I know I’m a little crazy for homemade vegan cheese, but it’s so easy to make at home as well as incredibly delicious! I thought it was time for a taco cheese, which is fantastic in quesadillas, on top of a yummy salad, layered in enchiladas, or shredded for tacos. You can customize it by adding pickled jalapeños or canned chipotles for extra zing. You can also omit the oil, for an oil-free cheese too. In other words, it’s your taco cheese, and you can do with it what you want!
Like my other meltable vegan cheese recipes, this one is also adapted from Somer McCowan’s fantastic Smoked Coconut Gouda recipe. There are only a couple of specialty ingredients you’ll need for our cheeses, and they’re easy to order from Amazon. Here’s a vegan lactic acid powder and a Kappa Carrageenan from Amazon that are both great brands. As much as you may be tempted to leave them out, don’t! These ingredients are what make the recipe work (lactic acid for a cheesy tang, and Kappa carrageenan so the cheese stays firm and also melts).
For a cheese that I’m not going to shred, and slice and eat out of hand (or on burgers, sandwiches, etc.., I like to reduce the carrageenan to 1 tablespoon. This makes the cheese a bit softer in the set (so not as good for shredding), but is a texture that I love.
The oil is really nice for both meltability and mouthfeel, but like I mention above, it can be left out. This is your cheese, and you can do what you want!
Please let me know if you make this cheese! I’m so excited to hear what you think of it. #julieskitchenette #vegantacocheese Homemade vegan cheese forever!!
Homemade taco cheese! It’s fantastic in quesadillas, on top of a yummy salad, or shredded for tacos. You can also customize it by adding pickled jalapeños or additional canned chipotles for some extra zing. In other words, it’s your taco cheese, and you can do with it what you want!
2 cups water
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil, optional
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon lactic acid
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 to 2 canned chipotle chilies, optional
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons kappa carrageenan
1/3 cup pickled jalapeños, optional
In the jar of a strong blender, combine the water, cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, oil, salt, smoked paprika, lactic acid, granulated onion, cumin, granulated garlic and chipotles, and blend until super smooth and there aren’t any bits of nuts. Add the tapioca and carrageenan, and blend for 5 to 10 seconds until smooth. Don’t over-blend or else the starch can start to thicken. If using the pickled jalapeños, add them now and pulse just until they are lightly chopped.
Pour the cashew mixture into a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking continually. Continue cooking, whisking continuously, for about 7-9 minutes until the mixture has thickened nicely and is very glossy. I like to drizzle a little of the mixture onto the back of a spoon, and make sure that it firms up when you blow on it lightly. That’s how I can tell that it’s done cooking.
Pour the cheese into a smallish container that can contain a minimum of 2 cups volume. I like small loaf pans or glass bowls.
If properly cooked, the cheese will start to set right away. Allow the cheese to set at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate the cheese to finish setting for 3 to 4 hours.
If the cheese doesn’t set up properly that means you haven’t cooked it long enough, if this happens to you, throw it back into the saucepan and cook for a few minutes more! It’ll re-melt and then you can pour it back into the mold for it to solidify.
Remove the cheese from the mold and serve. Store the cheese in the refrigerator, wrapped well.
Gluten-Free + Vegan
Keywords: vegan cheese, plant-based cheese, oil-free cheese, taco cheese, gluten-free