vegan ‘goat’ cheese

In the Vegan Fusion class earlier this summer, one of the components in the raw and live phase was culturing. We learned about, made and drank Rejuvelac. We made cultured plant cheeses, as well as raw elixirs, sauerkraut and kimchi. Everything was outstanding, and it was very exciting for me.

I have always been nervous about attempting any culturing or fermenting at home. After some hands on learning and creating, a cultured cheese was one of the first things I knew I’d try at home – one with tangy flavors of goat cheese.

maple roasted beet salad with vegan goat cheese

 

cherry goat cheese tarts

 

When cultured, a plant cheese will have a tangy flavor, as well as all the benefits of a live food – nutritionally rich and containing beneficial bacteria.

I based my culturing process on the method we learned in class:

1) Soak nuts in water for several hours.
2) Blend nuts with liquid (in class we blended with water – for this recipe I used apple cider vinegar).
3) Transfer to a sanitized glass jar, covering and leaving in a dark warm cupboard overnight.

In class the next day, we added some fresh herbs to the cultured cheese – at this point you can add whatever flavors you want.

For my ‘goat’ cheese, I kept the flavor additions simple – some lemon juice for tart acidity, and a bit of salt.

vegan ‘goat’ cheese

basic culturing technique adapted from Vegan Fusion Immersion

dairy, soy, and gluten free, vegan, cultured, live

makes one cup 

1 cup raw cashews, soaked two hours
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked two hours
1/4 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
pinch sea salt 

In food processor or high speed blender, combine cashews, macadamias, vinegar, lemon juice and water, blend until smooth. Transfer to a sterilized glass jar, cover with plastic wrap and secure with rubber band. Cover/wrap jar in a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place overnight.

Variations – the second time I made this I added one tablespoon miso to the blended nuts prior to culturing, and I added a very small amount of soaked Irish moss after culturing, to make it more of a slice-able cheese. Read more about Irish moss here – vegan brie. You can add all kinds of fresh herbs, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, jam or fruit.

This tastes surprisingly similar to traditional goat cheese, and the consistency is both creamy and crumbly. It is perfect on a beet salad, in a cherry tart, or simply spread on a crisp cracker. The pairings and the flavor possibilities are endless!

 

Comments

    • spabettie says

      for this, honestly I think I like it more without – it’s like a cream cheese consistency, spreadable, and still kinda crumbly like a goat cheese. I always liked the softer goat cheese better than the hard blocks, anyway – I wanted to experiment with the moss on a second batch, so I could get a “slice” to melt on top of my quinoa burger… 😀

      …but I’d say get the moss anyway – for other things. if you like cheesecakes and mousse like things, OH MY GOSH Irish moss makes them awesome! so fluffy!

  1. says

    This is something I might actually make at some point! I don’t have the whole moss thing available, but everything else I could find. Since you still refuse to deliver, I might experiment!

    • spabettie says

      you don’t need the moss, I did that on the second round to give more structure – but only because I wanted to melt it on one of my quinoa burgers. I honestly like the first version just as much if not more – that is the kind of cheese I used to buy, the soft stuff.

    • spabettie says

      hi Heather – I ordered my Irish moss online (Amazon), not sure if I could find it here anywhere. I liked it just as much without the moss, if you wanted to try that first!

  2. says

    Oh wow, I have GOT to try this! I admit to being pretty terrified about the vegan cheese-making arts (they are dark and mysterious), but you always make things look so damn simple! I am doing this over the weekend!!

    • spabettie says

      ha, I agree, Kristine, I was always afraid to step into the dark and mysterious, too… but it really is simple! (and thank you for saying so – I try to keep things fairly user friendly!) :) It’s really the same thing we’ve all been doing with cashew or other nut based cheeses, then… leaving it covered, warm, out on the counter! 😉

  3. says

    I can’t wait to try this! One of the things my husband sometimes misses from our mostly vegan diet is cheese. This could be just the thing to satisfy those cravings. Thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    YES AND MORE YES. You know I’ve been excitedly (and not so patiently, haha) waiting for this one! It WILL be made this weekend, I can’t wait!

    • spabettie says

      I know, I know… 😉 I can’t wait for you to make it, you’ll have to let me know what you think! have fun! XO

  5. says

    OMG – need to do this now! Goat cheese was my absolute favorite thing before I became vegan and though I’ve tries a few different versions (usually with tofu) of vegan goat cheese, this one looks amazing! Love the idea of culturing it – I always thought it was more complicated than that!

    • spabettie says

      I think you’ll be happy with this one, Ashley – it has the creamy consistency different from what results from tofu. The culturing is VERY easy, I was actually surprised too, when I learned in class. It’s basically the same kind of thing we’ve all been doing with nut based cheeses, then you just leave it out in a jar in a warm place, over night! Even though I had already witnessed the fun in class, doing it at home was cool – I was so excited to see it the next morning! 😀

  6. says

    This looks incredible! Thanks for so generously sharing your recipe. I seem to be on a vegan cheese quest this week, now that I’ve acquired the new Artisan Vegan Cheese book. I will give yours a go this weekend. Yum!

    Where in Portland did you find the Irish moss? Ive been very curious about it.

    • spabettie says

      that book sounds like a good one – I may need to get it. I hope you like this one, it is so tangy good!

      I didn’t find the Irish moss here, I bought it online (Amazon). Honestly, I didn’t look too hard for it, I was going to try Whole Foods, because they seem to have everything, but haven’t gotten there. but Irish moss? I LOVE IT! :)

  7. Lora @cakeduchess says

    I adore goat cheese and I really want to try your vegan version. I am fascinated by the recipe. I love how it has a tartness to it and that you are learning to make all of these wonderful cheeses:)xx

    • spabettie says

      yeee! yes, I am pretty thrilled with this one, I can’t wait to adapt it and make it even more crazy good. next up, sundried tomato + caper goat cheese… 😀

  8. says

    Oh, my gosh, this sounds amazing! I’ve been wary of cultured cheezes with probiotic capsules (not sure why!), so this really appeals to me. And I’m sure I’d love that vegan brie, too! Great recipe (and would be perfect for Wellness Weekend, too! Hope you’ll link up!). 😀

    • spabettie says

      I understand that, Ricki – I have made all kinds of “cheeses” that stop before culturing… more like spreads… after seeing how easy it was in class, I had to try at home – this was a fun first try!

      I’m back in town now and at my computer more, can I link up this week? :)

    • spabettie says

      I try to keep most of the processed cheese to a minimum too (that new Daiya havarti is making it difficult, however…)

      this was fun to go through the culturing process… pretty tasty too!

  9. Lora says

    so exciting, I have always been afraid to try fermenting but this looks doable! thank you so much for the recipe!

    • spabettie says

      hi Linda,

      I don’t label myself as anything, but if you’ve been reading this site for a while, you will see the majority of my recipes are indeed vegan (I only use that label for recipes, really).

      Where did I get this recipe? I do not recall where I first started using cashews to make “cheese” sauces, but I have several and have been using cashews in this way for years. I put this recipe together on my own, and as I stated, the basic culturing process was from the cooking class I recently finished.

      I hope this answers your questions.

  10. Ed says

    wow it looks like you have many goat cheese fans here! I must have stumbled this 60+ times today (I use stumble for my work), so I came to see what the fuss was about 😉 great job!

  11. says

    this looks great, and pretty easy. what if I skipped the culture part and just let it harden in the fridge, do you think the vinegar and lemon would give it some tang?

    • spabettie says

      hi Michele,

      the vinegar and lemon definitely would provide some of that flavor, although I think the tangy aspect comes from the culturing. the consistency might be different as well – I’ve made cashew spreads a lot and they are different. very good, just different. let me know how things go!

  12. Kelly S says

    this might be something I will try, you make it look easy. should I wait until I have the irish moss, or did you like the first batch better?

    • spabettie says

      hi Kelly, I definitely liked the first batch as much as the second – you do not need the Irish moss for this recipe! let me know if you try, cheers!

    • spabettie says

      hi Jan,

      I wanted to make a hard cheese (goat comes in both soft and hard) so I could slice it. You do not need the Irish moss for this recipe.

    • spabettie says

      goat cheese with sweet isn’t for everyone, I am learning 😉 I love it, but have had some mixed reactions to the cherry goat cheese tart…

  13. says

    I’m back, finally. :) And this is something I’ve wanted to try forever! 😀 😀 I’ve been thinking of adding paprika and dill and a bit of lemon juice, I’m really excited to try this now because your recipe seems to easy and simple, and the instructions I’ve found so far were a bit laborous for me.

    • spabettie says

      that is what I loved about this basic process when we learned about it in class… it may be several steps but it really is not difficult! :)

  14. says

    I’ve seen some recipes for cultured vegan cheeses that sound a lot harder – this really sounds doable. Have you tried it on warm dishes yet? I am just wondering how it “melts.”

    • says

      Oh and another question, potentially stupid. I’ve never done any canning so I don’t know much about sterilizing glass. I know it involves dipping in boiling water, right? But how much time? Any other essential instructions I’d need to know? Thanks!

      • spabettie says

        no stupid questions! I am used to sterilizing when we make beer, so that’s why I said that :) you can probably just use a very clean glass container… but if you want to sterilize yes, we boil them at least 20 minutes. again, because we have this on hand for beer making, I also used a sanitizing solution (iodine based) … but really if you boil it is probably enough! :)

    • spabettie says

      hi Cara!

      it doesn’t really melt like a traditional cheese (not sure if goat cheese really melts either?). it does soften, and yes, I used it in a cherry goat cheese tart and LOVED it! I just dotted blobs of this around the cherry filling, they stayed in blobs and softened a bit… very good!

  15. Jenna says

    finished the whole batch in one sitting (we had neighbours over) and everyone loved! our neighbour’s hubby had no idea he was eating a “cheeze” and I still haven’t told him LOL. I can’t wait to make another one, I’m going to add herbs to it too. THANKYOU

  16. Cristina says

    how much lemon juice did you use? I only used 1/3, and it was very lemony to me. the consistency was like a cream cheese, I can’t believe it! the culturing was scary but I suppose it doesn’t have to be LOL. I used all macadamia because its what I had, but I might leave out the lemon next time (I’m not really fond of lemon anyway. thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

    • spabettie says

      hi Cristina,

      I would definitely use less lemon if you are not fond of it… perhaps leave it out and only use the ACV? (in class we used only water, so you can try that as well). I don’t think even 2 lemons would yield 1/3 cup, though. I will measure next time and let you know.

  17. Western Garden Mama says

    The cheese itself was outstanding, really good flavor (close enough for veg, right?) And mine was bubbly and fluffy. I mashed it down into the jar and stirred a lot, after refrigeration it was better.

    That said, I did not like it with sweet, but that just may be a preference.

    • spabettie says

      so happy you like the flavor, we really did too! I’m pretty sure the bubbles are part of the process… how long did you let it ferment?

      I have had a few people say they think I’m crazy for pairing this with something sweet, you are not alone! :)

  18. Carolina says

    I made this last night, this morning I am doing a happy dance all over the kitchen, piece of bread “goat cheesed” in hand!!! The flavor is insane, I love the tang. Mine turned out creamy white, but had a yellow brown “film” on top, did you experience this also? I shaved that part off and tossed it… Not scared of fermentation any longer, but I didn’t wanna try that LOL. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • spabettie says

      hi Carolina!

      thanks for letting me know – I’m doing a happy dance now too!

      yes, mine had the film too – I should update the recipe notes with this. I removed mine as well, but I do not think we did in class? To keep the color and consistency uniform it’s best, I suppose.

      so happy you conquered your fermentation fears, me too! :)

    • spabettie says

      Richa, I hope you try this! I have now made it three times, two had AMAZING texture (creamy, like cream cheese, second one even more crumbly like goat). the third time was a totally different consistency, more pasty, still tasted great, just more … spreadable. sure is fun to play around with, though! :)

  19. leah says

    oh me oh my. how long does this keep? i’m sure it won’t be around in my house that long anyway, but just out of curiosity!

    • spabettie says

      hi Leah! with things like this, I try to use it within 3-4 days… and you’re right, it really doesn’t last long! It will probably last longer, but wouldn’t have as fresh a flavor?

  20. says

    I’m so excited to find this recipe! I’ve stopped eating all dairy and have just started to play around with tofu cheese, this will expand my repertoire even more! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • spabettie says

      you are welcome, Marya! I have had several people make this already – some haven’t cared for it but most have positive reviews and are loving it! It’s definitely fun to learn the culturing process.

  21. Barbara Jenkins says

    Well this recipe turned out I am impressed. The tangy flavor is spot on, I think, and the consistency was smooth.god job.

  22. Todd says

    Hi,
    I just tried this recipe yesterday. Thanks for posting it! The taste is really good, but my texture didn’t turn out quite right. I used the exact ingredients (with the juice of 1 lemon) but it still has a texture sort of like loose ricotta. The taste reminds me of a cross between leban (the cultured milk I used to make before going vegan) and cottage cheese. But it definitely doesn’t hold together like the picture. I left it in covered jar for around 18 hours or so, but it didn’t change in appearance at all. Did yours go through an appreciable metamorphosis? Thanks again and I’d appreciate any suggestions since I have enough nuts to whip up a second batch!

    • spabettie says

      hi Todd,

      glad to know it tastes good, sorry to hear yours was not the same consistency I had. being so new to this, I’m not really sure what to say – I am making more soon, so I will keep you in mind as I do this. I wonder if less liquid would work for you? Mine definitely did go through a change (I will take photos next time!), there was a darker film on top, and a tangy flavor developed – more than just form the lemon and acv.

      I will see if I can make another batch this weekend if I can, to help you further!

      cheers, Kristina

      • Todd says

        Hey Kristina,
        Thanks a bunch!
        I ended up putting mine in a fine strainer and letting it sit in the refrigerator for a couple days. It took a lot of liquid out, so I’ll definitely use less next time. The texture’s better, but it still tastes the same.

        Still confused on why it didn’t develop differently. What kind of acv do you use? I used the Bragg’s raw with “mother”. I would’ve thought that would be a good fit. I wonder if it somehow inhibited fermentation?

        I look forward to seeing pics, and thanks again!
        -Todd

        • spabettie says

          glad to hear it improved some – great idea to strain it. I use the same acv – so that shouldn’t be it? in class we used only water, so that shouldn’t matter anyway. sorry to say I did not have time to remake this weekend, but I will soon, and will share more details.

  23. Laurel says

    Ooh, Goat Cheese. Yum. Here am I, coincidentally planning to make millet rejuvelac, too. I just have one probably unanswerable question though. Apple cider vinegar, I see it in so many vegan recipes and generally just replace it with lemon juice. That won’t work here will it? I can’t use vinegar. Just open a bottle of the apple cider stuff and watch me pass out. I’m better than Cable. :-)

    • spabettie says

      hi Laurel – you can definitely just use lemon!! the acv was my addition, my take on the recipe. in class we just used water. it will taste different, but not in a bad way? there is a certain tartness that just comes from the culturing, and I’d not add MORE lemon to make up for it – probably still just one (or two small) lemons… millet rejuvelac – YUM!

    • spabettie says

      hi Judee!! thank you for subscribing, I am very happy you found me! I hope you find many of my recipes appealing – I range from raw and “clean” to vegan comfort food – I cover it all, I guess! and then there are the desserts… 😉

      let me know if you try this recipe, please? I have had success with it four times now, and several others have made it and liked it also – there have been a couple people that have had mixed results, so I am always interested in finding others who make it and how it went.

      cheers! Kristina

  24. Rachael says

    I’m so excited to make this! And i’m definitely going to make my lactose intolerant Dad some for christmas. Do you know how long this stays good for?

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      hi Rachael, with any raw recipe like this, I generally give it just a few days, really. the flavors tend to be best the first few days, although it can most likely last a bit longer?

  25. GG says

    I am not a lemony fan so I reduced that amount to almost nothing (also from a bottle, I dont have lemons here lol) and I am glad I did, but the flavor was great and the texture too, creamy crumbly like a real goats. thank you!

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      good to know you still enjoyed it with less lemon (I love lemon, but need to remember not everyone does!). happy you liked it!

  26. Jan says

    made this last night and today, just in time for holiday. only one disapointment is that I did not increase values of ingredients – I would have liked more.

    these methods were new to me and quite queer, and I did complete still. although most dairy does not agree with me, I enjoy milk and cheese from goats, as it is milder for my gut. I have strict dairy free relations visiting for the holiday, and this was made for them.

    thank-you for this delicious cheese, I love your straight-forward styles.

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      I am so SO happy you enjoyed this, and YES – make a double batch next time! :)

      I hope your relatives liked it as much as you and I – happy holidays!

  27. says

    Hi Spabettie, I have made vegan ‘cheez’ a number of times and haven’t been totally pleased with tofu-based ones, I like the nut-based ones better. I just made one today not so different from yours (pine nuts, miso, ACV, lemon juice, yogurt starter). I do prefer the taste that the yogurt starter gives it, but I’m scared to let the cheez ferment! Can you give me any reference that it will be safe? I would not feel good about scraping a film off the top…..

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      hello Mary!

      first thing, I would say if fermenting makes you nervous, then please do not do it. I know exactly how you feel, there have been many times I haven’t wanted to prepare something in this way (homemade kombucha, for example), as many things can go wrong. Honestly, this is the only thing I have ever made this way, and I felt fairly comfortable because we had just covered fermentation in class.

      I saw your recipe, and from the ingredients you use it sounds like it tastes great! I would stick with the methods you used in that recipe – I am not comfortable telling anyone it is safe, because as I said, things can go wrong. If I wanted to google a reference for you, I know I could find just as many saying it is not safe, you know? I respect your nervousness, because I am the same way, really.

      Cheers, Kristina

  28. says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I have only been a vegan for one month and last weekend I made an awesome salad and all I could think was, “Oh I wish I could put goat cheese in this!” I have nuts soaking right now as I type this! I can’t wait to try it!

  29. says

    I made this last night and tried it this morning on an english muffin. Sooooooooo good! The consistency is just perfect. I think I may have added a little too much lemon juice (I really like lemon juice) and next time I’m going to add roasted garlic and some basil. I am posting a link to this recipe on my blog right now. Thanks again!

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      hi Cathy! so happy you like it! I really like lemon juice too – I need to remember that more isn’t always better 😉 I love the roasted garlic and basil ideas – the only thing I’ve added so far is sun dried tomatoes. you can make so many variations – enjoy!

  30. Christopher T says

    I want to make this for our party tomorrow, I am a bit skeptical of the fermentation process. if I follow your directions up to that point what would I get? :)

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      you would get a delicious cheesy spread! hi Christopher, I have said it before when someone is not too keen on fermentation – just don’t do it! I absolutely know how you feel, because I still often feel that way!
      I used this method, and many people have made it and loved it, but I will not encourage anyone to do so if they are nervous about it. This will be more of a spread consistency, but the flavors are still good (still not like goat cheese, but close?). have a great party tomorrow – cheers!

  31. Stephanie says

    My boyfriend and I noticed it doesn’t seem you used any Rejuvelac for this recipe, when my boyfriend makes cheeses he blends the nuts with Rejuvelac prior to culturing. is that something you learned not to do in your class or did you just forget to state using the Rejuv. in your recipe?

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      hi Stephanie,

      we made rejuvelac in class, and made a soft cheese with it, and we also made cheeses without it. I did not use rejuvelac with this recipe.

  32. Ashley says

    Found this on pinterest! Very happy to have found. I made it last night and kept in the cupboard for 10 hours, there was no brown film on it but it was still pretty good. As you said, it is not identical to goat cheese (which is something one deals with) but I find the after taste very lovely and close to what it was. I had it on toast as well as in an arugula, pear and curried quinoa salad to which it added an excellent new dimension of flavor!
    Thanks!

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      so happy you found this, and that you enjoyed it, Ashley! sounds like yours turned out just fine – I have made this several times and I do not always get a film on the surface – I think it depends on the temperature in my house, actually! it sounds like a delicious topping to your quinoa salad!

  33. Kaley says

    I’m definitely going to try this, it looks great! I think I’ll use all cashews though, that should work fine, right? Also, do you store it in the fridge after the overnight part?

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      hi Kaley! yes, I think cashews only should be just fine, and yes it is stored in the fridge after! enjoy!

  34. says

    I am terrified of rejuvelac and this process, simply because I am not sure of the safety factor, but I think I will give your process a try, simply because that goat cheese just looks so amazing and irresistible. Thanks for the inspiration and idea!

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      Erin I totally hear you – I was the same way for SO long, even after I walked through each step of the rejuvelac and cheese processes in class last summer… and I still would never encourage anyone to make it if they do not feel safe. You could make the recipe and then just stick it in the fridge, skipping the fermentation part?

  35. Natalie says

    Thanks for sharing!! I just checked on my cheese and it seems a little smoother then what yours looks like in the pic. Its tastes delish, just wondering if maybe my over night spot wasn’t warm enough? I will use it as a spread, love how easy it was!!

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      I know my batches have all turned out differently – flavors generally the same, but consistency differs – I think temperature does have a lot to do with that. Glad you enjoyed!

  36. Alex says

    Counting the minuts to try the cheese!! I’m not vegan, but we have cut out our intake of diary and animal product a lot, and cheese is something I just can’t quit on! This is definite a good try!! One quests thoug, I am not allowed to cashews , so what would be a nice substitution?? I can’t have almonds either, but any other nut works. What would you recommend?
    Thank you a lot!!

  37. Robin Banks says

    I was never a fan of goat cheese back in my dairy-eating days because I always thought it smelled and tasted like BO… but I can’t see how this recipe could have even a hint of armpit flavour, so I’ll def have to give it a try! Thanks!

  38. Marie Roxanne says

    I should be trying this too, although I think the fermentation will be an excellent experiment, (I used to eat meat pizza (before being vegan) the morning after it was sitting on the counter all night, so I am not afraid of this fermentation process!)
    Sounds so easy and after reading all the comments so far, the combination are endless! I have the “Unchesse Cookbook” and was always afraid to try any of them, I do love to look at all the recipes.

  39. Lisa says

    Just out of curiosity, you are ‘culturing’ this, but what is the source of the bacteria? There does not appear to be any in the recipe as written?
    Thanks ( please note this is not preventing me from trying this, I have some on my counter as i type!–also I tried this by licking the spatula after transferring to the sterile jar and it was delicious as is…)

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      I know, Lisa – a very different method for me too, but it “works” in a way! that’s why I talked about the rejuvelac too, as a sub for the water / acids. hope you like this version! :) Kristina

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