This cashew based herbed vegan cheese is full of herbs and a little spice! It's super easy to make with just your blender and about five minutes of your time.
Slice this vegan cheese and serve with crackers on a vegan charcuterie board, or grate and melt over pizza!
I’m so excited to be sharing with you another rendition of my blender-based, no ‘cook’ vegan cheese!! Today we’re going to go over how to make a sumptuous block-style Herbed Vegan Cheese wheel. But first, some questions and answers….
Can I make vegan cheese?
That is a million dollar question and I’m here today to tell you YES YOU CAN! A thousand times YES! Don’t let the whole idea scare you. You are going to feel like a master chef in minutes!! All you really need is a blender, a few ingredients, and five minutes of time.
This vegan cheese is amazing in all recipes where you would use regular cheese because it melts, slices, and grates well. It is also fantastic as part of a vegan cheese board.
What does this vegan cheese taste like?
Obviously, it’s not quite like dairy cheese – BUT the texture, flavor, richness, and creaminess of this vegan cheese will literally knock your socks off! It satisfies a major cheese craving for me, and it even meets the expectations of my non-vegan friends! They’re like, “this stuff is great”!! Score!!!
This post focuses on how to make my newest Herbed Vegan Cheese but the process and flavors are adapted from my original Real Vegan Mozzarella and other popular favorites including Vegan Pepper Jack Cheese, and Vegan Smoked Gouda Cheese.
What Ingredients do I need to make this Vegan Cheese?
The one challenge of making this cheese is that it takes a few unusual ingredients that not everyone has on hand – but please believe me – it is SO worth the effort!! Really, only #3 is harder to find. Here’s the short list:
- REFINED Coconut Oil – (Please don’t miss the word refined.) Refined coconut oil doesn’t taste like coconut but it still turns solid at cooler temps, thus adding firmness and richness. It’s available at many local grocery stores.
- Tapioca Flour – a thickener with a slightly ‘stretchy’ texture. I usually buy online but many local health food and grocery stores sell this.
- Kappa Carrageenan – This is the most unusual ingredient and somewhat difficult to obtain. A derivative of sea weed, this ingredient is vital because it is what makes the cheese able to go from liquid to solid and back to melted state. It’s a wonder ingredient and not widely sold.
You will also need raw cashew pieces since this is a cashew cheese. Raw cashews get soaked in HOT water, which softens them and makes them easy to blend into a rich, smooth cashew cheese base.
Steps to make herbed vegan cheese:
Soak cashew pieces in hot water for about 5 minutes. Rinse and drain.
Add cashews, refined coconut oil, nutritional yeast flakes, tapioca flour, salt, onion and garlic powder, and lemon juice to blender (Photo 1).
Measure Kappa Carrageenan in one dish and herbs and crushed red pepper in a separate dish and set aside for adding in just a moment (Photo 2).
Carefully add just-boiled-water water to blender and blend until smooth (Make sure to place lid on blender firmly and start blending at a low speed, turning up to med-high until completely smooth) (Photo 3). Keep the blender going on medium speed and open just the blender lid plug and pour in the kappa carrageenan. Blend until completely smooth (usually only a minute is needed - you will probably hear a change in the blending sound as the mixture thickens.)
Without stopping the blender add herbs and crushed red pepper to blender running on low. Blend only for a second, or just until spices are mixed into the cheese.
Pour immediately into a heat safe dish (your cheese mold) and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours to harden (Photo 4).
Slice or grate, and enjoy!
What should I use for my vegan cheese mold?
Any heat safe dish that holds about 3 cups will work. I prefer to use glass dishes. There is no need to oil the mold as this cheese will solidify and pop out easily with the use of a butter knife or similar used around the edges.
How long does this vegan cheese last in the refrigerator?
A week in a covered container is a good rule of thumb. After that I'd think about freezing it!
Can I freeze this vegan cheese?
Sure! It does get a little softer in texture after thawing, but if you think you can’t eat it all, by all means freeze it! (Most people have trouble making it last that long though!)
Can I use Agar Powder to replace the Kappa Carrageenan?
Yes you can substitute Agar Powder for Kappa Carrageenan, but it won’t have quite as firm a texture and is not as melty. Double the amount recommended in the recipe for Kappa Carrageenan and replace with Agar Powder.
Make sure you are using agar powder, not agar flakes!
Adjusting the herbs and spice:
I've used dried herbs in this recipe because of ease of accessibility in all seasons. By all means, feel free to use fresh herbs if you like! You'll need about three times the amount of fresh herbs as dry.
The crushed red pepper gives this herby vegan cheese a lovely bite, but if you're a lightweight on spice, feel free to decrease the amount or leave it out altogether! It'll still be super yummy!
Check out these other appetizers and vegan cheese recipes:
- Vegan charcuterie board
- Vegan cheddar cheese
- Best vegan cream cheese
- Vegan mozzarella cheese
- Vegan cheese ball
- Vegan smoked Gouda cheese
- Vegan nacho cheese
- Best vegan egg salad
If you’ve tried this Herbed Vegan Cheese recipe or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I LOVE hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food!!!
Herbed Vegan Cheese
Into the blender:
- ½ cup raw cashew pieces, soaked for 5 min in hot water then rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil
- 2 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Add next (and blend until smooth):
- 1.5 cup HOT water, just boiled
Add while blending:
- 1.5 tablespoon Kappa Carrageenan
Add last (just barely blend in until mixed):
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1.5 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1.5 teaspoon dried chives
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Soak the cashew pieces in hot water for about 5 minutes. Rinse and drain.
- Add cashews, refined coconut oil, nutritional yeast flakes, tapioca flour, salt, onion and garlic powder, and lemon juice to blender.
- Measure Kappa Carrageenan in one dish and herbs and crushed red pepper in a separate dish and set aside for adding in just a moment.
- Carefully add just-boiled-water to blender and blend until smooth (Make sure to place lid on blender firmly and start blending at a low speed, turning up to med-high until completely smooth). Keep the blender going on medium speed and open just the blender lid plug and pour in the kappa carrageenan. Blend until completely smooth (usually only a minute or less is needed - you will probably hear a change in the blending sound as the mixture thickens.)
- Without stopping the blender add herbs and crushed red pepper to blender running on low. Blend only for a second, or just until spices are mixed into the cheese.
- Pour immediately into heat safe dish (your mold) and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours to harden. Slice, grate and enjoy!
Hi! It's not necessary to cook the mixture? It's enough to blend with hot water? Thank you
In my experience, yes. Just blending in hot water was enough for me.
Coconut oil works well because it is solid at fridge temperatures. I have not tried making vegan cheese with other oil types, it might not set as well.
I used agar agar instead of Capps carrageenan. Unfortunately it did not set at all. Should I lessen the liquid?
Agar agar definitely makes a cheese with a different texture. yes, try decreasing the liquid next time if it didn't set at all. Did you use agar powder instead of flakes? I just want to double check..
Hi! I'm interested in trying this recipe, but I do have a question: do you have any recommendations to replace coconut oil? I'm allergic to coconut, sadly, but I know that oils that are liquid at room temperature wouldn't work for this. Any suggestions? (If not, no worries!)
Hi Cecil, I really haven't tried it with other oils so I don't know! I think you would definitely need an oil to give it a rich cheesy texture. I would maybe try using a little less neutral vegetable oil (not olive oil) so that even though it does not firm up in the fridge, there will be less liquid overall? If you do try it, please let me know how it turns out! It could be very helpful info for others, whether it works or doesn't work.
Help! I have made this twice; the flavor is great but it won’t set. It stays runny. What am I doing wrong?
You can try increasing the kappa juuust a little bit (a pinch) or decreasing the water by a tablespoon or two. It's such a small amount of kappa that is needed to set this cheese that a slight difference in measuring cups or spoons (or how full you fill those cups/spoons) can make a difference in how soft or firm the cheese comes out. I will try to remember to measure the amounts on a scale next time and add those measurements to the recipe!
I hope you give this another try with the modifications I suggested. Good luck!!
Can I use almonds instead of cashews?
Could I use Olive Oil in this instead of coconut oil? I only have unrefined and I am afraid it will have a coconut taste to it. Thanks
You're right, unrefined coconut oil has a very strong flavor. However, olive oil won't solidify the same way that coconut oil does when chilled. If it is possible for you to obtain the refined coconut oil, I would probably just wait for that!
Mine came out as a firm cream cheese. I used corn starch instead of tapioca flour. Internet said it would not make a diffrence. Was that wrong. And I used native instead of refined oil. It tastes good but what can I do better?
Corn starch shouldn't make a super big difference in firmness, although it creates a little difference in final texture. Did you use the kappa carrageenan? That is the agent that really helps the cheese get nice and firm!
I noticed in this recipe you add the Kappa Carrageenan as a second step after blending the cashews and other ingredients but added everything together in your recipes for Pepper Jack and Mozza. Is there a reason for this different method?
That's a really good question. It works both ways, but the herbed cheese is my newest recipe and I'm constantly trying to make the process easier. The Kappa Carrageenan thickens rapidly in the blender, so for some people it seems easiest to add it after the rest of the ingredients are already blended smooth! Hope that answers your question!