Like many of you, I’m often wary of cheese alternatives. But this homemade dairy-free Swiss cheese won me over. It’s quite delicious, more nutritious than most store-bought varieties, and takes just 15 minutes of hands-on time to make! Once set, it slices and shreds quite well, and adds that perfectly pungent, salty flavor to sandwiches, vegan cheese boards, and all types of recipes.
Homemade Dairy-Free Swiss Cheese that’s Unbelievably Easy
This dairy-free Swiss cheese recipe was share with us over fifteen years ago by The Vegan Chef, Beverley Lynn Bennett. We’ve updated the post and adapted the recipe ever-so-slightly, but have stayed true to her unique formula. And we have a few quick ingredient notes.
- Agar: Remember that this is the flakes. If using agar powder, you will need much less. We haven’t tested it, but if using powder, around 1 1/2 tablespoons might work fine. Agar is what helps the dairy-free Swiss cheese set up into a block, and is used as a vegan alternative to gelatin. Without it this recipe makes more of a thick dairy-fee Swiss cheese sauce.
- Nuts: The blend of cashews and almonds creates a great flavor and creaminess. In a pinch, you can use all cashews or all almonds, but the latter option will have a more pronounced flavor. As noted, do not pre-soak the nuts. They absorb a lot of the liquid in the recipe. If you are using soaked nuts, you will need to reduce the water by quite a bit.
- Miso: This pungent condiment adds an umami flavor that helps with the cheesiness. You can find it in most grocery stores, sometimes refrigerated, and sometimes in the Asian food section. Check with the store staff if you don’t see it. Most mainstream varieties are soy-based, but there are soy-free varieties, too. South River Miso makes chickpea miso and azuki bean miso, and Miso Master makes chickpea miso.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Swiss Cheese Alternative
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 1½ cups water
- ⅓ cup agar flakes
- ½ cup raw cashews (do not soak)
- ⅓ cup blanched almonds (do not soak)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ⅓ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon light or mellow miso (use soy-free, if needed)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Place the water and agar flakes in a small saucepan, and simmer over low heat to thoroughly dissolve the agar flakes, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the cashews, almonds, and oil in a blender or food processor and process for 1 to 2 minutes, until a smooth paste forms.
- Scrape down the sides of your blender or food processor, and add the milk beverage, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Process for 1 minute, or until smooth.
- Add the dissolved agar mixture to your blender or food processor and process for an additional 2 minutes.
- Lightly oil a 3-cup mold, plastic container, or small loaf pan. Pour the cheese mixture into the mold. If holes are desired, place a few chopsticks or thicker heat-safe and food-safe tubes in the mixture at various angles.
- Cover the dairy-free Swiss cheese mixture, and refrigerate overnight.
- Un-mold the cheese alternative, and enjoy it sliced or shredded (easier if there are no holes in it!) in your favorite recipes, on sandwiches, with crackers, etc.
- Store the Swiss cheese alternative in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 to 10 days.