover cashews
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut juice
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • pinch sea salt
  1. Soak cashews for at least 2 hours in water, then drain thoroughly.
  2. Combine drained nuts, sauerkraut juice, nutritional yeast, miso, and sea salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a covered container and let ferment somewhere warm for at least 24 hours.

Pyrex Container Set, $33.59 on Amazon

Any lidded container, like a Pyrex bowl, will work as a fermenting vessel for your vegan cheese.

Vegan Cheese On the Rise

There’s no denying that plant-based eating is becoming more mainstream—for reasons ranging from health and environmental concerns to personal politics.

While the dairy industry is in decline, with plummeting milk prices, gargantuan stockpiles of unsold cheese, and small farm closures all too common, Schinner does not see the plant-based economy as the enemy. Rather, she believes it’s not only more compassionate to animals, but to farmers too. Existing production facilities can, in theory, be converted to produce plant-based products that consumers want, and land currently devoted to raising cows can be used to grow ingredients for those products.

She supports all up-and-coming plant-based ventures, too, rather than seeing them as competition—because, as she says, the only way to effect real change is to work together, and that includes growing the category of earth and animal-friendly dairy alternatives.

Learn more about making vegan cheese in various styles, and check out some of our favorite vegan cookbooks too.

Vegan Cheese

This oozy, gooey vegan cheese sauce is just as good as the real thing! Versatile and easy to make, it's delicious on pasta, nachos, and more.

You don’t have to be vegan to fall for this vegan cheese recipe! It’s creamy, tangy, and rich, with a crave-worthy oozy texture just like that of dairy-based cheese sauce. Even Jack – the biggest real cheese lover I know – adores this recipe. Last time I made it, we stood at the counter, scooping it up with tortilla chips. We only got halfway through the first batch before we decided to make a second. Yep, it’s that good!

Serve this vegan cheese as a dip with tortilla chips or fresh veggies, toss it with pasta to make vegan mac and cheese, top it onto a baked potato, or drizzle it over chips to make a vegan nacho platter. Once you have it on hand, you’ll find endless ways to use it, and you won’t be able to get enough!

Vegan Cheese Recipe Ingredients

This dairy-free cheese is not only delicious – it’s good for you, too! Unlike processed vegan cheese that you might find at grocery stores, it’s made of a short list of whole foods ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Yukon gold potatoes and cashews – They’re the key ingredients for giving vegan cheese recipes oozy, creamy texture.
  • Sweet potatoes – You couldn’t make a cheddar-style cheese sauce without an orange ingredient! Sweet potato gives this recipe its vibrant color, and it adds a light sweetness that’s delicious with the rich, tangy flavors here.
  • Nutritional yeast – It gives this dairy-free cheese the nutty, savory flavor of the real thing!
  • Garlic and onion powder – They add delicious depth of flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar – It gives this vegan cheese a bright, tangy finish. Yum!

To make this cashew cheese recipe, start by boiling the potatoes. When they’re tender, transfer them to a high-speed blender. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, cashews, and vinegar, along with water, extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, adding more liquid as needed. Then, enjoy!

Best Vegan Cheese Variations

Though I love this recipe as written, I also like to change it up from time to time. Here are a few of my favorite variations:

  • Change the veggies. If you don’t have sweet potato on hand, swap in carrots or butternut squash.
  • Make it smoky. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, to taste. I love to serve this variation as a loaded queso dip with guac, pico de gallo, and black beans!
  • Spice it up. For extra heat, blend a tablespoon of pickled jalapeños or a chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo into the cheese.

Let me know what variations you try!

More Plant-Based Basics

If you love this vegan cheese recipe, try one of these plant-based basics next:

Recipe FAQ

The easiest way by far is to pipe the filling into the cannelloni tubes using a piping bag. You don’t need to add a piping tip, you just need to fill the piping bag with the tofu ricotta filling and then pipe it into the cannelloni tubes.

If you can get hold of gluten free cannellloni tubes then sure! For the vegan cheese sauce you can make it gluten free by using a gluten free all purpose flour blend in place of the regular flour.

You could make the tofu ricotta and the vegan cheese sauce up to 2 days in advance. Let the cheese sauce cool and then refrigerate. Then assemble and bake when you’re ready.

Leftovers keep very well in the fridge for 3-4 days and can be reheated in the microwave.

You can assemble your cannelloni and then freeze before baking, and then when you’re ready add a few extra minutes of baking time. Or you can freeze the baked cannelloni. Let it cool completely and then freeze for up to 2 months.

Dairy-Free Goat Cheese Alternative that will even Impress Naysayers

Many years ago, there was a wonderful little bakeshop called C’est La Vegan. The store’s founder, Kim, created beautiful treats like this Vegan Strawberry Tart. But she also knew her way around savory dishes. This dairy-free goat cheese alternative was one of her more popular recipes, which made the rounds on the internet. She was kind enough to share it with us back then, and today we’re giving the recipe a big refresh with some more options.

It’s a wonderfully flavorful and rich vegan “goat cheese” that can be enjoyed simply as a spread, crumbled on salads, or used in recipes. Since it’s nut-based and contains no additives, it holds up rather well when baked, or even stirred into sauces.


Vegan cheese is made from components derived from plant- based floods such as starchy vegetables, nuts,legumes and seeds.

Today we are using sunflower seeds to make our vegan cheese.

Why vegan?
Many people who are used to eating real cheese find it difficult to leave it despite learning how dangerous it is to health.To help them through the transition, we bring up these healthy alternatives. This one is not only healthy but it is also cheap.

If you’re one of them, just know that you can do without real cheese. You don’t need what your body craves for. Real cheese is harmful for your health. I want to remind you that this cheese doesn’t taste like the real one.

This vegan sunflower seeds cheese is very easy to make.All you need is to soak your sunflower seeds for approximately 2 hours . It can be sliced or grated and can be enjoyed on pizza ,bread ,crackers e.t.c

Agar Agar in this recipe is used vegan gelatin, thickening agent. Agar Agar can be substituted with tapiaco or cornstarch although they don’t have same results. Your vegan cheese will come out stretchy.You can give it a try and see the outcome.

If you don’t have any of these , just make it to be a cheese sauce which is made by just blending all the ingredients until they are smooth without adding any thickening agent.

In place of peanut butter you can use miso paste or olives or olives water.

Nutritional yeast is one of the main ingredient in many vegan cheeses because of its cheesy flavour. It is very essential in vegan cheese that is made with legumes. I tried some nuts and seeds vegan cheese without adding nutritional yeast and the taste was just perfect. I think its because nuts and seeds taste nice on their own. So worry not if you don’t have it , your vegan cheese will taste just fine.

½ cup of sunflower soaked seeds
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (optional)
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of Agar Agar powder
A pinch of turmeric
1 teaspoon of onion powder
2 gloves of fresh garlic
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, optional
½ teaspoon of black salt .( Any salt will do)

⭕Soak the sunflower seeds in water for at least 2 hours or overnight.
⭕Drain the seeds and place the seeds in a blender. Divide 1 cup of water into 2 portions ( keep the rest to mix with Agar Agar powder).
⭕Add the rest of the ingredients except Agar Agar and the remaining ½ cup of water. Blend till smooth.

Pause the blender and make the thickening agent.
⭕In a small pot mix Agar Agar with the remaining water until they dissolve.

Bring Agar Agar mixture to boil and let it summer for 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent any sticking at the bottom.

Remove the pot from heat and pour the Agar Agar mixture into the sunflower seeds mixture in the blender. Blend again for few seconds until everything is well combined.

Prepare a dish big enough to contain all your mixture , coat it with oil and pour the mixture. Place in the refrigerator for an hour or 2 to set.

Once it’s set, you can slice or grate and enjoy with anything your heart desires. Keep refrigerating up to 7 days.

More Essential Notes & Tips for Dairy-Free Yogurt Cheese

It’s Light & Spreadable. The consistency of this dairy-free yogurt cheese is like a whipped cream cheese. It’s thicker than Greek yogurt, but not quite as thick as traditional cream cheese.

It’s Versatile. This vegan yogurt cheese is very lightly tangy with a very pleasant, mellow taste. I used Silk’s Plain AlmondMilk Yogurt, which does impart a hint of sweetness. I was still able to use it in a couple of savory dishes, but it is best suited to spooning, spreading, complimenting fruit, or using in a sweet recipe.

The Brand Matters. As mentioned above, this dairy-free yogurt cheese recipe won’t work with any old dairy-free yogurt alternative. Silk AlmondMilk Yogurt Alternative is the only one I’ve had success with to date. I’m pretty sure it’s because they don’t use any gums for thickening. And they don’t need it! Their yogurt has a perfect, creamy, thick, spoonable consistency.

Savor the Flavors. For rich, sweetly flavored spreads, Silk AlmondMilk Yogurt Alternative also comes in Vanilla, Peach, Strawberry, and Dark Chocolate Coconut (my favorite!). These should all work well for making different flavors of this whipped cream cheese-like spread.

Patience is a Virtue. After 12 hours, it will look noticeably thicker, and you might be tempted to remove it from the cheesecloth. At this stage, it’s like Greek yogurt in thickness, and will still be a bit too sticky. Let it rest for that full 24 hours. It should firm up just enough for you to flip it onto a plate and gently peel away the cheesecloth without losing much of the creamy goodness. See the before and after of the dairy-free yogurt alternative to yogurt cheese disk transformation below.

Plant-Based Vegan Starter Kits $27

Wow! I just made this cheese sauce and it is by far the best. I just made a scrumptious dinner. I lined a dinner plate with fresh spinach then I put boiled baby potatoes and broccoli on top of the spinach then poured this cheese sauce all over. MAN OH MAN

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

That's awesome! I hope it will be a new favorite. We love this stuff too.

Friday 7th of September 2018

I cannot locate the entire recipes for each of the 4 vegan cheeses. Please help. They sound delicious. Is there someplace where I can see and print out the exact recipes? Please advise

Saturday 8th of September 2018

Yes, each of the 4 recipes can be found by clicking on their name or picture in this article. This will take you to each recipe where you will be able to see and print out ingredients and instructions. Enjoy!

Terri Edwards

Terri Edwards is the blogger behind EatPlant-Based, a licensed Food for Life instructor with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and a plant-based writer and speaker. Read More&hellip