This baked vegan cashew cheese is a fantastic apppetizer or side dish for special occasions. Mild yet still flavourful, it is perfect with crackers, bread and on party platters, as well as super easy from start to finish. Gluten-free and made with healthy ingredients.
I have to say that when I went vegan, I didn’t struggle that much with giving up cheese. It’s a difficulty for many people, but I just didn’t eat that much of it at any point in my life. Regardless, I still missed it on occasion in my early days of being a vegan, especially as store-brought options can be quite expensive. So, if you want to go vegan or simply opt for more plant-based options, I would definitely recommend making your own alternative to your old favourite foods.
I don’t know why it took me so long to make my own vegan cheese. Perhaps, I was slightly intimidated because it seems complicated, but what surprised me is just how easy it is. Okay, maybe waiting for it in the fridge is difficult, but patience really pays off with this vegan cheese recipe. I have tested it a couple of times, and even after my earlier attempts, it always disappeared very quickly (especially now that it’s the festive season and everyone’s in the mood for cheese and crackers).
About this vegan cashew cheese
This cashew cheese is crumbly and soft, in other words perfect for serving together with crackers and bread on special occasions. Christmas Day is next week (I can’t believe how quickly it’s arrived!) and I think that this will be on the menu for sure, as an appetiser and for snacking on throughout the entire day. Although, it never lasts very long in my house!
Baking the cheese really helps to bring out the flavours and textures, as well as giving the cheese a cheese-like appearance. The flavour of this cheese is quite mild and not super overpowering, but I find that it does get stronger the longer you leave it in the fridge.
The main ingredient is, of course, cashews, which I soaked overnight and then boiled for around 15 minutes to get them as soft as possible. Tahini adds a nutty flavour, while nutritional yeast is essential for achieving cheesiness. I also added cumin, paprika and fresh dill to add just a hint of spice and bring together the flavours.
This is a great homemade vegan cheese alternative because it’s…
- Mild, but very flavourful
- Great as a side dish or appetiser
- Perfect for snacking
- Made with healthy and simple ingredients
- Easy to prepare
While you do have to wait around for quite a long time for the cashews to soak and the cheese to set in the fridge, it does not require a lot of actual ‘work’.
How to make vegan cashew cheese
Start by soaking the cashews for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. To make them as soft as possible, I’d also recommend boiling them for about 15 minutes.
Next, place the cashews in a food processor together with the nutritional yeast, paprika, cumin, garlic, dill, tahini, lemon juice and water. Blend until very smooth.
Place a strainer over a mixing bowl with a cheese cloth over the top. Scoop the mixture into the cheese cloth, spreading it out using a spatula. Bring together the edges of the cheese cloth and tie them using a rubber band, leaving this to set in the fridge for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.
After 12 hours, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C/300 F. Take out the cheese ball from the cheese cloth and transfer to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 25-50 minutes. Take out, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, and enjoy! This cheese keeps in the fridge for around 5 days.
Other recipes you might like…
- A vegan gingerbread cake is a great party dessert option!
- Serve this cashew cheese as a starter before vegan Shepherd’s pie.
- Or, it would be a great side dish for an easy lentil loaf.
Let me know in the comments: have you ever made your own vegan cheese before? If you give this vegan cashew cheese recipe a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations!
Baked Vegan Cashew Cheese Recipe (Gluten-free)
- 3 cups cashews
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- 3 tbsp tahini
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup water
- Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Afterwards, drain and rinse them.
- Place the cashews in a food processor together with the nutritional yeast, paprika, cumin, garlic, dill, tahini, lemon juice and water. Blend until very smooth.
- Place a strainer over a mixing bowl with a cheese cloth over the top. Scoop the mixture into the cheese cloth, spreading it out using a spatula. Bring together the edges of the cheese cloth and tie them using a rubber band. Leave the cheese set in the fridge for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.
- After 12 hours, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C/300 F. Take out the cheese ball from the cheese cloth and transfer to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, and enjoy! The cheese keeps in the fridge for around 4-5 days.