Nuts For Cheese: The Vegan Cheese You Need - Goodness Me!

Nuts For Cheese: The Vegan Cheese You Need

by Steven Spriensma May 31, 2017

Nuts For Cheese: The Vegan Cheese You Need

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?

Cashews!

Nuts For Cheese cashew cheese

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.

Nuts For Cheese suggested serving

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:

  • Delicious Brie en Croute: Top Un-Brie-Lievable cheese with your favourite jam (we recommend St. Dalfour Royal Fig Spread!); wrap in a puffy pastry and bake at 425 degrees until golden brown.
  • Vegan poutine: Dice up your favourite flavour and top those fries (and yes, vegan poutine exists! Of course, use a vegan-friendly vegetable gravy).
  • Vegan burgers: Grill a Portobello mushroom on the barbecue and top with your favourite vegan cheese.
  • Top a pizza: Use Un-Brie-Lievable with ingredients like a sweet chili sauce, arugula greens, balsamic glaze, caramelized onions, and apples to make a delicious pie.
  • Grilled cheese: C’mon, you know how to make this. Nuts For Cheese flavours offer a little variety to the regular Kraft Singles routine, or, if you’re a vegan, will re-introduce grilled cheese into your life.

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.

Ingredients

  • 1 wedge Nuts for Cheese Un-"Brie”-Lievable
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic
  • 3 charred leeks OR 5 green onions
  • ½ package silken soft tofu (150-200 grams)
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 8 cups spinach
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts in oil
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp Earth Balance butter (or any other vegan butter of your choice)
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Bring a large skillet to medium heat and add the Earth Balance butter.
  • Add the spinach, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes (or until spinach is just wilted).
  • Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat. Add the soy milk, brie, tahini, and tofu and cook for 7-9 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • In a blender or large food processor combine the cooked spinach mixture with the lemon juice. Blend on high for 20 second intervals until spinach is roughly chopped.
  • Add this mixture to a large bowl.
  • Add the soy milk, brie and tofu mixture to a blender or food processor. Blend on high for 3-4 minutes, until smooth.
  • Add this mixture to the spinach mixture in the bowl and stir thoroughly.
  • Taste for seasoning.
  • Serve with your favourite chips, crackers or bread!

 

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.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 medium slices of really good bread
  • 1 wedge Nuts For Cheese Red Rind
  • 1 can Anderson’s Ale IPA or Amber (1/2 for recipe, half for drinking while cooking)
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2-3 ‘seconds’ of olive oil
  • few pinches sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Heat the olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add finely sliced onion, sprinkle with salt, turn down heat to medium low, and sauté until onions start to caramelize.
  • Deglaze pan with a generous splash of your choice of Anderson’s Ale beer. Once the beer evaporates add maple syrup and another splash of beer.
  • Once liquid starts evaporating again, add another pinch of salt and your wedge of Red Rind. Simmer adding more beer periodically to keep the consistency smooth. Once cheese has melted and the onions have been incorporated, spoon a large spoonful on top of each slice of bread and spread with the back of a spoon.
  • Turn broiler on in the oven. Place the bread on a tray and transfer tray into the oven.
  • Watch the oven carefully and the dish is done when the cheese starts to brown and bubble and the bread begins to toast.
  • Optional garnish includes roasted tomatoes, minced chives or scallions, or diced artichoke hearts and olives. Pairs well with more beer.



Steven Spriensma
Steven Spriensma

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