Back to the Cheese Board

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The great quest for good vegan/vegetarian cheese recipes continues. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my jack cheese recipes made with cashews. But sometimes I don’t have cashews. They aren’t always available here, and besides, they can be pricey. So I’m always on the lookout for a good recipe to try–and then to change. That’s just the way I am.

Jules Aron’s Vegan Cheese: Simple, Delicious, Plant-Based Recipes  is the latest addition to my cheese-making library. You know how cauliflower seems to be the go-to veggie for almost alternative everything these days? Even I jumped on the bandwagon, making cauliflower steaks and cauliflower rice; the latter one of my favorite additions to soups and Chinese food. When I saw her recipe “Cauliflower Jack,” I knew I had to try it, and the sooner the better.

You may remember an early attempt using a vegetable (in that case, sweet potato) along with oatmeal as the base for a vegan cheese. (If not, check it out here. At the time, I was okay with it. But then I found other–better–recipes, and I’ve not made it again. But I couldn’t resist the call of this cauliflower cheese. It’s nut-free, seed-free, and soy-free.

And it’s super easy. Some people find having to work with agar-agar or kappa carrageenan daunting. Plus, you may not find them available locally; I order them. This recipe calls for neither. You will need vegan gelatin, such as Lieber’s vegan gelatin, which may need to be ordered. If you don’t care if it’s vegan, you can use Knox. The other ingredients–cauliflower, refined coconut oil, lime juice, sea salt, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powder, and chives–you may have in your pantry or can get at almost any market.

Cauli Jack

The hardest part is to steam the cauliflower and melt the coconut oil (if solid). Seriously. That’s the most difficult part. While that’s working, bloom the gelatin. When the cauliflower is tender, throw it and everything else except the gelatin and chives into a blender and whir until smooth. Then add the gelatin and chives. Pour into a container, cover, and wait 4 hours. Okay, waiting may be the hardest part. But trust me, it’s worth it.

This is amazing. And it MELTS. So many vegan cheeses I’ve tried say they melt. But they don’t really. They soften, but they don’t melt in the traditional sense. This one does.

It melts!

But most important, it tastes good. It is a bit bland to me, but that can be fixed once you have the basic canvas down. I tried making a pepper jack with it, but without what I would call success. Oh, it tastes good (and melts), but I just haven’t found the combination to give it the kick I want. I’m definitely going to keep trying. Keep in mind that cauliflower on its own lacks flavor (at least to me). So that leaves lots of room for taste adjustments. Which I intend to take advantage of.

If you’re interested in vegan cheeses, I highly recommend Aron’s book.

© Copyright 2017 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook
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2 Comments for this entry

  • Crys Wallace

    What made you decide to explore vegan cheeses? You have me curious.

  • Ida Walker

    It started primarily as the result of a health issue and my love for animals. I wanted to add more vegan and vegetarian foods to my diet. Cheese is one of my great downfalls (though I don’t really think of it that way!). I love cheese. A lot. I’ve made diary cheese (cow’s milk and goat’s milk) for a long time, and I wanted something new. It has evolved to fulfill my love of discovery and exploration.

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