Trying A Few Easy Homemade Vegan Cheese Recipes: I’ll Never Buy These at the Store Again!
In late January, my boyfriend and I attended a nut cheese workshop hosted by Fauxmagerie Zengarry during which we were taught a few easy homemade vegan cheese recipes. And we were both really surprised how “easy” it actually is to make homemade vegan cheese. I guess we were initially intimidated by the idea, having never tried to make our own. But no longer. After learning these recipes, we will never use store-bought vegan cheese again (well, except for convenience and to encourage local vegan cheese makers, obviously!).
Easy Homemade Vegan Cheese Workshop by Zengarry
The Fauxmagerie Zengarry is the brainchild of Lynda Turner, a scientist who also trained in plant-based nutrition with the T. Colin Campbell Foundation through Cornell University. Lynda operates Zengarry from her home in Eastern Ontario, Canada. To share her love of vegan cheese and show people just how easy it is to make vegan cheese, Lynda offers nut cheese workshops in Ottawa and Toronto. Exceptionally, she offered a workshop in Montreal and the response was amazing, it sold out to an excited crowd of vegans and non vegans, all anxious to learn more about making easy homemade vegan cheese.
The workshop is not hands-on, but more of a demonstration format. We were a big group in the Montreal workshop, but we still all were able to taste all the vegan cheeses Lynda showcased, most of which were made on the spot. Most non-fermented cheese recipes took on average 5-10 minutes to make, if you can believe it! What? Cashew cream cheese that tastes amazing, made in only 10 minutes (not counting the soaking time, obviously)? Yes, it’s that easy!
Lynda started the workshop by letting us taste some of her own creations, including what I can only describe as the most amazing vegan blue cheese I’ve ever tasted. Being French Canadian, I grew up with cheese an important part of every meal, usually as its own course. And blue cheese, although not always very accessible to those who taste it for the very first time (it’s very potent), was one of my favorites. I hadn’t had blue cheese since becoming vegan, and I’m not sure I was ever going to taste the sharp, creamy texture, followed by the tingly sensation of the mold as it hits your tongue. Well, I was wrong. As far as I can tell, the Zengarry blue cheese has not hit the market yet, but when it does, it will fly off the shelves in no time. it’s just that good.
During the workshop, we got to taste and learn about making the following:
- Cashew cream cheese
- Cashew and tofu ricotta
- Tofu feta
- Almond parmesan
- Sour cream
- Tzatziki (not a cheese per se, but a yogourt-based Greek sauce)
- Rejuvelac (OK, we did not taste this, we only smelled this liquid that is at the base of any fermented cheese)
- Basic cashew cheese
- Cachew brie
- Artichoke dip
- Brie bites
- Stuffed pasta shells
Homemade Vegan Cheese Recipes: the Miyoko Cookbook
I can understand that making your way to Ontario or Quebec might not be possible (although you’re missing out on an amazing workshop!). So what’s a vegan to do if they wanted to start making their own vegan cheese? My recommendation would be to buy the book Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner. Ask the vegan community online about the best vegan cheese out there, and people are likely to answer “Miyoko”. She sells her own line of vegan cheeses, and also published this book with enough easy homemade vegan cheese recipes to keep you busy for months! Not only is the book a great source of vegan cheese recipes, it also explains some of the basic stuff you need to know, such as what is rejuvelac and why you need to know about this liquid if you want to make fermented cheese. Now a word of warning: this cookbook would not necessarily be a good choice for beginners.
Making my Own Easy Homemade Vegan Cheese
Now the true test after a workshop is making the recipes you learned on your own. And that’s just what my boyfriend and I did a few weekends ago, with, I am proud to say, some pretty awesome results! We decided to make cashew and tofu ricotta, and tofu feta. Not counting the soaking time (for the cashews, and the feta once in the brine), I’d estimate that it took us about 40 minutes to make both recipes… dishes included 😉
Easy Vegan Tzatziki Recipe
I asked Lynda at Fauxmagerie Zengarry if I could share one of her recipes with my blog readers, and she said I could tell you about her easy vegan tzatziki recipe. As mentioned before, tzatziki is not a cheese, but a Greek yogourt-based sauce you can enjoy on baked potatoes, in a vegan souvlaki pita, or with Gardein faux-fish filets.
The tzatziki was part of the non-fermented (almost-instant) recipes we got to experiment during the workshop. We tasted the result after everything was whipped together, and it was already good. But after refrigerating it for a few hours, the flavors really blended together and it is oh so delicious!
This recipe could also be made with soaked cashews for a soy-free version.
- 1 package of firm silken tofu
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pepper to taste
- 1 field cucumber peeled, seeded and grated
- dill or mint, chopped finely (optional)
- Put the tofu, vinegar, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and mix until smooth.
- Add garlic, olive oil, and mix again in the food processor. Transfer the mix in a bowl.
- Grate the cucumber onto several layers of paper towel or a clean dish towel. Once it’s all grated, squeeze the cucumber inside the paper towel to get out as much moisture as you can.
- Add the cucumber to the tofu mixture and mix. I also added the dill at this point. Season with pepper.
- Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before using.
Have fun making your own easy homemade vegan cheese!