Fancy some delicious dairy-free goat cheese that crumbles, bakes up, and is sliceable, in under an hour? Well then you’ve come to the right place and this super easy vegan goat cheese recipe is for you.
Doing a Whole 30? Then – unless you have some emotional eating issues with cheese – you can ALSO eat this cheese! Vegan keto or looking for a dairy-free keto cheese? Got you covered!
Best cheese EVER! (Spoiler: I’m doing a vegan Whole 30. It’s hard. Long live vegan goat cheese!). You can even forgo the agar-agar if you choose, and hey presto, a gorgeous tasty creamy cheezy vegan dip.
It took me around two months to perfect this cheese. I wanted something tangy like goats cheese but without waiting two days for it.
You can make this recipe as is and have a pretty cheese ready in less than an hour, or make it, add some probiotics, and leave it to culture overnight.
Did I mention it is also super easy to make? I did? Well, I’m mentioning it again for emphasis.
You will literally boil some cashews for 15 minutes, then process them up with the other ingredients, add some hot water with agar-agar, pour into a mold and wait roughly thirty minutes for your cheese to set.
The faster version tastes great but the cultured vegan cheese version tastes tangy and more goat-cheese like.
The recipe makes a LOT of vegan goat cheese, think three logs worth, so luckily, you’ll have plenty to eat right then and some leftover to culture overnight with probiotics. Win-win. Both your gut and your tummy will thank you.
What can you do with vegan goat cheese?
This vegan goat cheese recipe has got several perks that you can take advantage of. As it’s a pour-and-set recipe, you can basically use just about anything as a mold. Try:
- Slicing the cheese and using it in salads or on top of tomatoes and basil with a sprinkle of oil, freshly ground black pepper and balsamic vinegar for a quick Insalata Caprese.
- Sliced and on crackers.
- Crumbled over salads and other dishes where you would use goats cheese.
- Baked on veggie pizza (it would be an AWESOME topping on this potato pizza, for example) or on an open-face toasted sandwich.
- Poured into small molds such as mini-muffins over other ingredients like sundried-tomatoes and olives for a chic easy hors d’oeuvres or appetizer.
- Roll in chopped fresh herbs, nuts and/or spices and place on a vegan cheese board and get ready to preen while your party guests admire the vegan cheese that you made (or you could just eat it).
- If you don’t add the agar-agar to set the cheese it will also make a delicious cheesy dip or spread ready in less than half an hour, although in that case, I do recommend half an hour of chilling time.
Pro tips: Crumble the cheese with a fork, not your hands. To roll the vegan goat cheese in herbs or whatnot make sure it is at room temperature, if it has just come out of the fridge it will be more solid and more difficult to get stuff to stick to it. Similarly, it’s easier to slice if it’s been in the fridge for a while.
This cheese is also great baked or grilled. It gets softer and slightly melted in the middle and puffy and golden on the top, like real goat’s cheese!
Does this ACTUALLY taste like goat cheese?
Of course, it does-ish. Kinda. Let’s be real here folks. The uncultured super-fast version of this cheese is very very tasty and creamy and sliceable and crumbles and bakes and acts like actual goat cheese.
But it does not taste the same. Think of it more like a goat cheese alternative or substitute that still tastes absolutely delicious.
The cultured version actually does taste much more like goats cheese with its tangy flavour, but it’s entirely up to you which way you make it. Also, consider why you are even looking at this recipe in the first place.
For whatever reason, whether it be animal welfare, health-related, or you’re a recovering goat cheese addict, you obviously CAN’T eat goat cheese right now (or are thinking about stopping eating it).
So while this recipe may not be an exact replica of curdled goat milk, it is:
- Can be sliced, crumbled and baked
And that is all I need right now, personally (to crumble and sprinkle TONS of it all over my salads). Even omnivore hubby loves this stuff (it grills up so well, he has it on toast with tomatoes and onions and black pepper).
Can you eat it on the Whole 30?
Yes and no. There is a bit of furious warfare waging around the Whole 30 halls (read: forums) when the topic of vegan cheese comes up. Some are for it. Some are against it. So what does the official Whole 30 website have to say about it?
“Technically, almond “ricotta” or cashew “cheese” dips are allowed on the program, as long as their ingredients are compliant. But as with Larabars or nut butters, USE YOUR BEST JUDGEMENT. “Whole30.com
I’ll be honest here, I got to “technically” and did a little rain dance. I don’t have any particular need or addiction to goat cheese, but I do know the perfect otherwise whole 30 salad that really needs it.
So now I get to have another amazing salad option and a bit of Insalata Caprese once a week and I couldn’t be happier.
But if you read more on the official Whole 30 site, vegan cheese is not recommended for people who had a bit of an obsession with it before Whole 30, or for whom it is a trigger food (think wine and crackers).
So if you had a bit of a cheese problem before Whole 30 came along, then dry your eyes and move along cos I’m sorry but this recipe ain’t for you.
If you don’t know the exact difference between fromage blanc, cottage cheese, and ricotta, then you’re probably safe to indulge.
How to make it
Right, let’s get to it. Chuck your cashews into a pot and cover with enough water that there is at least an inch above the cashews (they will absorb quite a bit). Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat slightly to retain at a roiling simmer and set a timer for fifteen minutes.
This would a good time to prepare your molds as once the mix has been made it will set really quickly and you won’t have much time to be faffing around the kitchen looking for something with the right shape.
I normally use a tall thin glass for “logs” (I do line the sides with some baking paper to make getting the vegan goat cheese out easier, and trim the top of the paper so it doesn’t get in the way when I’m filling the glass).
I use regular bowls for making round domed cheeses, muffin tin pans and mini-muffin pans for smaller cheeses, really you can use whatever strikes your fancy.
Even though this cheese doesn’t tend to stick to anything, as a precaution I usually apply a little olive oil with a pastry brush to the mold and put some water in, shake it around, and then empty most of it out.
This will make it super easy to get out of the mold.
After fifteen minutes have passed, drain the cashews and add them to a food processor. Chuck in the melted coconut oil, lemon juice, garlic and process until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape the sides down once or twice.
You can also make this with a handheld blender and a bowl, or a high-powered blender, but your cheese might be a little grainy.
If you decide to risk grainy anyway, I would let the nuts steep for a further 15 minutes after boiling. You can see in the photo below, that after the first processing, the mixture won’t be that smooth yet.
Now add in the salt, coconut milk, and white-wine, red-wine or apple-cider vinegar and process until completely smooth.
Mix the agar-agar and water together in a small pot on the hob or stovetop and heat on high until boiling, stirring regularly to prevent the agar-agar gelling or sticking to the bottom, for one minute.
Quickly tip the agar-agar mixture into the processor and process until completely integrated.
If you’re adding probiotics (DO! Such tangy goodness!), open up the capsules by twisting the two halves apart and tip in the powder now and process again until well-mixed.
Quickly spoon into prepared molds (it will start to set otherwise). Leave to cool at room temperature for around 30 minutes.
Touch to test if solid, and then tip out. If it’s in a solid mold, and not a silicone one (I do recommend silicone ones), for example, tip the mold upside down and try loosening the sides with a thin knife, swivel a bit with your hand and shake the mold up and down and it should come out easily.
If it’s still not coming out, set the mold in some hot water for three minutes and then remove and turn upside down.
If you’ve gone the glass route for a log like me, I simply tug a little on the baking paper I lined the sides with and it comes right out.
And there you have it! A beautiful vegan goat cheese ready in under an hour! If you added probiotics and want to culture your cheese, just cover it and leave it in a dark warm place overnight, or for at least 10 hours.
Your oven or a kitchen cupboard would do (just be careful not to turn on your oven!).
Then follow the same steps as above to remove the cheese from whatever container it’s in. The cheese will keep for about a week in the fridge in an airtight container.
If you make this cheese I’d love to hear about it! Drop a comment below, or a review by selecting the stars in the recipe box, chat with me on Facebook or take a photo and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian).
I hope you enjoy this cheese as much as my family has!
- 1.5 cups (200 grams) raw cashews,
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice + 1 tsp, divided
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200ml) full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp agar agar powder
- 2 probiotic capsules (optional)
- Cover the cashews with 2 inches of water, add the teaspoon of lemon juice, bring to the boil and reduce heat slightly, to a roiling simmer, for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the molds you will be using (you can use anything, cups, glasses, silicone molds, muffin pans) by brushing the inside lightly with a little oil and splashing water around the mold and then draining any excess water and oil. If making a "log" in a cylindrical glass, I recommend lining the sides with a piece of baking paper to make removal easier.
- Drain the cashews and process with the lemon juice, melted coconut oil, and garlic until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape the sides down.
- Add the salt, coconut milk, and vinegar and process until completely smooth.
- Mix the agar-agar with the water and boil for at one minute, stirring frequently to prevent the agar-agar from forming a lump and sticking to the bottom.
- Add the agar-agar and water mixture to the food processor and process until well incorporated. Add the probiotics now if you wish by twisting apart the capsules and emptying the contents into the processor and process again to mix.
- Spoon the mix into the prepared molds and leave to cool at room temperature for half an hour. Remove from the molds and keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
1 tbsp agar powder can be substituted with 3 tbsp flakes but do make sure the flakes have dissolved perfectly in the water before mixing the agar water in
Amount Per Serving Calories 70Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 182mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g