I'm obsessed with this vegan cheese log recipe right now! It's super smooth and creamy texture is as good or better than anything that can be found in the fancy (expensive) specialty vegan cheese shops around Portland.
Why I love this cheese recipe:
- It tastes amazing and the creamy texture of the tofu and cashew base is addictive.
- It's versatile. The base cheese mixture can be flavored and coated in so many different ways - the only limit is your imagination. It can be formed into logs, cheeseballs, mini-cheeseballs, wedges, or put into a container for spreading like flavored cream cheese.
- You can make this as fancy as you'd like and it makes a great addition to a cheese or charcuterie board.
Steps to Make This Recipe
- Drain and press the tofu (see directions below)
- Make the base cheese recipe and refrigerate for 4-6 hours
- Meanwhile, prepare your mix-in and coating ingredients
- Remove cheese from fridge and add your mix-in ingredients.
- Roll into a log or ball and then coat with additional toppings
- Keep chilled in the fridge until 15-20 minutes before serving.
How to Press Tofu
- Lay a couple of folded up paper towels on a plate
- Place the tofu block on top and cover with additional paper towels
- Put a heavy plate on top
- Weigh this down, I like to use a few heavy cookbooks.
- Check on it after 30 minutes and change out the paper towels if necessary.
If you put too much weight on the plates your tofu may break or split, but for this recipe that's fine because we're going to throw it in the blender anyway.
Making the Base Cheese Recipe
Once the tofu is nicely pressed, break it up with your hands and throw it in a blender with the soaked and drained cashews and the rest of the ingredients. Then blend the ever-loving crap out of it. I use a Vitamix and because there isn't much liquid in the recipe it takes a good bit of working it with the tamper to get it all nice and creamy. I start off on the lowest setting and work my way up to the highest. This takes about 3 minutes.
At this point, it still tastes pretty tofu-ey, but don't worry because once you add the mix-ins and roll it in coating that tofu taste will disappear.
Scrape the cheese mixture into an air-tight container and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. I'll often do this step the day before I intend to serve the cheese, but it can definitely be done all in one day.
Because I like variety, I'll often split this base recipe up to make three or four different flavored cheeses. For this recipe I split it into thirds to make three logs, but you could also make cheese balls.
This time around I made the following vegan cheese log varieties:
- A super easy Everything Bagel cheese
- A tapenade style cheese flavored with olives, sundried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar that was rolled in a coating of chopped walnuts, parsley and toasted capers.
- A smoky cheese that reminds me of something my mother used to make involving dried beef. This beef-less version is flavored with onions, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce and then rolled in smoky pecans, parsley and dried cranberries.
The flavor combinations are endless though. These taste great rolled in fresh basil and other herbs or marinated with oil and herbs like a Chevre.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe works best if you start with the right type of tofu. I find that extra-firm tofu works best. I've also tried this with super-firm tofu and the results were comparable, but I had a little more trouble working with it in the blender.
This is definitely one of those recipes that works best with a high-speed blender. I can't vouch for the results using anything less and imagine that it would be difficult to achieve the creamy texture using a basic blender.
Absolutely, the creamy texture of the finished cheese really requires removing as much liquid as possible from the tofu. If you're like me and don't own a tofu press, follow the instructions in this post using two plates, some paper towels and something heavy to put on top.
1. Lay a couple of folded up paper towels on a plate
2. Place the tofu block on top and cover with additional paper towels
3. Put a heavy plate on top
4. Weigh this down, I like to use a few heavy cookbooks.
5. Check on it after 30 minutes and change out the paper towels if necessary.
Absolutely! Go ahead and get creative with it! My only caution would be not to add more than a few teaspoons of liquid as this will change the texture and result in a much softer cheese (unless that's what you're going for).
Keep these wrapped in parchment or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.