Many years ago, there was a wonderful little bakeshop called C’est La Vegan. The store’s founder, Kim, created beautiful treats like this Vegan Strawberry Tart. But she also knew her way around savory dishes. This dairy-free goat cheese alternative was one of her more popular recipes, which made the rounds on the internet. She was kind enough to share it with us back then, and today we’re giving the recipe a big refresh with some more options.
It’s a wonderfully flavorful and rich vegan “goat cheese” that can be enjoyed simply as a spread, crumbled on salads, or used in recipes. Since it’s nut-based and contains no additives, it holds up rather well when baked, or even stirred into sauces.
Special Diet Notes: Vegan Goat Cheese Alternative
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, paleo, and vegetarian.
- ¾ cup cashews (see Nut Note below)
- ¼ cup oil (see Oil Note below)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 to 1¼ teaspoons salt, to taste
- ½ tablespoon cracked pepper or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (optional)
- Put the cashews in a medium bowl and cover with several inches of water. Let soak for 6 to 8 hours.
- Drain the cashews and put them in your food processor or blender. Add the oil, lemon juice, water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Taste and add more salt, if desired.
- Preheat your oven to 200°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Scrape the cashew mixture onto one side of a piece of cheesecloth. Roll it up in the cheesecloth to form a log, twist the ends and fold them under to lightly secure. Place the log on your prepared baking sheet. (You are baking on low, so the cheesecloth is fine in the oven).
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cheese is set, but still soft.
- Gently remove the cheesecloth, and sprinkle with peppercorns or herbs, if desired.
- Line a sieve with cheesecloth, and spoon the cashew mixture into the center of the cheesecloth. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and twist to secure the cheesecloth around the cashew mixture. Set it back in the sieve and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
- Turn the dairy-free goat cheese out onto a plate and peel off the cheesecloth to serve.
Oil Note: The original recipe uses non-GMO canola oil, but rice bran oil, extra-light olive oil (not extra-virgin!), safflower oil, or another neutral-tasting oil will work nicely.
Tahini Option: The people at Vegetarian Times add 1 tablespoon tahini to this blend. This can add a little "cheesiness" to the flavor, but some people don't love the bitterness of tahini. Try it if you like!