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Tag Archives: cheese

Mozzarella Aquafaba Cheese

24 Aug

If you don’t know, I’m pretty excited about this. Every vegan I’ve ever met in real life has said the hardest thing to give up was cheese and every non vegan has told me that they would never be able to give up cheese. Fortunately, due to amazing chefs like Miyoko Schinner, Jay Astafa, Somer McGowan, and Skye Michael Conroy, we are able to enjoy cheese-like products, without the cruelty. I’ve made several forays into the world of vegan cheese and learned a lot of different techniques from many different recipes. The particular recipe that I drew inspiration from for this is the cashew mozzarella developed by Jay Astafa. You can watch the YouTube video here. I noticed he uses soy lecithin as an emulsifier, which aquafaba has been shown to do in recipes like Nina’s butter and Peanut Butter and Vegan’s mayo. This inspired me to make this cashew mozzarella using aquafaba as the emulsifier. It also makes this recipe soy free, conveniently, for those who are intolerant.

Vegan cheese doesn’t create casein protein strands like dairy cheeses do, which is why we use tapioca starch to create that stretchy texture. Some places may have it labeled at tapioca flour, but they should be interchangeable. I find mine at an international market for a cheaper price. You can also add a bit of xantham gum to increase the stretchiness. If you don’t have any, feel free to omit it, the cheese will still be delicious! I use vegan lactic acid powder to create that dairy-like tang in this recipe. It’s definitely worth the purchase, but if you cannot buy it, substitute a tablespoon of lemon juice instead. Nutritional yeast also adds to this cheesy flavor. Refined coconut oil helps with firmness upon refrigeration and improves the mouthfeel and melt. Please use coconut oil that is solid at room temperature. Cashews can possibly be subbed for raw sunflower seeds for those with allergies.

Most vegan cheeses use either agar or kappa carrageenan as a binder to be sliceable and shreddable. I choose to use kappa carrageenan, as I prefer the melt and mouthfeel it imparts. I am well aware that many people choose not to consume it and I completely respect that; this recipe may be possible with agar powder, but I have not tested it. If you do test it, please contact me with your results!

Edited to add: Several people have tried with equal amounts of agar and have had a hard time getting it to set. I would suggest doubling the amount of agar powder (use 1 tablespoon and 1 tsp). Xanthan gum will not replace the carrageenan, it’s not a firm binder like carrageenan is, just a thickener.

Mozzarella Aquafaba Cheese | Avocados and Ales

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If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these other vegan cheese recipes:

Meltable Soy-based Mozzarella

Soy/Cashew Buffalo Mozzarella

Smoked Coconut Gouda

Almond Milk Pepperjack

Vegan Mozzarella

Moxarella

The Vegan Meringue group on Facebook is a great place for more aquafaba recipes as well.

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Mozzarella Aquafaba Cheese

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Potato Carrot Cheese Slices

4 Aug Potato Carrot Cheese Slices

We loved the potato carrot cheese, but I wanted a firm product to be able to throw on top of burgers and even to snack on plain. I grew up eating American slices from that company with the blue box, so I have fond memories of unwrapping cheese slices.

These are much more breakable than those rubbery squares and require a gentle hand. I would highly recommend the recipe I created for the cheese, specifically the coconut oil because it will firm upon refrigeration.

I even like this cheese in sandwiches, which is usually not true for vegan cheeses (besides Chao.)

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Without further ado…

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The Easiest and Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce

15 May

I know, that title sets a pretty high standard. I was pretty skeptical when everyone in a Facebook group I’m in with posting about this potato carrot cheese, stating that it was the best cheese they’ve ever made. We decided to try it to see if it lived up to the hype, but obviously made a few modifications. I’ve tried my fair share of cheese sauces, from cookbooks and online blogs, but this one is going to be my current go to from now on. This cheese sauce works because the cell walls of potatoes release starches when you destroy them, this is a common problem when making mashed potatoes and results in a gluey texture. However, with vegan cheese, gluey texture equals amazing stretch.
The carrots add that nice orange flavor, coconut oil replicates the creamy mouth feel of dairy fats, nutritional yeast has the stinky cheesy smell of cheddar, miso paste gives an authentic umami flavor, and lactic acid provides the sharp tang of dairy cheese. Please try this cheese!

The Easiest and Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce

This recipe is fantastic for nachos.
The Easiest and Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce

As well as breakfast sandwiches.
The Easiest and Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce

In fact, it’s pretty much good with just a spoon and nothing else 🙂

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Review: Kite Hill Artisan Almond Milk Product (formerly White Alder)

15 Feb

I read about Kite Hill’s new vegan cheeses well over a year ago and have been on the lookout for them ever since. They’re made by Tal Ronnen, the renowned celebrity chef who has made vegan meals all over the world. Whole Foods has an exclusive deal with Kite Hill, so if you don’t have one nearby you’re out of luck. I’ve looked at Whole Foods in the Chicago area, but never had any luck. I realize now I probably have been looking in the wrong section every time we’ve been there. Our other closest Whole Foods is in St. Louis, Missouri. We took a Valentine’s Day trip to St Louis this weekend and I made a point of stopping before we left for home.

We found the three Kite Hill cheeses after asking an employee who originally told us they were out. They were located in the cheese case, but we also found them lumped with the vegan cheeses. I’ve missed brie since going vegan more than any cheese; I’ve honestly had dreams about eating it again. I knew I wanted to try the White Alder flavor since I first read about them.

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It’s no longer called White Alder, instead it’s labeled as “Artisan Almond Milk Product.” The price tag at St. Louis Whole Foods was $9.99 for a 4 ounce wheel. I was expecting $14.99, so that was a surprise, but it’s definitely still steep when 4 ounces of dairy brie is around $5.

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The ingredients are simply almond milk, salt, enzymes, and cultures. I definitely appreciate that the entire container is less than 300 calories, as I probably could polish it off in one sitting.

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Upon opening the package, I was struck by how realistic the rind is. Kite Hill using the same aging process with their cheese as dairy cheese makers, which explains how they achieve such a similar product. It even had that strong brie odor.

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The inside is creamy, albeit more opaque than I remember dairy brie being. I was impressed with my first bite; however it went downhill from there. The rind is very loose from the soft interior and each slice kind of falls apart into rind and inner piece. It definitely has a similar mouthfeel, but it left a tingling in my mouth that I couldn’t get past. I don’t have an allergy to almonds and I can’t imagine why the cultures would cause this, but I could only eat about two pieces before it bothered me too much. My husband also ate a bite, but he had never had aged cheese before going dairy free. He ate one bite, declared it tasted like really bad feta, and gave me the rest of his piece.

My overall impression is that it’s an interesting product and was worth the try. If I were trying to impress my omnivore friends I would include it on a cheese plate or perhaps bake it in a crust with raspberry preserves. I think it’s a good marketing move to maintain the exclusivity with Whole Foods, as they can keep the price high without competition, but I also feel the price is something only dairy free people would be willing to pay. If the price point was dropped to about $7 I feel it would be reasonable to splurge on something like this every once in a while, but I doubt I will purchase it in the future, especially with the unpleasant reaction I had.  As much as I miss brie, I think I’ll have to finally attempt Miyoko Schinner’s recipe or go without.

Review: Chao Vegan Cheese

19 Jan

Like most people in the world, one of my favorite foods preveganism was cheese. I was born just south of the Wisconsin border and grew up with 3 cheese factories within 20 minutes of my house. I can’t tell you how much cheese I’ve eaten, especially during the cheese free – for – all that was the Atkins diet.

However, I’m more informed now, and as much as I miss it, cheese is no longer a part of my diet. I’m a pretty big fan of Daiya, especially in melted applications, like macaroni and cheese, but there’s really no good cold cheese substitute.

The Chao Slices by Field Roast were supposed to be a game changer. I read multiple reviews on them months before we even had the chance to try them and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. I messaged my local health food store on Facebook asking when they would start carrying them, and I got a reply a day later informing me they’d have them in January 2015. One of the perks of talking with small local owners! They posted on Facebook today that they were finally in, so we of course made a trip there.

Field Roast is known for their amazing vegan meats and deli slices but I think they’re going to be taking a piece of the vegan cheese market. They make the Chao slices in Creamy Original, Coconut Herb, and Tomato Cayenne. I was only able to purchase the Creamy Original, but after trying it, I’d love to taste their other flavors.

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There’s about 10 slices in a package, and they’re not individually wrapped like Kraft slices or separated by paper, like Daiya.  The block of slices is about the same size as a Daiya wedge (7.0 ounces as opposed to 7.8 ounces.) The ingredients are all things I can recognize, which I like.

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Straight from the package they have a strong cheesy odor, like unwrapping a tube of string cheese or a block of mozzarella. The slices are firm enough to peel apart, but not so firm that they bend or crumble. The first bite was like a hint of swiss, provolone, and butter. As I continued to eat, I kept saying how buttery it tasted. I’m not sure if that’s the coconut oil or the fermented tofu, but I really enjoyed it.

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I was worried that I would only like them raw, and that they wouldn’t melt well, but of course Field Roast wouldn’t let me down. I tried a piece on reheated lasagna and it melted perfectly.

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It still seems like it’s slightly solid, it doesn’t turn into a runny gelatinous mess like dairy cheese does but I didn’t try it at a high temperature, so it could be much more susceptible to melting.

My only dislike about the Chao Slices so far is the price. Field Roast products tend to be a little pricier than competitors, because their quality is higher, but I felt that almost double the price of their closest competition in the vegan cheese market was a bit steep. I definitely wouldn’t be purchasing it on a regular basis at the price point it was at. I don’t think it would encourage people who are trying to eat dairy free to purchase a new product at such a high price.

Overall, we really enjoyed the Creamy Original slices and would recommend them over most other vegan cheeses.

Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole

20 Nov

I was inspired by a post by Princesses and the Peas and I just had to try this recipe. I love quinoa right now (but seriously, who doesn’t) and eggplant is still abundant in my garden. This was a delicious recipe that’s super filling and healthy. I added some zucchini and tomatoes from my fridge. I loved the big bursts of sweet cherry tomatoes in between bites of quinoa. You could easily use regular diced tomatoes or even a can of tomatoes if that’s what you have.

This was perfect with my coconut milk cheese, especially blended into the mixture-I kept finding big chunks of cheesy goodness as I was eating. It was even better the next day, as most casseroles are.

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Our favorite sliceable, meltable vegan cheese

9 Oct

Since I’ve been spending more time at home, as I only work part time since the birth of my baby, I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for vegan cheese. As much as I love Daiya, it gets expensive, even with coupons.

I’m a big fan of Vedged Out’s foxy moxy mozzarella, but I wanted something that held up to slicing and grating. I tried a recipe with cashew cheese, but without investing in a Vitamix blender (hint hint family members:Christmas is coming) the consistency was too grainy for my taste.

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