Julie Hasson is the author of 9 cookbooks, including 125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes, 125 Best Chocolate Recipes, 125 Best Cupcake Recipes and 300 Best Chocolate Recipes, Vegan Diner, Vegan Pizza and Vegan Casseroles. You can visit julie at www.juliehasson.com
This homemade nut-free vegan cheese is awesome! It’s creamy, a little spicy and excellent on grilled cheese sandwiches or sliced and eaten with crackers. Did I mention that it’s both sliceable and spreadable too?
- 1/2 cup water, divided
- 2 teaspoons agar powder
- 12.3 ounce silken firm tofu (preferably the Mori Nu brand)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 3 tablespoons canola or other light flavorless oil
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup finely chopped, drained pickled jalapeno peppers
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- Lightly grease a mini loaf pan or glass or plastic rectangular or square container. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup water and the agar powder. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- In bowl of food processor, combine the tofu, nutritional yeast flakes, oil, salt, smoked paprika, granulated onion and granulated garlic. Blend for several minutes until very smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
- In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup water with the cornstarch until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture and the reserved agar mixture to the processor, and blend for 1 minute or until very smooth.
- Transfer tofu mixture to a large saucepan. Quickly rinse out the food processor, as you’ll need to blend the mixture again after cooking. Place saucepan over medium heat, and cook, whisking continuously, until mixture starts to bubble. Reduce heat slightly if necessary. Continue cooking, whisking continuously, for another 2 to 3 minutes. This is necessary for the agar to melt completely. Reduce heat slightly if tofu mixture is starting to burn. Carefully transfer tofu mixture back to the food processor. Turn machine on and whiz until mixture is completely smooth, about 10 to 20 seconds. Add jalapenos and dried chilies, and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Scoop tofu mixture into prepared mold, smoothing top. Lightly tap down mold.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap onto the top of the cheese mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming.
- Set aside to cool down, about 20 minutes.
- Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill for several hours or overnight.
- Unmold cheese when ready to slice and serve.