I was going to open this post with a pun about how, in the next four years, we’ll have learn to do without culture… (thanks, folks, I’ll be here all week) but the truth is that my almond feta efforts earlier this week backfired and I wanted to make a quick cashew cheese with no culturing period. Enter The Buddhist Chef, whose recipe videos are clear and wonderful, and his vegan cheese recipe.

One of the many nice things about the Buddhist Chef is that his very tasty recipes are really as easy as they look. Even vegans who are not kitchen veterans can use them, and they seem especially wonderful for folks making the initial transition to veganism and looking for replacements for their favorite staples. I modified the recipe a bit to exclude oils and sugars, and to replace some ingredients I didn’t have on hand, and the outcome was wonderful.
Step 1: Cheese Mixture
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in hot water for ten minutes (if you don’t have a high-powered blender, soak them for longer)
1 tsp herbs de Provence
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder (the Buddhist Chef suggests cornstarch, and my experience is that these two behave similarly in vegan cheeses)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
juice from 2 lemons
1/2 cup water
Drain cashews, place all ingredients in blender, blend until silky smooth.
Step 2: Hardening
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp agar flakes
In a saucepan, combine water and agar. Add cheese mix and whisk. Bring to a slow boil while whisking all the time. Pour into silicone muffin pan and place in fridge for at least two hours before inverting.

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