This recipe was inspired by the Bunny Kitchen’s 15 Minute Slice-able & Melt-able Vegan Cheese. I’m not a big fan of soy milk, but I am a big fan of fat. Yeah, I said it, I’m not a vegan for my health :p Although this homemade cheese is cholesterol-free, and healthy enough if you don’t eat the whole block at once! And you can do it paleo, grain free & gluten free.
And although I used cornstarch to thicken it, you can use tapioca powder as in the Bunny Kitchen recipe. If you use tapioca starch you can chill it in the freezer to get it nice and firm for grating, but if you use cornstarch it will turn spongy in the freezer.
During my experiments I noticed you may get a slightly different consistency using agar bars, flakes, or powder. You can experiment, too, and find the texture you prefer. My mom once added extra agar powder by accident and ended up with a cheese that was so sturdy, it sliced like meat and sort of tasted like bologna. So….yeah, keep that in mind :)
P.S. With no oil added, this vegan cheese is perfect for a strict fasting day. And since it’s homemade and very inexpensive to make, I think it’s great for Lent!
Coconut Milk Cheese
1 can full fat coconut milk (approx 13oz)
2 tsp fine salt
1.5 tsp vinegar
1/2 an agar bar*
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 heaping tsp of smoked paprika (or to taste)
1/2 tsp of turmeric for color, optional
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
1/8 tsp onion powder (or to taste)
2 Tbsp cornstarch*, plus enough water to make it pourable
Put 2 Tbsp cornstarch in a cup and mix in just enough water to make it pourable, set aside. Bring coconut milk to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in salt and vinegar, and throw in the agar bar*. Stir and mash until it breaks down as much as possible. Strain. Put coconut milk mixture back in pan, stir in nutritional yeast, paprika, and turmeric (if using). Pour cornstarch mix into coconut while stirring rapidly. Continue to stir as you slowly bring the coconut milk to a boil again. Then remove from heat, and pour into parchment-lined dish or silicone mold.
The cheese will look very oily at first, but you won’t notice it after it has set.
*You can replace the agar bar with 6 Tbsp agar flakes, or 6 tsp agar powder, and skip the straining step.
To make the recipe paleo/grain-free, substitute 4 Tbsp tapioca starch for the cornstarch.