16 Easy Dairy-Free Cheeses

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Of Planted Families

Welcome! My name is Catrina and I'm the face behind Planted Families. I started making my own dairy-free cheeses when we connected my daughter's eczema issues to dairy intake. There are a lot of dairy-free cheeses on the market, but I started experimenting for fun at home using whole foods. Turns out it's really easy to create great alternatives, and the recipes in this e-book have become staples in my family's diet.

The goal of this book was to compile all my favorite "cheese" recipes in one place, and to showcase how easy they really are to make. I encourage you to try out these recipes, and feel free to reach out to me with any questions or to share your results!

Recipe Index Hard Cheeses basic american tofu feta imitation parmesan

5 7 8

Soft Cheeses almond goat cheese cashew ciliegine cashew ricotta cannoli filling almond mozzarella

9 10 12 14 15

Creamy Cheeses & Sauces tofu sour cream nut-free cheese sauce basic cream cheese maple walnut cream cheese melty pizza cheese queso white cheddar sauce

17 19 20 22 23 25 26

Key Ingredients Nutritional Yeast: An inactive vegan yeast that is usually grown on sugar cane. It is high in protein and vitamin B12, which typically is only found in animal products. "Nooch" as it is sometimes called, gives a cheesey taste to recipes. There are fortified and unfortified varieties. I buy the fortified kind for the extra vitamins. It can be found at any grocery store or online.

Coconut Milk: When one of my recipes calls for coconut milk, I do not mean the kind you would pour on your cereal. To make cheeses, you need fat, and I have found that full fat coconut milk is definitely the best for these cheeses. Try to get the variety without any added ingredients and just 100% coconut milk. The recipes can be made with any other milk as well, but they might lack a little creaminess.

Psyllium Husk: Is a powder made from the fibrous husks of the Plantago Ovata plant found in India. It is used to thicken foods and is also a great source of fiber.

Lemon or Vinegar: The reason for lemon or vinegars in these recipes is because cheese has an inherent sharpness to it. Just a tiny amount can create a more "cheese-like" experience for your tastebuds! Agar Agar: A seaweed that is ground up into a powder which is used as a thickener. It is very similar to gelatin, and I prefer the powdered version instead of the flakes.

Tapioca Starch, Arrowroot or Cornstarch: These ingredients are for a gooey texture. They do need to be cooked to activate their full potential and can be used interchangeably. Note: If you ever would like to know which brands I prefer, reach out to me and I will send you a list of my favorites :)


Basic American Cheese No blender needed for this one, just a saucepan and one special ingredient called agar agar!

2 cups full fat coconut milk 1.5 Tablespoons powdered agar agar (not flakes) 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast 3/4 teaspoon pink salt 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

METHOD: Add all ingredients into a small saucepan and whisk until combined. Then, bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour cheese liquid into a mold that has been greased with a small amount of coconut oil, just enough to coat all sides. I like to use a rectangular, steel tupperware container. Refrigerate until set. It takes about 2-3 hours. Once set, you should be able to flip over the cheese and it will fall right out. Then cut into whatever shapes you'd like! I like squares, long sticks and I use my mandolin to slice like an American cheese you would get from the deli! TIP: For a cheese that melts, add 1/4 cup arrowroot, cornstarch or tapioca starch to the saucepan.


Variations on the Classic American Cheese Use the same base recipe and the following ingredients for these delicious variations.

Smoked Gouda: 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke and a pinch of turmeric for color Garlic and Dill: 1 teaspoon of dried dill, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder Spicy Red Pepper: 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper Yellow American: a pinch of turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Imitation Parmesan Did you know if you shave almonds with a microplane it curls up in a beautiful parmesan cheese imitation? Add some salt and nutritional yeast and you have a perfect whole food dairy-free parm!

20 raw almonds 1/2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast 1/8 teaspoon pink salt METHOD: To make about a cup and a half of "parmigiano" I use about 20 raw almonds. It's impossible to grate them all the way down without getting your fingers, so I go about halfway for each almond. Then just add a couple pinches of nutritional yeast (about 1/2 Tablespoon) and pink salt to taste (1/8 teaspoon for my taste). Gently combine and put on anything you would normally put parm cheese on!


Tofu Feta

1 block extra-firm tofu 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon pink salt 1 heaping teaspoon fresh oregano METHOD: Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. Put the cubes in a container with the rice wine vinegar, salt, and minced oregano. Cover the container, shake gently to combine, and refrigerate overnight. The salt and vinegar suck the moisture from the tofu and it creates a beautiful feta cheese-like texture! This also can be crumbled using your fingers before serving. The longer the tofu sits in the marinade, the drier it will become. Note: If you don't have rice wine vinegar, white vinegar will work too!


Almond Goat Cheese

1 cup raw almonds 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar 1 Tablespoon coconut cream (or the solid top part of a can of coconut milk) 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup water METHOD: Cover the almonds in water and soak overnight. Drain water, and drop all of them into a pot of boiling water and cook for one minute. Drain and rinse with cold water for another minute. Then, using your fingers, gently pinch the cooled almonds, the skin will just come right off! You are welcome to skip the blanching step, but the color of your finished cheese won't be as white. Add your almonds and all of the rest of the ingredients to a high powered blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes, using a tamper to make sure all of your cheese is equally smooth. Scoop out with a rubber spatula, and form into desired shape! I like making it into a log and then coating with crushed nuts or sweetened cranberries. This will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, but it usually lasts 1-2 days in our house!


Cashew Ciliegine

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained 4 Tablespoons full fat coconut milk 1 teaspoon pink salt 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch 1 teaspoon psyllium husk 1 small clove garlic METHOD: Put all into a high powered blender until smooth. Pour the batter into a small saucepan and heat on medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring constantly until the batter starts coming together into a ball and pulling away from the sides. Then taking a small cookie scoop, scoop out balls and drop into an ice bath. Let the balls sit in the ice water for about a minute, and then roll between your hands a couple times to smooth out the shape. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later, but make sure to lightly oil whatever container you store them in so they don't stick!

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Batter after being blended

After heating, batter begins to pull away from the sides of the pan

Happy little ciliegine!

Use a cookie scoop to drop them into an ice bath

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Cashew Ricotta

1 cup soaked raw cashews, soaked overnight, and then drained 1/4 cup water 1 Tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon pink salt Pinch of black pepper METHOD: Blend all in a high-powered blender, transfer into a bowl, and stir in 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add salt to your taste. Note: I don't always think ahead enough to soak my cashews overnight. In a pinch, I will boil some water and pour over the cashews and wait as long as I am able to before blending. I have also used roasted salted cashews from time to time. It will still work, just slightly less creamy. And be sure to add less salt!

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Cannoli Filling

2 cups of raw cashews soaked overnight and drained 3 Tablespoons full fat coconut milk 1 teaspoon pink salt 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon lemon zest METHOD: Blend all well in a food processor or blender scraping the sides until smooth. Keep in blender and add: 1/4 cup maple syrup 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk. Blend well. Optional add ins: vanilla extract, orange zest, pistachios, chocolate chips etc. Note: To thicken up, add more powdered sugar!

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Almond Mozzarella

2 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight 1/2 cup coconut cream 3 teaspoons coconut milk 1.5 teaspoons coconut oil 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt 1 Tablespoon white vinegar 1 small clove garlic METHOD: Boil 4 cups of water and drop in soaked almonds. Blanch for one minute, drain and rinse with cold water. Then use your fingers to rub the skins off the almonds. They should come off very easily! Then add peeled almonds and the rest of the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth, using the tamper. Scoop the cheese into the center of a cheese cloth or thin towel. Tie up the ends into a bundle and let hang overnight. I hang it over my sink because the moisture will drip out of it as it sits. It will form a rind overnight! The next day, open up the cheesecloth, slice and serve right away. You also can let this sit for a second night for a firmer texture. After one night the texture will be somewhere in between a whipped ricotta and a fresh mozzarella like pictured here.

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Tofu Sour Cream This is so simple and it really does the trick of imitating sour cream!

1/2 block tofu 2 Tablespoons lemon juice 1/4 cup coconut milk 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or any other liquid sweetener) METHOD: Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well. If your blender or food processor isn't the best, do this with silken tofu for the smoothest texture. This photo was with extra-firm tofu using my Vitamix.

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Tofu sour cream in a bowl of chili

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Nut-Free Cheese Sauce

1 cup coconut milk (or oat milk if avoiding coconut) 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds 1/3 cup nutritional yeast 2 large carrots 1 teaspoon pink salt squeeze of lemon juice METHOD: Blend it up in a high powered blender and serve! If it is thick, just add a little water until you get to your desired consistency. Don't have a great blender? Just cook the carrots and soak the pumpkin seeds overnight before you blend.

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Basic Cream Cheese

1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight, and blanched to remove skins 1/2 cup extra firm tofu (about 1/4 of a block) 1 Tablespoon lemon juice 3/4 teaspoon pink salt 1 Tablespoon coconut oil 3 Tablespoons full-fat coconut milk METHOD: Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth. That's it! This is the basic recipe I use, and then add a variety of spices and ingredients to make different flavors. Note: To remove almond skins, drop the almonds all at once into a pot of boiling water and cook for one minute. Then drain into a strainer and rinse with cold water for another minute. Then you should easily be able to rub the skins off with your fingers. It is a little time consuming, but it makes the texture so much smoother and the color more like that of a traditional cream cheese.

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A favorite of mine... bagels and cream cheese, with all the toppings! - 21 -

Maple Walnut Cream Cheese This is a different cream cheese made from walnuts and hemp hearts. It is a good way to add nutritious hemp hearts in a inconspicuous, kid-friendly way.

1 cup raw walnuts, plus 1/2 cup more to stir in at the end 1/2 cup hemp hearts 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 Tablespoon coconut oil 3 Tablespoons full fat coconut milk or other fatty nut milk like cashew 1½ Tablespoons nutritional yeast 2 teaspoons psyllium husk + 2 Tablespoons water, whisked together with a fork before you add to the blender 2 Tablespoons maple syrup 3/4 teaspoon salt METHOD: Soak 1 cup of the walnuts and hemp hearts in boiling water for one hour. Drain the water, then add to your blender with all the other ingredients. Blend well until completely smooth, using the tamper and scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer to a container and stir in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.

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Melty Pizza Cheese

2 cups coconut milk 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 ½ Tablespoons arrowroot powder 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar METHOD: Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and whisk well. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and drips off a spoon in long strings. This takes anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes (depending on how hot your stove heats). Then spoon onto your pizza and bake as you would normally. If you cook arrowroot powder for too long, it will really clump together. If this happens, all is not lost! Add a little more milk to help loosen it up, and spoon onto your pizza anyway!

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Melty pizza cheese after it has been cooked. Note: When the pizza first comes out of the oven, the cheese will seem a bit runny. It will set up after it sits for a few minutes. Let it cool slightly before slicing! - 24 -


2 cups coconut milk 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 ½ Tablespoons arrowroot powder 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup salsa METHOD: Add all ingredients except for the salsa to a medium saucepan and whisk well. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and drips off a spoon in long strings. This takes anywhere from 6-10 minutes. Then stir in your salsa. You can use this queso as is for a dip, or pour over tortilla chips and broil for nachos. Note: This is the same exact basic recipe as the melty pizza cheese, except for the addition of salsa. Sometimes I will make a double batch and separate half of it before adding the salsa, so I have made two separate cheeses at one time!

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White Cheddar Sauce

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight, and then drained 1 ½ cups HOT water 1/2 teaspoon pink salt Juice from half a small lemon METHOD: Blend it all together and serve. This tastes really similar to Annie's white cheddar mac and cheese in my opinion! This sauce is great over pasta, on broccoli, or as a dip for raw veggies. Tip: If you add dried herbs, garlic and onion powder and a pinch of paprika to this sauce you have a very delicious ranch dressing!

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TIPS AND TROUBLESHOOTING For most of the recipes in this book you will need a good blender or food processor. If you are finding that your blender is not giving you a smooth consistency, try soaking the nuts for a longer period of time, or adding a splash more liquid. Another note is that some of these recipes call for coconut oil. My family and I never mind the slightly stronger taste of unrefined coconut oil. But if you find you are sensitive to it, use a refined or odorless coconut oil instead. As always, I'm here to help. Send me a message on Instagram (@plantedfamilies) and I'll help you if you are struggling with any of these recipes. I truly want you to enjoy these dairy-free substitutes as much as we do!