Friday, August 19, 2011

Uncheesin' It Up

It seems like the main barrier that prevents many vegetarians from making the leap to veganism is their love of cheese.  After a little over a year of vegan cooking, I can see their point. Cheese is hard to duplicate in vegan form. Especially bubbly, stringy pizza cheese! For some, Daiya is the answer to their faux cheese prayers, but I can't get past its funky smell. And I've been pretty lazy about trying the other vegan cheeses out there (although I've heard good things about Follow Your Heart and should really pick some up.) 

Lately I've been missing cheese more than ever, so I decided to try my hand at making it myself, with the help of the Uncheese Cookbook.

First I made the Mostarella, a vegan take on buffalo mozzarella. It took only minutes to prepare. After firming up somewhat in the refrigerator overnight, it had a creamy, spreadable consistency.

I made bruschette caprese -- toasted baguette slices topped with a layer of Mostarella, a slice of heirloom tomato, and some basil from my garden. To make a meal out of it, I served it with garlic-marinated green olives and some broccoli salad (recipe from Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations.)  The result was heavenly. The dairy cheese wasn't missed at all!

We also had good results using the Mostarella in grilled cheese sandwiches. Melty and creamy, yum.

I also made the Fabuloso Kale Casserole. As opposed to some casseroles where everything is mixed together, this one has two distinct layers.

For the bottom layer, you make a cheezy sauce and stir it into cooked brown rice. Then you add a layer of sauteed kale, mushrooms, red onion, and carrots. I couldn't get enough of this casserole. The bottom layer tasted like the cheesiest, creamiest risotto ever, but the veggies made it seem healthy.  With a few splashes of Tabasco, it's a perfect all-in-one meal.

My cheese cravings still haven't been completely satisfied, so I'll be making more Uncheeses soon!

What's your favorite vegan cheese?


  1. That casserole looks amazing! Is there a recipe somewhere or is it one of those that you just throw together? Looks simple enough and I've got a ton of kale on hand, just need to get my hands on more nooch to make a cheezy sauce.

    I think Daiya smells funky too, but so far it's been the best I've tried. Therefore, it's been hard to give up the real stuff. I'm working on it though. :)

  2. Wow, great stuff. The caprese salad seems awesome. FYH is the only vegan cheese I've tried and I like it well enough but I don't like to buy it often. I'd love to try making my own.

  3. if you think Daiya smells repulsive, smell FTH... pure vomit stench... i can use Daiya on occasion but only like it baked then broiled a little... vegan cheese is not there yet IMHO (except for Tofutti Cream Cheese)... i'm sure in a few years there will be something heavenly, for now i just tend to skip the crap :)

  4. tofu cottage - the casserole recipe is from the Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak.

  5. The Fabuloso Kale Casserole looks amazing! Yum!

  6. As you know i am not vegan, but a vegetarian. But as a veggie, I am curious to try vegan cheese. Those vegan cheeses I've tried in the past have put me off completely, the vomit like smell.

    Anyway, I have this book and have yet to make uncheese from it. I think you may have spurred me on. Question is which to make first?!

  7. Daiya is the only cheese I can stand, and even that I can only take so much of. I prefer nootch cheese over them all.

    The casserole looks & sounds really yummy!

  8. I've been curious about the Uncheese Cookbook. I've heard a lot of good things about it, and after reading your post, I'm even more intrigued. I'll have to see if they have it at the library!

    My favorite vegan cheese is definitely the hickory smoked spread from We Can't Say It's Cheese. It's made from oatmeal and is a lot less processed than many of the non-dairy cheeses out there. It's great for spreading onto crackers, using as a dip, or smearing onto tortillas for a quesadilla. I've tried the cheddar and Mexican versions as well, but nothing beats the hickory flavor. I've heard that they recently started carrying sour cream, which I'm excited to try when I get the opportunity.

  9. I should have guessed it was in the Uncheese Cookbook. I was immediately intimidated by the book and never made anything from it. Time to pull it off the shelf. Thanks!