• 1 cup potatoes, peeled & diced (I used waxy golden potatoes like Yukon Gold)
  • 1/3 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup broth from the veggies
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 1 or more hours, or 1/2 cup white beans or 1/4 cup of each
  • 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 cup water
  • 2.5 tablespoons agar-agar powder (not flakes)

Inspired by

This yummy dairy free cheese is soft, but sliceable, and can even be grated. It is much lighter than most vegan cheeses which are mainly nut-based, and contain coconut oil, a saturated fat. The cheese can be made in less than 40 minutes. If desired, skip the last step and enjoy it as a delicious cheese sauce.

Cheese molds: Have ready mini loaf pans or 4”-5” round molds that will hold a total of 1 quart of cheese. Line with parchment paper (or waxed paper) on the bottom to help with an easy release when inverted.

• In a medium pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add the potatoes, carrots, and onion to the pot and allow to cook until the vegetables are tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.

• When the vegetables are tender, drain over a bowl to save at least 1 ½ cup of cooking broth. Into a blender container place the vegetables, 1 cup of vegetable broth, and the remaining ingredients except the last two ingredients: 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons agar-agar. [At this point this can be used as a cheese sauce and stored in the refrigerator for that use. Thin with a bit more broth if desired. Makes about 1 qt.]

• Blend to a smooth consistency. Leave in the cheese sauce blender container while you make the agar-agar thickener. Or if happy with the consistency, store as cheese sauce.

• In a small saucepan, place 1 cup water, whisk in 3 tablespoons agar powder, and bring to a boil.  It is important not to leave it at this point because it thickens quickly.

• Turn down the heat to low and whisk continually until the mixture thickens to a molasses-like consistency.

• Quickly pour the thickener into the blender with the cheese sauce and blend for approximately 30 seconds to mix it well, scraping down the sides at least once.

• Pour the cheese mixture into prepared molds. Smooth out the top of each mold which will end up as the bottom of the cheese. 

• Place the molds in the refrigerator for 8 hours or more. The longer the better.  I like my vegan cheese to sit a day or two, or a week to marry the flavors. Even a week or more.

• When ready to serve, run a knife along the edges and turn onto a plate or cheese board and peel off the parchment paper before serving.

• Serve with varied crackers, sliced vegetables like jicama, and fruit, like apple slices. Grapes always dress up a cheese platter and add a refreshing burst of flavor. 

Note: To add interest, I dusted the cheese with my favorite seasoning mix, and have varied this for different occasions.