Being vegan is a choice that benefits the planet and the individual, but unfortunately, the vast majority of food products aren’t tailored to include this lifestyle. That means vegans often miss out on foods like cheese, and we just won’t stand for it!
There are innumerable ways to make dairy-free cheese these days, most of them being nut-based. This is a fantastic trend but it can be difficult to manoeuvre if you have nut allergies. That’s why this simple, vegan and utterly plant-based cheese is such a useful hack to have in your arsenal.
It utilises the natural texture of cauliflower which has a 92-95% water content to create a smooth and delicious puree. This is supplemented by coconut oil and vegan butter. If you don’t have vegan butter, then you could use only coconut oil, but it will have a slightly different flavour. Now you must be wondering how you can come close to the flavour when the main ingredient is cheese, and that’s where nutritional yeast comes in.
Nutritional yeast is a form of deactivated yeast which comes as a powder or granules has a unique nutty flavour that resembles cheese. It’s a common addition in vegan recipes to add flavour or protein without having to rely on dairy or meat products. You could also go a step further and add in herbs and other powdered flavours but you might risk overwhelming the natural tastes.
Agar agar is used as a substitute for gelatin to bind the mixture into a solid, sliceable form. If you have vegan gelatin or are making a non-vegan version of the recipe, you could use regular gelatin instead. This ‘cheese’ can be sliced, grated and even melted in the same way as a dairy-based cheese, so there are no limits as to where you can use it.
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp refined coconut oil
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 tbsp agar agar
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- Remove the stem and the tough lower parts of the cauliflower, the florets are the only part you need for this recipe to achieve the smooth texture.
- Steam the florets with a few cups of water until they’re tender and soft.
- Drain the cauliflower and add it to a blender, blitz it into a puree.
- Add the coconut oil and vegan butter, blend for another 30 seconds.
- Now add the nutritional yeast and salt and blend for another minute.
- Add the agar agar powder last and blend until fully incorporated.
- Pour this mixture into a pot and cook for 3-5 on a low flame to activate the agar agar, stirring continuously.
- Pour the final mixture into a mould and refrigerate until set.