Going dairy-free or enjoying a vegan diet doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the flavors of cheese! While not exactly like cheese, this easy almond milk cheese makes a tasty alternative.
It's got the flavors of vegan cheddar cheese and goes perfectly with a glass of wine or used in your favorite recipes made with cheese.
Two foods are hard to live without - bread and cheese. Add a glass of wine, which is heaven for most of us!
So how can you manage a vegan diet without cheese? You make it yourself!!
The vegan cheese market has improved over the past few years, but nothing beats the taste of homemade "nut" cheese.
Serve this homemade vegan cheese on a platter for guests to snack on! It also works great in this Vegan Roasted Shiitake BLT with Cheddar Cheese.
💚 Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Flexible recipe. Use another variety of nut or grain milk to make cheese, but almond milk is a favorite.
- A tasty way to reduce the dairy you eat daily.
- Serve it up in various recipes, or enjoy it on its own!
Making almond milk cheese isn't hard, but it uses a few ingredients you may not be as familiar with. Let's take a look at the highlights.
- Almond milk: I highly recommend making your own nut milk, but if you are short on time, you can use store-bought nut milk. My favorite is the Pacific Foods brand, but the 365 Whole Foods brand works well, also. You can also make this with cashew milk with great results.
- Thickener: We combine agar flakes and arrowroot flour to make this vegan cheddar cheese. The agar flakes will make it firm, while the arrowroot will give it a creamier consistency. These can be found online or in many eco-friendly grocery stores or markets. Cornstarch is an easy swap for arrowroot flour; you can use pectin powder instead of agar.
- Chickpea flour: Gives the cheese its structure. You can find it in many large grocery stores or health markets, but you can also use tapioca or cassava flour instead.
- Nutritional yeast flakes: This ingredient will give the mixture its cheesy flavor and a bit of color.
- Canola oil: It's a great neutral flavored oil for making cheese. You can swap it with another oil, such as olive oil, but it mustn't have any flavor.
- Brown rice vinegar: A mild vinegar that gives vegan cheddar cheese a bit of tang, similar to regular cheese. You can swap this with apple cider vinegar if you don't have it.
- Spices: Sea salt and garlic powder will flavor the vegan cheese.
🤔 What is Agar Agar?
Agar agar is a plant-based gelatin that's derived from seaweed. In stores, it is usually sold in flakes or powder. It is used by vegans as a thickening and gelling agent. It thickens more than other plant-based ingredients making food firmer, similar to Jell-O.
It's often available in health food and Asian specialty stores. In supermarkets, it is often packaged by packaged sea vegetables such as Kombu and Wakame.
TOP TIP: This vegan cheese recipe is based on using agar flakes, but if you only have powder, use less. According to VegFAQs, the powder is more potent but is the same thing, just in a different form. I suggest using between 2-3 tablespoons of the powder if using it instead of the flakes.
Here are a few of my favorites if you're looking for more ways to flavor your vegan cheddar cheese. Add these to the cheese mixture at the end of the final cooking time before pouring it into your mold.
- Smoked vegan cheddar cheese: Add some smoked paprika or liquid smoke to the mixture.
- Heat or spiciness: Add red pepper flakes or cayenne in the desired amount.
- Herbs: Turn it into a vegan herb cheese with any combination of fresh herbs such as dill, rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
- Umami: For savory flavors, add a mellow white miso.
- Extra cheesy flavor: Add more nutritional yeast to achieve the desired level of cheesiness.
- Want more yellow-orange color? Add turmeric until you reach the desired color.
- Pepperjack cheese: Add diced jalapenos or another favorite chile.
✅ How to Make Almond Milk Cheese
- Strain and rinse soaked almonds. Place in a high-speed blender with 4 cups water and process for 90 seconds.
- Pour the mixture through a nut milk bag into a measuring cup to remove the pulp. Set aside the pulp for other uses.
- Heat two cups of almond milk and the agar to a boil in a medium pot. Once it boils, reduce the heat, and cook for five minutes.
- Combine the arrowroot, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Mix the remaining cup of almond milk, oil, and vinegar in a small container and whisk into the dry ingredients.
- Add the flour and arrowroot blend to the agar mixture and cook on low heat for 3 – 5 minutes until it has thickened.
- Pour into silicone molds (or scoop) and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
❄️ How to Store
Making vegan cheese with almond milk is perfect for making large batches for meal prep.
- Refrigerator: Store in the fridge for up to five days.
- Freezer: Wrap it well and store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When you need cheese again, defrost it for one hour in the refrigerator, and you are ready to enjoy!
🍽️ How to Serve and Use Leftovers
- Keep things simple and serve it with your favorite crackers or bread.
- Spread it on a toasted bagel or toast for a quick breakfast.
- It works great on sandwiches or wraps.
- Serve it, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkle with some fresh chopped herbs or your favorite seasoning blend.
- Enjoy it with some grapes and pretzels for a healthy snack.
- Add it to your favorite burrito and plant-based tacos.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips and FAQs
- If you use store-bought almond milk, you will need three cups to make one batch of vegan cheese.
- Save time for later and make a double batch.
- Watch closely as your vegan cheddar cheese cooks and stir to keep it from burning.
Yes, it does! But when looking for vegan cheese, I recommend managing your expectations a bit. You won't find vegan cheeses that match the flavors similar to - Manchego, Smoked Truffle Gouda, Creamy Brie, or Drunken Goat Cheese.
It's best to be open to a new taste experience as the texture and flavor are slightly different. Also, it's more difficult to achieve the variety of flavors you see in most natural cheese. This vegan cheese is firm enough to slice but soft enough to mash into a piece of bread.
No worries if you don't have a Silpat mold. You can pour the mixture into a heat-proof glass dish, refrigerate for 30 minutes, slice and serve.
Yes, you can! For best results, freeze the vegan cheese for about 15 minutes and then shred it. After shredding, keep it in a cold place in the fridge or the freezer.
➕ More Vegan Appetizer Recipes
If you made this recipe, please leave a star 🌟 rating on the recipe card right below! You can also drop a review in the comment section. Your feedback is appreciated! And don’t forget to tag @themindfulfork so we can see your creations.
Vegan Cheddar Almond Milk Cheese
- 1 cups almonds soaked overnight
- 3 cups water
- 6 tablespoons agar flakes
- 6 tablespoons arrowroot
- 3 tablespoons chickpea flour
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- ¼ cup neutral oil canola
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Strain and rinse almonds. Place in a blender with 3 cups of water and process on high speed for 90 seconds.
- Squeeze through a nut milk bag and into a measure cup to remove almond meal. Set aside to reuse in another recipe.
- In a medium pot, add 2 cups almond milk and agar flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce and cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl - arrowroot, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder. Mix 1 cup almond milk, oil, brown rice vinegar in a measuring cup. Whisk into the dry ingredients.
- Add this starch blend to the agar mixture in the pot and cook on low heat for 3 - 5 minutes until it has thickened.
- Pour or scoop into a silicone muffin mold or glass pyrex container and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
- If you will be using store-bought almond milk, you will need three cups to make one batch.
- Watch closely as your vegan cheddar cheese cooks and constantly stir to keep it from thickening too much or burning.
- Add additional nutritional yeast flakes for an even cheesier flavor.
- Save time and make a double batch. You can refrigerate or freeze it for later use.