Recipe: Easiest Vegan Cheese

With my Year of Nothing New Challenge just around the corner, my thoughtful husband bought me the most perfect early birthday present:  A refurbished food processor.  Up until this point, I always made Vegan Nut Cheeses in my blender.  The poor machine would smoke and whine, and the cheeses always came out a little grainy.  Vegan cheese is super easy to make as long as you have a decent food processor, and I am so thrilled to say that now I do.

It makes me happy that he took the extra step to buy a refurbished used food processor, too.  It feels like new to me.  Everything works perfectly, and I didn’t have to painstakingly clean it like I do with my thrift store finds.  It means so much to me that he values my ambition to live more simply and create less waste.

So, as long as you have a food processor, some raw nuts, and some flavorings, you’re all set to make a creamy, spreadable nut cheese or smooth, cheesy sauce or dressing.  The great part of making nut cheeses is that you just throw the ingredients in a blender!  You can taste and adjust the flavors as you go along, so it’s almost impossible to not make something delicious!

You probably have a lot of the ingredients for vegan cheese on hand!
You probably have a lot of the ingredients for vegan cheese on hand!


Cashews are the typical go-to nut for vegan cheese, and I almost always include some.  They are relatively affordable, and have a great texture and subtle taste.  I like to add a few macadamia nuts sometimes because they are unbelievably creamy.  Their taste is very distinct, though.  Brazil nuts are more savory, and they make a nice addition to cut the sweetness of cashews.  Almonds are a great choice, too.  They make the cheese a little crumblier like feta.

As for flavorings, it’s important to add something acidic, like lemon juice or vinegar, and some salt.  I add nutritional yeast because it is the cheesiest taste in the vegan universe and it has loads of B12.  Add it a little at the time, though, because the flavor is strong.  If you haven’t added nutritional yeast to your vegan pantry yet, you should give it a try.  It provides hard to find B Vitamins, and it tastes great in everything from pastas to popcorn.  I like Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast because it’s easy to find at any health food store, and it doesn’t come in massive containers like the nutritional supplement brands.

I also always add garlic because I practically eat it by the bulb and couldn’t imagine a garlic-free vegan cheese.  If you’re a vampire or something, though, you can totally skip it.

I usually make my cheese the consistency of cream cheese or chevre.
I usually make my cheese the consistency of cream cheese or chevre.

After that, just add the flavors that sound good to you!  I like to make an herby chevre style cheese with lots of rosemary and some thyme.  A little horseradish makes a zippy sandwich spread.  I’ve added smoked paprika.  I’ve thinned the cheese a little and added jalapenos for a spicy queso.  You can even make spinach and artichoke dip with nut cheese.

Yes, I do eat this right off the spoon.
Yes, I do eat this right off the spoon.

Here’s my basic recipe for vegan nut cheese:

(this recipe makes 2 cups of vegan cheese)


  • 2 c. raw nuts: I like cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, and/or brazil nuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 heaping T chopped garlic
  • herbs and spices to taste


  1. Soak the raw nuts overnight.
  2. Add the nuts and a bit of the soaking water to the food processor and begin chopping.
  3. Add the garlic and other ingredients that will need extra blending to ensure a smooth texture.
  4. Add the lemon juice (or vinegar) as the nuts blend.
  5. Toss in the salt and nutritional yeast.
  6. Scrape down the bowl and check the texture.  If it seems dry or like it isn’t going to get smooth enough add more liquid.
  7. Add any herbs and flavorings that you want to be blended smoothly into the cheese.  If you want chunks of herbs, wait until the mixture is almost done blending.
  8. Fold in any additional flavorings that you’d like to remain chunky.  For example, this is a good time to add chopped spinach and artichokes for spin dip.
  9. Refrigerate for up to a week.

If you want to make a cheesy sauce for mac n cheese or a salad dressing, just thin with additional liquid.  You can also bake the cheese at about 350 degrees for an hour to create a rind and make a sort of slicing cheese.  While nut cheeses can’t mimic the strong, distinctive flavors of some dairy cheeses, they are a wonderful cruelty-free substitute.  Even my cheesetarian daughter likes them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *