Vegan Melty Cheese

Melty Vegan Cheese

From August 13, 2005:  Believe it or not, I have been off cheese (and dairy products) for 3 months now.  I do miss cheese and haven’t had much luck with cheese alternatives.  Most of the cheese substitutes I have found contain casein (a milk protein) and I would like to avoid that as much as possible.  Totally vegan cheese alternatives are generally awful.  Vegan Gourmet by Follow Your Heart is the only decent vegan cheese….it melts.  Unfortunately, I can’t get Vegan Gourmet where I live, so I have been on the lookout for a vegan cheese substitute.  

Recently, my friend, Shawn, shared a recipe for a vegan cheese and it turned out much better than expected. It may be that I haven’t tasted real cheese in so long, but I actually enjoyed the Vegan Melty Cheese.  I added chopped pickled jalapenos and a dash of turmeric (which gave it a mustardy yellow color) to half of the batch to make a queso-like dip for nachos…I couldn’t stop eating it.  It looks terrible (I almost didn’t post the picture, it just doesn’t look very appetizing), the texture is funky, and it really doesn’t taste like cheese, but I’m happy to have come across this recipe.  I’ll definitely make this vegan cheese alternative again.  I am looking forward to experimenting with variations and ways to use it in other dishes.   Here is the recipe that Shawn gave me:

Melty Pizza Cheese
Makes 1 1/4 cups/5 servings

1 c. water
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
2 T. cornstarch
1 T. flour
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic granules
OPTIONAL: 4 tsp. calcium carbonate powder
2 T. water
OPTIONAL: 1 T. canola oil
(my addition – 1/4 tsp. turmeric)

Place all ingredients, except the 2 T. water and oil, in a blender/processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until it starts to thicken, then let it bubble for 30 seconds. Whisk vigorously.

Or pour the mixture into a microwave-proof bowl; cover and cook on high for 2 minutes. Whisk, then microwave for 2 more minutes, and whisk again.

Whisk in the water and optional oil. The oil adds richness and helps it melt better, but the cheese still only contains 2.6 g. of fat per 1/4 cup.

Drizzle immediately over pizza or other food, and broil or bake until a skin forms on top.  Alternatively, refrigerate in a small, covered plastic container for up to a week. It will become quite firm when chilled but will still remain spreadable. You can spread the firm cheese on bread or quesadillas for grilling, or heat it to spread more thinly on casseroles, etc.

Variations

Melty Jack Cheese: Omit the oil and add 1 T. tahini to the blender mixture

Melty Suisse Cheese: Omit the oil and use only 1/4 tsp. salt. Add 1 T. tahini and 1 T. light soy or chick-pea miso to the blended mixture

Melty Cheddar Cheese: Use 1/3 c. nutritional yeast flakes and add 1/4 tsp each sweet Hungarian paprika and mustard powder. Use only 1/4 tsp. salt and add 1 T. light soy of chick-pea miso to the blended mixture

Smoky Cheese: To the basic recipe or any of the above variations, add 1/8 tsp. liquid smoke

Cheese Sauce, Rarebit, or Fondue: Add 1 cup to 1 1/4 cup non-diary milk, dry white wine, or beer (can be non-alcoholic) to any of the cheese variations. (Try using the Suisse for fondue and the Cheddar for Rarebit). You may add a pinch of nutmeg and white pepper. Add salt to taste.

Nacho Sauce: You can add drained canned black beans, chopped jalapenos or other chiles, chopped olives, a pinch of cumin, etc.,using Jack or Cheddar as a base.

From Bryanna Clark Grogan’s 20 Minutes to Dinner.

Update: January 5, 2013 – I have been making this Vegan Melty Cheese for years now. I still love it! I mostly use it for a queso type dip. Sometimes I do add a bit of oil at the end, but most of the time I don’t. Here is the recipe I use for my dip:

1 c. water
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
2 T. cornstarch
1 T. flour
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 T. water
OPTIONAL: 1 T. canola oil
2 T. chopped pickled jalapenos

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