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The basic rules to making Vegan Cheese & how you can make your own!

A lot of people ask me if I miss cheese….and to be honest there was a time where I really did! I felt like one of my favourite things had been deleted from my diet! It took me a while to realize that I could actually replicate most of what I was missing!

I went vegan before the vegan cheese scene had really taken off, and for the first couple of years I just completely avoided meals that needed that cheese vibe (I was Raw Vegan, so really blending up cashews and calling it cream cheese was all I really needed).

It wasn't until I started a new consultancy at a restaurant and hired a proper culture specialist (: someone who knew a lot about fermenting, pickling and culturing food properly). Together we decided to try and replicate some more complex cheeses like brie, mature cheddar and blue cheese. I promise you it's easier than you think!

By this point, I got pretty into using potato as a base for most of my cheese sauces, queso cheeses and melty mozzarella vibes. I had had loads of success with creating amazing richness using plant milk, nutritional yeast and some basic household spices, but adding the extra cultured element really upped the vibe!

Before we get ahead of ourselves let me talk you through some basic rules that I like to apply when making anything “cheesy”.

Potato makes the best base when super over boiled and well blended in a high-speed blender.

  1. Boil your potatoes in salty water. Make sure you truly over boil the potatoes.

  2. Depending on the “cheese” flavour you are replicating, choose your spices carefully. Remember a little salt, nutritional yeast and oat milk go a long way to creating something very bland and mozzarella-ish.

  3. Use spices that replicate flavours you recognize. Like turmeric is a really good bitter, tangy flavour in small doses. Nutmeg has that earthy spiced feel (great for aged cheddar). Cumin also has that rich earthiness, making it a great spice to add to queso style cheese. Smoked paprika is also a great one, especially as we associate the smokey flavour with a lot of cheeses.

  4. NEVER FORGET THE NUTRITIONAL YEAST! This guy is your best friend when making anything cheesy. I use it on pasta as parmesan, in all my cheese sauces, on salad, on potatoes…..literally, it’s the greatest!

  5. Don't be afraid to play! It took me many failed attempts at blending things up to find the best ratio. I encourage you to do the same. Just know you need the blender to make a silky smooth cheese sauce, so add enough plant milk.

  6. If you want your cheese sauce to set and create a hardstyle cheese you will need to use a setting agent. I like to use Agar Agar. (a type of seaweed extract that sets as gelatin does.

After you have played with these rules a little, I would move on to learning about cultures. The cultured “cheeses” are a lot more authentic as they are all essentially sour and “go off” in a very similar way to normal dairy cheese. Simply add a probiotic.

I would say that, for the most part, making your own everything is best, as it gives you full control over what is in it, the flavours, colours and textures.

Join the recipe archive for some cheesy recipes ;)

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