This vegan goats cheese recipe is made from cashews and simple to prepare. With the option of using agar, it’s easy to make a tasty, tangy and crumbly dairy free cheese!
This recipe is not fermented which makes it easy, approachable and doesn’t require any fancy techniques or ingredients!
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Is Goat Cheese Dairy Free?
Goat cheese is made from goat milk, a type of dairy; so no, goat’s cheese is not dairy free. While many people associate cow’s milk as being “dairy”, humans consume the milk from a variety of animals including goats and sheep (most commonly).
Do Vegans Eat Goat Cheese?
Since goat cheese is made from goat milk, an animal secretion/ by-product, it is not vegan and therefore vegans do not eat goat cheese.
Sometimes there’s confusion about what the term vegan means, but it refers to a lifestyle that avoids the use of animals in any way possible. Some people use the term “plant-based” which doesn’t have a specific definition, therefore someone on a plant-based diet may choose to consume non-vegan products like goats cheese. “Plant-based” focuses on what you eat whereas veganism is about ethics and justice for animals.
What is Vegan Goat Cheese?
Vegan goat cheese is any product or recipe that mimics the flavor and texture of non-vegan goat cheese. This recipe uses cashews and some salty, tangy ingredients to get that signature goat’s cheese flavor.
There are other vegan goat cheese recipes that require fermentation and use probiotics. While this adds depth of flavor and added tanginess, it’s not necessary to make a delicious cashew goat cheese. It may also be expensive to purchase probiotics, and fermentation is time consuming.
This recipe can be ready to eat in as little as 15 minutes if you don’t use agar (or up to 2 hours if you do and need to let it set).
How to Make Cashew Goat Cheese
Making cashew goat cheese is a simple process. It starts with soaked cashews. Place these in a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredients and blend to smooth.
There are two options for this recipe:
- Use agar to help “set” the goat cheese. This option creates a dairy free goat cheese that crumbles nicely. Agar is similar to gelatin and helps the goat cheese form into whatever shape you like. The agar also makes crumbling the cheese easier.
- Skip the agar and use some plant-based milk. This option tastes exactly like the agar version, but will be a softer, spreadable texture. Without agar the goat cheese is difficult to crumble.
Letting the goat cheese sit in the fridge overnight, or even for two days before serving helps the flavors come together and brings out some tanginess found in a good vegan goat cheese substitute.
If you don’t have time, the non-agar version can be served right away (although cold is best). The agar takes about 2 hours to set so plan your cooking around this needed wait time.
How to Crumble Goat Cheese
Agar helps create a vegan goats cheese that crumbles. To crumble goat cheese, I recommend using a fork to gently pull off small pieces of the cheese.
As noted above, if you want the cheese to crumble, agar is a must. Agar provides a firmer texture in the cheese that allows it to hold its shape as you crumble. Even with agar, the cheese will be soft (like non-vegan goat cheese).
If you want to make a goat cheese “log” (as seen in the video) agar is needed.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Goats Cheese
Option 1: Using Agar
- 1 ½ tablespoons agar powder
- ½ cup cold water
Option 2: Without Agar
- ¼ cup plant-based milk (I use unflavored, unsweetened soy)
- Soak the cashews and sunflower seeds (overnight in the fridge or in boiling water for 10 minutes).1 cup raw cashews, ⅓ cup raw sunflower seeds
- Drain the water from the cashews and sunflower seeds and place into a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, miso paste, extra firm tofu and salt.2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon miso paste, 90 grams extra firm tofu, 1 teaspoon salt
- Continue following the directions for using either (1) with agar or (2) without agar.
- If using agar, place agar powder into a small pot with cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes then bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 5-8 minutes until all the agar is dissolved.1 ½ tablespoons agar powder, ½ cup cold water
- Add the agar into blender or food processor (with the already partially blended cashew cheese) and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Quickly transfer the cashew cheese mixture into a container of your choice. The cheese takes the shape of whatever you place it in.
- If you’d like to make a “log” of cashew cheese, pour the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and carefully roll the plastic wrap around the cheese, into the desired shape.
- Place the cheese into the fridge and let sit for at least 2 hours or until the agar is set and the cheese feels firm. If possible, let sit overnight for best flavor.
- If not using agar, add plant-based milk into the blender or food processor with partially blended cashew cheese.¼ cup plant-based milk
- Blend until smooth.
- Scoop out the mixture into a container/ bowl and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes, or until cold, before serving.
More Vegan Cheese Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.