Hey everyone! I’m wondering about something: were you guys such white-cheese lovers as I was before going vegan? I’ve never been fond of the typical cheeses you eat on bread and stuff, but I did adore soft cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta and feta (my addiction I’ve told you about before). Agree? Well then this post will be one you’ll like very much! 🙂
In my first month of going vegan, I kind of made peace with the fact that I would never be able to eat my favorite cheeses again. Then, after a couple weeks I discovered vegan mozzarella in our local biological footsore. You have no idea what a happy day that was 😉 So I made peace again, this time with the fact that out of my three favourite cheeses, I would only still be able to eat the mozzarella. To be honest, I actually didn’t care so much, as there were so many other great new things to try out. But after a while I started missing my favourite recipes that I made with those two other cheeses, and I decided to dive into the worldwide web and do some research on making your own vegan cheeses.
And guess what? King Tofu strikes again! I found out that it’s actually super easy to make your own ricotta and feta with tofu. Knowing that was so easy, I also searched for a recipe to make your own mozzarella. That one is a little more work, but in the end it’s still easy and honestly a great experience 🙂 So that’s what I did; I ordered some supplies online, got in the kitchen and started making my own plant based cheeses. And I loved it!
Now, a couple remarks I have to make. First of all, none of these recipes are originally mine. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve found them all on the internet. The recipe for the ricotta is based on a recipe from De Groene Meisjes. I cannot mention a specific blog or website for the other two recipes anymore because I didn’t save them, but the fact is that I’ve noticed these are very common known recipes among vegans, so you’ll find the same tips and tricks in a lot of Facebook groups, on other blogs, etc.
Second, a couple results that I’ll keep in mind next time: in my opinion the taste of the ricotta was still not close enough to “real” ricotta. There was something about it that I didn’t really hate but also didn’t really like. I’ve read that you can also make ricotta with almonds or white beans, so next time I’m gonna try those out and see which type I like best. Then about the mozzarella; I think my mixture wasn’t thick enough, which caused that my mozzarella was a bit too flat so you couldn’t easily cut it in slices like you normally do. So don’t take it off the stove too quickly, make sure you keep on stirring the mixture until it has really become so thick you have a real hard time stirring it. Then last of all, about the feta; I liked it, but in my opinion it didn’t come as close to “real” feta as I had hoped it would. The first jar I tried out after it had been in the fridge for a week like they had suggested, but in my opinion the tofu-taste was still too much there. I’ve got another jar that’s still in the fridge and I’m going to try that one out tonight (so I’ll update this later to share my second opinion 🙂 ) The second jar has been in the fridge for two weeks, so hopefully this one will have absorbed more taste. But overall, it’s a really good idea for making a feta substitute, the strength of the taste is of course also a personal preference.
A third thing that is good to know, is that in two of the following recipes you need white miso paste. I had never used this before, and discovered it actually is a great product that you can use for a lot of things! You can find this in Asian stores or online (Asian) webshops. You can use your leftovers for a nice miso soup! (Recipe for that on here next week!)
As I’ve mentioned before, I started making my own cheeses so I could make my favourite recipes with those again. I’ve been making quite a lot delicious dishes with these three cheeses lately, and they’re all waiting to be shared with you! In the following days and weeks they will all be posted on here. A little sneak peek? What about stuffed pasta shells with ricotta and pesto, quiche with spinach and mozzarella, triple cheese calzone, Greek rice with feta,… Hmmm my stomach is already starting to rumble again 😉
Do those recipes sound great to your ears already? Then get in the kitchen with me and start making these cheeses! It will be a nice experience for sure 🙂
- What do you need? (one jar)
– 1 onion
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 250g tofu
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
– 1 tablespoon dried basil
– 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- How do you make it?
Heat the olive oil in a pan and bake the chopped onion and garlic for a little bit. Put all the ingredients together with the baked onion and garlic in a food processor or blender. Mix until you’ve gained a ricotta-like substance. You can add some olive oil if the mixture is too thick. Put the ricotta in a jar or box and store in the fridge.
- What do you need? (2 jars)
– 1 block of tofu (250g)
– 1 cup white miso paste
– 1 cup wine vinegar
– Herbs to your own taste (salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme,…)
- How do you make it?
Drain the tofu (put some weight on it so the liquid it has absorbed gets pressed out) and cut it into cubes. Boil the tofu for about ten minutes. Mix the wine vinegar with the miso paste and herbs. Drain the tofu cubes again and immediately put them in the miso mixture. The cubes need to be completely covered with the mixture. If some still stick out, just add some olive oil until they’re completely under. Let it cool down, then put a lid on it and put in the fridge for at least one week. When you’re going to use the feta, you can take the cubes out of the mixture and put them in some olive oil with some extra herbs.
After making this mozzarella, I ended up with a giant bowl of mozzarella balls! I’ve still not finished them all 😛 You can store them for quite a while, but if you’re not sure if you’re going to like this recipe, then maybe start with half of the ingredients, so you don’t end up with a full bowl of cheese you actually don’t like.
- What do you need?
– 150g cashew nuts (soaked)
– 250g of plain unsweetened soy yoghurt
– 240ml water
– 1 tablespoon of agar agar powder
– 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of salt
– 3 tablespoons of tapioca starch
– Ice cubes
- How do you make it?
Soak the cashews in water for 4 to 8 hours. Drain them and put them in a blender or food processor together with the yoghurt, 120ml water and the salt. Blend until you’ve gained a smooth mixture. Now put the mixture into a bowl and cover with a lid or towel. Let it rest for 24 hours, so the bacteria from the yoghurt can start the fermentation process. After 24 hours, you’ll notice the mixture has gained a bit of a sour smell; this is completely normal. Now slowly blend the tapioca starch in the mixture with a whisk. Put the other 120ml of water in a pan and add the agar agar. Stir while bringing this to a bowl. You need to get a slimy texture. Once this has happened, add the mixture and blend it through. Keep on stirring while the mixture will start to thicken. It really needs to be very thick and a bit stretchy! Put ice cold water in a bowl and add extra ice cubes. Take a spoon and scoop mozzarella balls out of the mixture and drop them in the cold water. Let the balls cool down for 30 minutes, then mix some salt and water and store the mozzarella in that mixture in the fridge.I organized a tapas evening for my boyfriend’s birthday, and used some of the mozzarella for that. That’s why in the picture there’s something else on the plate as well, because I plead guilty for having forgotten to take another picture 😉 The other things on the plate are crackers with tofu-eggsalad by the way! Feel free to let me know if you’d like a recipe for that 🙂
I hope you had as much fun with making your own cheeses as I did! I actually thought it was pretty cool to be able to say you’ve made your own cheese 😀 You can use these cheeses just like you used them in the past. And like I promised, if you don’t have much inspiration for how to use them, there will be some great recipes updated on my blog very soon! Enjoy enjoy enjoy!