I will start this post by saying that I will try anything once, I am not afraid of foods. In fact, there are very few foods I do not like in life, I somehow learn to appreciate every flavor that comes across my palate. One exception was when I went vegan and people wanted me to try vegan cheese. I don’t care how many great reviews there are for Daiya cheese, I just couldn’t get down with the funky taste or texture (and I’m pretty open minded!). I had set my hopes so high, based on friends who were raving about it, the disappointment after I brought home some shredded “mozzarella” cheese to put on my home made pizza, was so big I was in mourning for a couple of days. I felt let down and prepared myself to never be able to experience that familiar cheese taste ever again. Luckily, my disappointment was short lived, as I have found a couple of brands I am pretty impressed with, like some spreadable nut-based cheeses like Treeline:
Image is from Treeline’s website: http//treelinecheese.com
Overall I choose to mostly eliminate cheese products from my diet. Luckily it has not been very difficult for me, as I was not a huge cheese eater before going vegan.
For those of you who really love cheese and can’t imagine living without it, there is hope! Trust me when I say that making your own cheese is wonderfully rewarding, and the taste is fresh and ten times better and more authentic than anything you can buy in pre-packaged form. Now before you start hyper ventilating or sweat pearls start forming on your forehead, thinking you have to be in the kitchen for days to create your own cheese with all kinds of hard-to pronounce ingredients – do not fret! Making your own “goat cheese” as in the below recipe, is done in literally five minutes (maybe ten if you’re slow…) and only requires ingredients I bet even your grandmother is familiar with.
The other day I posted a photo of a mixed green and bean salad I brought to work (I eat a HUGE green salad every day as part of my “Eat To Live” program, a habit I will continue with for life) on my Facebook page and was asked by many to post the recipe for the dollops of herbed “goat cheese” I sprinkled on top. You can also use this cheese as a dip for crudite and pita chips, or spreads for sandwiches or wraps. Versatile, flavorful and easy to make – all things I love in a recipe! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do… and please know that being vegan beats eating artery clogging cheese by a million miles and then some… Plant based food simply rocks!!!
“Herbed” Goat Cheese
adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live” cookbook
24 oz extra firm lite silken tofu, divided
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight (or soak in hot water for 2-3 hours)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tsp white miso
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme (or oregano)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
In a food processor, place 18 oz of the tofu (reserve 1 cup), the cashews (drained) , the lemon juice, miso, yeast, shallots, and liquid aminos/soy sauce, and process until very smooth. Add the remaining tofu and pulse for a few seconds, leaving some texture similar to fresh goat cheese.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the fresh herbs. Cover and place in a warm spot in your kitchen to “age”, 2-4 hours, then refrigerate. Some liquid does seep out – I drained it, but I imagine putting it in a cheese cloth would make the cheese drier and even more like true goat cheese.
Makes about 4 cups. Will keep for once week refrigerated.