A vegetarian-going-vegan's attempt at a DIY lifestyle both behind the camera and in the kitchen.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rather Quick Rather Raw Vegan Cheese

The so called "cheese" project that went down today was really quite a quick process.  Hopefully this post can be a reflection of that; concise but resulting in deliciousness. (The only part that takes any real time is letting the sunflower seeds soak for at least four hours...start doing that now...don't even finish reading this post- GO SOAK THEM)

I by no means live a "raw" lifestyle.  Today, in fact, was the first time I ever made something and thought, "hey, this is what all those people would call raw."  I have made numerous full meals that would fall under that raw category, but it's just never something I dabbled in.

But here it is, a raw, vegan cheese.  Which really is not cheese.  But hey, half of those orangey-yellow things you buy in the dairy aisle aren't either.  Yumm...cheese product.  This is just as worthy of the title CHEESE as those things are...maybe even more so.

This recipe uses solely sunflower seeds as the main ingredient.  I've seen many different recipes, some call for a mix of nuts and seeds, some just nuts, and some just seeds.  My goal in making this was to end up with about the same amount and cost (or cheaper) of a package of store bought cream cheese.  Sunflower seeds seemed to be the cheapest way to go, and actually ended up allowing for a cheaper than cream cheese result.  Mix and match, throw in what ever you have around (nut or seed wise), consult the almighty internet for what others seem to like...but know that even just the lowly, cheap sunflower seed creates a magnificent vegan cheese.

and here we go...

  •  1 cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked in water for at least four hours)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw salt
  • juice from one lemon (hand squeezed)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary (optional)
 Throw everything in a food processor or blender but the water and the rosemary.  Blend. Keep blending.  You will want to blend until you remove all the grittiness from the sunflower seeds.  It might take awhile, but it will become creamy.  Add a little water at a time, do this until you reach the consistency that you want.  ( I ended up with a nice cream cheese consistency from 1/4 cup water) You may even need more than a 1/4 cup of water.  When it is nice and creamy, and the consistency that you find desirable, throw in the rosemary and blend  for just another few seconds.  Done.

The lemon taste should be pretty noticeable right away.  If you don't like the tang, put it in the refrigerator and let it sit for an hour or so...the tang will mostly go away.  If you dig the tang, like I do, put the cheese on something and eat it.  Crackers, bagels, homemade bread (like my wife's carrot and roasted red pepper white bread), or even corn chips are wonderful companions.  I use my cheese as a replacement for cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sour cream and even feta cheese...throw it on some tin foil, flatten it to about a half inch and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.  It will dry out just enough to work as feta would on a Greek salad or on a veggie wrap. 

Regardless of how long this post may have gotten, it really is a quick recipe that ends up being extremely versatile and more importantly extremely delicious.  This will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.  But good luck making it last a full day...make a double batch.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!

    I added you. You have a super interesting blog. Keep up the good job!

    Cheers, Rebeca.