Making vegan cheese may sound like a daunting task, but this no-waste recipe couldn’t be simpler. It’s actually two recipes in one: First, you make almond milk, which tastes infinitely better than the store-bought kind. Then you turn the leftover almond pulp into a soft cheese that’s ideal for slathering onto bread. This version, made with smoked paprika and oregano, results in a reddish cheese. But it’s easily customizable: Go green with minced parsley, pink with finely shredded beets or yellow with ground turmeric. For a ricotta-like result, use blanched almonds, garlic powder and nutritional yeast. This spread tastes best if refrigerated for about 8 hours, but it can be eaten right away.
Equipment: You must have a high-powered blender to make this.
Active time: 20 mins; Total time: 20 mins, plus 8 hours soaking time
Make Ahead: Almonds must be soaked for at least 8 hours in advance. The cheese tastes best after being refrigerated for at least 8 hours.
Storage Notes: Refrigerate the cheese for up to 7 days. Refrigerate the almond milk for up to 5 days.
Tested size: 8 servings; makes about 1 cup
1 cup (5 ounces) raw almonds, soaked for 8 hours or up to overnight, rinsed and drained
4 cups filtered room-temperature water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed
3/4 teaspoon dried herbs, such as oregano, basil or rosemary
Toast, crackers, rice cakes or sliced vegetables, such as cucumbers and carrots, for serving
Place a nut milk bag, cheesecloth or very thin kitchen towel over a large fine-mesh strainer. Place the lined strainer over a large bowl.
In a high-powered blender, combine the soaked almonds and water. Blend on high speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour the milk into the lined strainer. Gather the corners of the fabric, lift and firmly squeeze the milk into the bowl. Pour the almond milk into a jar or bottle, using a spoon to scoop up any leftover foam to add to the jar or bottle, cover and refrigerate until needed. Use in drinks, oatmeal, cereal, sauces and more. The milk will separate after a few hours; shake before serving.
Rinse and dry the bowl. Add the almond pulp (you should have about 1 1/3 cup), oil, nutritional yeast, if using, vinegar, paprika, garlic powder and salt. Stir until the paprika is evenly distributed and the cheese can easily be formed into a ball, adding more olive oil if the cheese feels dry. Taste and season with more salt, if needed.
Place the almond cheese on a piece of parchment paper and use your hands to flatten it into a thick disk or roll it into a log. Sprinkle the dried oregano on top, then press it onto the surface. The almond cheese can be served immediately but tastes best after being refrigerated for 8 hours.
Serve as a spread with toast, crackers, rice cakes or sliced vegetables.
Adapted from a recipe by Tati Lund, chef of Org Bistro in Rio de Janeiro.
Tested by Jess Eng.
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