Image by tookapic from Pixabay
If you’re having a tough time giving up cheese, you’re not alone. Many people have the same struggle when they shift towards a plant-based diet, even when they are aware of the negative impacts on the planet, animals, and their health. Dairy cheese has a very high water and carbon footprint (since a lot of cow’s milk is required to produce a small amount of cheese). It also causes great suffering to female cows and baby calves, and the high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol put humans at risk of developing health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.
If you’re ready to break the habit and discover delicious and healthy plant-based alternatives, here are some ideas to get you started:
Try some homemade cheese recipes
- This recipe for a cashew chèvre is a winner: the natural fat content of the cashews, the added salt, and other ingredients like nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and tahini help to create a really satisfying flavour profile.
- Try some tofu ‘feta’. This recipe is really easy and tasty, and has a high protein content.
- Need a rich, creamy sauce for pasta? This vegan cheese sauce recipe has potatoes as its main ingredient, with carrots for colour – but you’d never know it wasn’t a cheese sauce!
Eat more high-fat whole foods
- If you crave the richness of cheese but want a healthy plant-based alternative, try incorporating more high-fat foods such as avocados, nuts, and coconut into your cooking. Guacamole with a sandwich, roasted nuts and seeds sprinkled on a salad, and coconut milk stirred into soup.
Explore your local supermarket
- Nowadays, there are all kinds of vegan cheese options available in the supermarkets: from cream cheese to mozzarella, parmesan and, sandwich slices.
Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese
VEGETARIAN TIMES EDITORSAPR 2, 2009
Cashews become very creamy and smooth when blended, which makes them perfect for this cheese. It’s aged at room temperature, then baked just until dry to the touch.
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 6 Tbs. canola oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. tahini
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns or coarsely ground black pepper
1. Place cashews in large bowl; cover with 3 inches water. Soak overnight.
2. Drain liquid, rinse cashews under cold water, and drain again. Purée cashews, oil, lemon juice, tahini, salt, and 2 Tbs. water in food processor 6 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
3. Place large strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon cashew mixture into cheesecloth. Fold sides of cloth over cheese, and form into 6-inch-long oval loaf. Twist ends of cloth and secure with rubber bands. Set in strainer over bowl, and let stand 12 hours at room temperature. Discard excess liquid. Chill.
4. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap cheese, and scrape into 7-inch-long log on cheesecloth. Rewrap, and twist ends to secure. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes, or until cheese becomes set on outside but still soft, turning occasionally. Cool, and chill.
5. Unwrap cheese. Sprinkle with peppercorns, pressing to adhere.
- Calories: 140
- Carbohydrate Content: 4 g
- Fat Content: 14 g
- Fiber Content: 0.5 g
- Protein Content: 2 g
- Saturated Fat Content: 2 g
- Sodium Content: 293 mg
- Sugar Content: 0.5 g