My first vegan meal…well, I have no idea. I was brought up vegetarian and sort of stumbled into veganism, becoming dairy intolerant first and then realising there was no good reason to not be fully vegan. So I never had a “first vegan meal” – probably a lot of the meals I ate growing up were vegan anyway.
But an early memory of vegan food I have is cheese. When I stopped eating dairy, I thought that was it, I’d never be able to eat cheese again. However, I realised you could get vegan cheese. Wow! Dairy free cheese, what a winner! So I bought some. And tried it. And promptly spat it out. Yuck! Vegan cheese has not always been the violife/chao/etc that we have now.
Don’t worry, I am not going to recreate nasty cheese for this blog. What I am going to make is a nice, mild and creamy cheese that goes really well on pasta, soup, bread…all sorts of applications. In fact, it’s the cheese I used a few days ago on top of my spinach risotto!
And it’s really quite simple to make. Just tofu, blended together with nutritional yeast, vegetable stock powder, onion and garlic powder, lemon juice, olive oil, and a tiny amount of vinegar.
You then tie it in cheesecloth, or a tea-towel, and leave it to drain over a bowl overnight. This firms the cheese up and lets it hold its shape.
I then like to bake the cheese, which firms it up even more and gives a nice crust, but you could use it as a cream cheese just as it is!
This cheese recipe is SO versatile. You can adapt it however you want. Add herbs to make a herby boursin like cheese. Add chillis and smoked paprika for a Mexican style cheese. Add olives if you like! Or just have it as it is.
Creamy Tofu Cheese
- 300g tofu, drained
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend. Scrape down the sides and blend again, until a smooth mixture is formed.
- Pour the mixture onto a cheesecloth or (clean) tea towel. Pull the ends together to form a little parcel, and place in a sieve over a bowl.
- Leave in the fridge overnight to drain.
- Next, remove the cheese from the cloth. It should be much firmer now!
- You can either have the cheese as it is, or bake it.
- If you wish to bake it, heat your oven to 175C/350F and bake the cheese for 40 minutes. Cool before eating!