Finding delicious alternatives to classic food staples can be one of the biggest challenges for budding vegans. It seems like an uphill battle: how can you make a plant-based product that satisfies your deepest, cheesiest cravings? Who could resist the allure of an aged cheddar or brie?
Luckily, London-based Nuts For Cheese makes a delicious, 100% vegan cheese that has the look, taste, and consistency of its dairy counterpart. The main ingredient?
Nuts For Cheese
Nuts For Cheese founder Margaret Coons has been a vegan since the age of 19. Over the years she’s honed her gastronomic talents, using her culinary flair and expertise to find good quality vegan alternatives. Margaret’s work as a chef for a vegan restaurant in London gave her the space to experiment with different ingredients, and a bit of trial and error led to the delicious cashew cheese recipes Nuts For Cheese uses today.
Since its May 2015 founding, Nuts For Cheese has moved from a local farmer’s markets to health food stores, spreading throughout Ontario. Despite this, Margaret stays true to the humble farmer’s market roots, continuing to sell the cheese at the Western Fair Farmer’s Market every weekend. It’s a great way to gauge the opinions of people who don’t normally eat vegan alternatives. “Some people are super nervous about trying something new,” she said. “95% of the reception is super positive though. They’re always really surprised!”
What is cashew cheese?
Cashews are the most versatile nuts, with a mild flavour and good fat content. Nuts For Cheese ferments the cashew fats and protein to make a firm product. For those with food sensitivities, cashew cheese is a clean, organic product that not only replaces dairy cheese, but also soy and tofu-based cheese substitutes!
The various Nuts For Cheese flavours are all made with different processes and seasonings, using their special propriety fermentation method to create vegan options of cheese favourites like brie, cheddar, and blue cheese. The cashew-based cheese doesn’t have the stringy, stretchy, rubbery consistency of other vegan, and most of them do not include starch in their list of ingredients (Un-Brie-Lievable contains a natural tapioca starch).
Though the texture is different - quite a bit softer than a typical dairy cheese but still holding a firm shape – cashew cheese is great to cook with, as it still shreds, slices, and melts consistently. The cheeses are also spreadable at room temperature and sliceable when cold, perfect for crackers or your new favourite grilled cheese recipe!
But what does it taste like?
It tastes like cheese! The majority of the flavour comes from the lacto-fermentation of the cashew protein, and the difference between types comes from the different seasonings and ingredients.
The use of vegan ingredients makes for a diverse range of flavours: along with the coconut-cashew blend of Un-Brie-Lievable, there’s Super “Blue” cheese, which gets its blue marbling from spirulina; Chipotle “Cheddar” comes marbled with crushed chipotle peppers and adobo sauce; Smoky Artichoke and Herb includes pumpkin seeds and artichoke pesto; and Red Rind balances out mild creaminess with a paprika and turmeric rind.
Whether you’re a vegan or just someone looking to expand your palate, Nuts For Cheese’s variety and authentic taste will definitely become a new favourite!
For more great vegan options to expand your palate and keep you feeling healthy, check out our Vegan Favourites collection!
Nuts For Cheese Ideas and Recipes
If you need a little inspiration, here are some great ideas:
Easiest Cheesiest Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Seriously, this is super easy to make, and you'd never know it was completely vegan. It's the perfect party appetizer, and pairs great with a nice, bold red wine! Serves 4.
Vegan Welsh Rarebit
This dish is a great comfort food appetizer option to serve in the cold winter months! Easy to prepare, sure to impress, and delicious, this is a great recipe to have on hand for those times when you find yourself surrounded by beer, cheese, and friends all at once. Serves 4.