Peppered Cashew Goat “Cheese”

Goat's Cheese

I thought I’d kick off Vegan MoFo with some vegan cheese!  If it weren’t for cheese, I think a lot of people could easily go vegan.  I used to LOVE cheese.  Who am I kidding – I still do!  I just don’t let myself eat it anymore.  Growing up in the Midwest, so close to that Wisconsin cheddar, I certainly had my share of it.

There are some good vegan cheese “substitutes” out there, like Follow Your Heart, Sheese, Tofutti, Teese and Daiya.  For me, they work in a pinch, and some are better than others for different purposes.  One thing I’ve yet to find though, is a great pre-packaged vegan cheese that you can just eat with crackers – and actually serve to non-vegans without them thinking it tastes weird.

Back in July I wrote about the Vegetarian Times Almond Feta recipe.  There’s also a recipe for Cashew Goat Cheese in that issue, and I’ve been meaning to try for a while.  Goat cheese was one of my favorites, so I had really high hopes for this recipe.  I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed.  I actually liked this more than the almond feta!

I’ve made this recipe three times now – once for friends that we were having over for dinner, and then for a little get together for Ryan’s birthday.  Everyone who’s eaten it has LOVED it – and that’s a bid deal since non of them are vegan!  It doesn’t taste exactly like goat cheese, but it tastes so good that you won’t care.  I can’t recommend this enough.  I’m so happy that I have something to combat my cheese cravings with.  Yes, it’s got fat in it, but so does real cheese!  You shouldn’t be eating it all the time, but it’s a pretty awesome treat.

Before I get to the recipe I want to mention I’d read that some people who’d made this had problems with it firming up.  The first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of leaving out the tahini – I didn’t have any on hand, and I’m not a huge fan of it anyway.  I didn’t have any problems with the firmness factor. For the next two batches I reduced the oil a bit.  I blended one of the them for the full six minutes, and it was the perfect texture – creamy, but it held together.  I didn’t blend the second batch for the full time, and it was much harder to work with.  It never really firmed up, even with a longer baking time.  So make sure to blend this for the full six minutes, unless you’re going to use it in another recipe.  I ended up doing that, with great results.  I’ll post about it tomorrow!

Here’s the version of the recipe that I made.  Because of the soaking and draining times, you do need to plan ahead for this.  Like the Almond Feta, it may seem complicated, but it’s actually really easy to make if you’re just patient.

Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese (adapted from Vegetarian Times)
makes 10 ounce log

3/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns or coarsely ground black pepper

Place cashews in large bowl; cover with 3 inches water.  Soak overnight.

Drain liquid, rinse cashews under cold water, and drain again.  Puree cashews, oil, lemon juice, salt and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor for 6 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.  [Make sure to blend for 6 minutes for a firmer texture.]

Place strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth.  Spoon cashew mixture into cheesecloth.  Fold sides of cloth over cheese, and form into 6-inch-long oval loaf.  Twist ends of cloth and secure with rubber bands.  [Don't worry if you can't get this into an oval loaf shape.  Even if it's more round, it'll still work just fine.]  Set in strainer over bowl, and let stand 12 hours at room temperature.  Discard excess liquid.  Chill.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Unwrap cheese, and scrape into 7-inch-long log on cheesecloth.  Rewrap, and twist ends to secure.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Bake 35 minutes, or until cheese becomes set on outside but still soft, turning occasionally.  Cool, and chill.

Unwrap cheese.  Sprinke with peppercorns, pressing to adhere.  [I just used fresh cracked pepper over the cheese.  You could also roll this in herbs or paprika, like this.]

Enjoy!

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121 Responses to “Peppered Cashew Goat “Cheese””

  1. That looks so delicious! I need a good cheese/cracker cheese. Definitely saving this to make later.

  2. I made this a few months ago and really liked it. I definitely need to make it again! Such a nice treat to put out for a brunch or a dinner party.

  3. Cheezly tastes good on crackers. It’s just nearly impossible to find in the U.S.

  4. I have been wanting a recipe for vegan goat cheese forever. Thanks for posting it! Happy Mofoing!

  5. I feel like a lot of those cheeses can also be so expensive – especially if you add shipping in. I’ve wanted to try Cheezly for a while. Good to know that it would be worth the cost! I think I should maybe just take a trip to London to get some. That seems justifiable!

  6. looks great! do you think i would like it if i never liked REAL goat cheese? b/c you say it doesn’t taste the same…haha

  7. Yes! You should try it – Ryan hated goat cheese, and he really liked this.

  8. Great first MoFo post! I’ve been wanting to make that recipe so badly but just haven’t, it looks so good.

  9. oh man, i used to love goat cheese so much. i need to make this… even if it’s not exactly the same, i’ll take whatever is close!

  10. Oooh yum! Must give this a try. Do they have to be Raw Cashews I wonder? never seen them here before – just the roasted kind.
    Happy Mofo’ing!
    :)

  11. I made this, unbaked, & put it on a pizza. Similar verdict from me: OM NOM NOM NOM NOM MMMM YUMMY

  12. wow this looks awesome and sounds fairly easy. can’t wait to try it out on some omnis.

  13. That is a beautiful log of cheese! I will make that one day.

  14. thanks for posting this. I remember that issue and wanting to try the cheeses but now those issues have been passed on to someone else. I must try this!

  15. Yum, I’m going to have to try that recipe, it looks delicious!

  16. that sounds really really good, i’m going to have to try it!

  17. That cheese looks so freaking good right now!

  18. Hi, Jeni! That’s a good question… You might be able to try it with roasted. I’m not sure if you’d need to soak them longer, and the taste might be a little different, but it’s probably worth a try!

  19. I had never seen this before and I love goat cheese! Thank you so much!

  20. That is such a wonderful picture! I am invited to an omni birthday party on Monday. I think I’m gonna bring that cheese.

  21. Wow, that looks great! Definitely going to give this a go. I imagine it would be good added to cheesey cooking too. On pizza does sound great!

  22. YES! YES! YES! I’ve wanted to try that recipe out for awhile but thought it might be just another disappointing cheese substitute. After reading that, I want to make some right now. It’s definitely being added to ever-lengthening list!

  23. Gosh, gotta make this.
    Thank you for the recipe!
    My MoFo’ing pledge is to muster up enough courage to tackle the making of vegan cheese.
    You heard me!
    I will make cheese!

  24. This recipe is SO good. It is really hard to stop eating this stuff. Love the picture and the presentation =)

  25. Kim, you are THE BEST!!!

  26. Karen is the best!!!!

  27. I made this when that issue first came out and now I think I’ll have to put it on my to do list for this week because it was amazing both times…and I think I have the perfect amount of cashews hanging about.

    And that picture is beyond beautiful!!

  28. I STILL haven’t made the goat cheese. What is wrong with me?!

  29. This is genius. Thanks for the post – good stuff. I used to love warm, battered and baked goat cheese medallions. I will certainly try this.

  30. I made this and it was surprisingly goatly and tasty! Great! :)

  31. Hi, spaceage! I’m glad you liked it! I think I like it too much – I can eat way too much of that stuff!

  32. tastes nice but fell to pieces.

    How much tahini was in the original?

  33. Dewanda Smith Johnson 05. Feb, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    This looks amazing!

  34. Thanks, Dewanda!

  35. Hi, Claire! I’m not sure how tahini was in the original (can’t find the magazine now, of course…), but I think the recipe is online somewhere. It’s really important that you blend this for at least the full 6 minutes, or longer, depending on your food processor. I’ve had it fall apart on me too, but it was when I rushed it and didn’t blend it for the full amount of time. You can always try baking it longer as well. Hope that helps!

  36. I really love goat cheese desserts, their are awesome. If I have guests, I just make goat cheese deserts and they love it. Are there any other good uses for goat cheese?

  37. I’ve seen (and made, too) quite a few uncheeses, but I think this is the first one I see that’s baked. Cashew “cheeses” rarely disappoint, but I bet it would resemble goat cheese more with the tahini…

  38. I will be making this cheeze! The cheeze recipes always look so tricky but I think your directions are terrific.

    Keep up the great work with your site :)

  39. This looks like the perfect partner for a bottle of red wine. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  40. I’m totally making this for a Thanksgiving appetizer this year. Do you know how long it keeps? If I make it the day before, do you think it’d still be as good?

  41. Hi, Manda! I’ve kept this in the fridge for a few days, so you should definitely be okay to make it the day before.

  42. This looks amazing! I’m definitely going to have to try this soon. I’m a huge fan of cheese (well the way it tastes anyway), and agree that commercially available vegan cheeses just don’t always cut it!

  43. I am making this tonight to go with savoury sage pumpkin puree and wild rice pilaf in wraps. I can only imagine how delicious it will be…
    *imagines*

  44. Hi, do you know if this melts in a similar way to actual goats cheese? Say, if it were to be used to make caramelised red onion and goat cheese tartlets?

  45. Hi, xherbivorex! This probably won’t melt exactly like regular goat cheese would, but I think it should work find in your recipe. That sounds really yummy!

  46. I am really excited to make this but I have a question. In the directions, after it says let stand at room temp for 12 hours, it says to Chill. How long should I chill it before baking it?>

  47. Hi VeganFoodRocks! I usually don’t chill it before baking. I’m not sure if you’d want to put it in the fridge after the 12 hours are up if you won’t be baking it for a while. I chill it after it’s baked, but I’ve never had a problem not chilling it beforehand.

  48. Just making this now but I have a query – when you say “Rewrap, and twist ends to secure” are you rewrapping it in the cheesecloth and baking it in the cheesecloth??

  49. Hi, Jeni! Yes, I bake it in the cheesecloth. Hope you enjoy it!

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