DIY: Lightened Up Almond Cheese

A quick note about Nut Cheese.

While the name itself might not sound very appetizing I am a big fan of these non-dairy cheeses. Unlike the processed vegan soy cheese you buy at the store, nut cheese is typically just ground up and sometimes fermented nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc). It is very versatile and can be eaten as a savoury sandwich spread or a ridiculously indulgent dessert. However, much like dairy cheese, nut cheese is quite nutrient-dense and high in (healthy) fats so you don’t need much to reap all those tasty benefits. Choosing Raw has loads of quick and easy recipes for various raw vegan cheeses and I encourage you try them out!

I, however, am not posting a recipe for a traditional nut cheese today but rather presenting you with my own little spin. Because while moderation is all well and good, I wanted to create a dairy-free cheesy spread that could be used more..well…liberally. I also wanted to create with a recipe that was quick, easy and didn’t involve a vitamix, elaborate straining, the use of cheesecloth or any kind of fermentation. And VOILA! I am already a little obsessed…

Lightened Up Curry-Style Almond Cheese
Based on this method

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cooked winter squash or sweet potato (pumpkin would okay but I would add a little honey to make up for the lack of sweetness)
  • 2-3 dashes of hot pepper sauce

Directions

  1. Blanch almonds by boiling a couple inches of water in small saucepan, adding the almonds and cooking for 1 minute or so. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside for 3 minutes to cool. Optional: Remove almond skins by squeezing them between your thumb and forefinger. Pat dry.
  2. Place the almonds in a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes to finely grind them. Scrape down the sides of the container. Add 1/2 cup water and process for 1 minute to combine. Add the remaining water, cornstarch, lemon juice, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and continue to process the mixture an additional 1-2 minutes or until very smooth and creamy.
  3. Transfer the mixture back to a small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook and whisk together for about 3-5 minutes, until it becomes very thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Pour cheese mixture into a 2-cup container, cover, and chill for several hours or until firm.
  5. Unmold the cheese and use slices on sandwiches or as a spread with crackers, breads, or fruit. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Yields: One 2-cup container of non-dairy cheese or about 8 large servings.

I don’t usually calculate the nutritional info of my recipes but this time I was just interested…and boy was I impressed! Thank you nutritional yeast & almonds for being so high in all those healthy vitamins!

Obviously I went with a curry-style version but you’re welcome to experiment with loads of different flavours or mix-ins (olives, sundried tomatoes, hot peppers, cumin, etc.). I’d love to hear how different flavours turn out! :)

Hope you’re enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon!

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14 Comments

  1. I’m a huge fan of anything made with curry! Love this recipe – so creative!

    Reply
  2. I so need to try this!

    Reply
    • Do it! Its got a pretty subtle flavour just a bit of zing from the lime, but I’m really enjoying it as a sandwich spread right now. Interested to see how other people like it!

      Reply
  3. Cool! Does it actually taste like regular cheese?

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t say it tastes just like regular dairy cheese, probably more similar to curry-style cheese pate! Think of it as a tasty alternative, not a sub for the real deal :)

      Reply
  4. Kara

     /  January 25, 2012

    Mmmmmmmmm I would love the curry + squash combination in this. Think it would taste good as a pizza base?

    Reply
    • Hmm if it was the right kind of pizza yes! Maybe topped with sweet & savoury ingredients like arugula and pear. If you wanted to go with a more traditional pizza I’d swap the lime juice for lemon and sub the curry powder for Italian seasonings like basil and oregano.

      Reply
  5. I have never tried making my own vegan cheese before… but you make it sound so easy! It looks delicious, too. I just discovered your blog and I love it- the tagline cracks me up :)

    Reply
    • Thanks! I definitely suggest giving this recipe a whirl if you’re new to the “cheeze” makin game. Definitely offers a nice alternative to typical dairy free dips and spreads. I mean really how much hummus are we expected to eat? ;)

      Reply
  6. this looks so delicious and just like real cheese. i still need to try to make a block of almond cheeze. thank you for reminding me about that ;)

    Reply
  7. looks a bit like one of those Chinese sweets. Guess I’ll have ta get some almonds.

    i made some cashew cream cheese the other day and brought some round to a lady who is not well – was gone in no time!

    Reply
  8. i was just looking for something to pair with baked mochi for dinner tonight…. i think we have a winner!

    Reply

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