Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Trio of Almond Cheese: Chive, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, Chili & Rosemary

A Trio of Vegan Almond Cheese: Chive, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, Chili & Rosemary. Soy and Gluten Free.
Well, finally - a new blog post! I've just been so busy lately and these have been sitting on the rather large "to be blogged" pile for quite awhile now :-) These are all variations on the Almond Chive Cheese which is actually already on the blog from way back in 2009. It's one of our favourite homemade cheeses but I decided to make a few changes this time around. Mostly I usually find myself without any sweet white miso paste whenever I want to make this so I've omitted that here, swapped the rice milk to either unsweetened soy or almond (both work well) and then tried a couple more flavours.
A Trio of Vegan Almond Cheese: Chive, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, Chili & Rosemary. Soy and Gluten Free.
First I tried a Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil version and we both absolutely loved it!! Wonderful flavour and such a nice variation. I was just going to blog the two flavours but figured everything should come in threes right?? So I thought a spicy version would be nice and opted for one of my favourite flavour combinations, chili and rosemary (similar to my socca recipe). Really love this one as well, good heat coming through with the chili but not too overpowering and I love the rosemary there, this one will become a regular as well. The great thing about these cheeses as well? They are SO easy to make and set and chill within an hour, no waiting days or even overnight for these!
A Trio of Vegan Almond Cheese: Chive, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, Chili & Rosemary. Soy and Gluten Free.
All of these cheeses are based on ground almonds, nutritional yeast, olive oil, unsweetened soy or almond milk, flavourings and set with agar flakes. Using agar can be a little hit or miss but the great thing with these is it doesn't matter if they have trouble setting, you simply end up with a spreadable cheese instead :-) Mine end up as you see in the photos here, you can slice them, carefully, but they are also soft enough to spread - the best of both worlds! But please note these are not grating or melting cheeses. We love them simply sliced/spread onto crackers or bread in the evening with either a nice red or white wine and my husband loves them in sandwiches.


~ Recipe Notes ~
Ramekin dishes for cheese
• The recipes make small portions of the cheese. Above are the ramekin dishes I use to make mine, they fit perfectly and measure 3" across on the bottom, 2" high and hold 180ml/ ¾ cup liquid. I just give the dishes a spray of cooking oil and the cheeses always come out easily after running a knife around the sides. If you are using a different type of dish and are weary of the cheese coming out, simply line the dish with cling film.
• All recipes can easily be doubled or tripled if you would like more.
• I used dried chili flakes for the rosemary and chili cheese as you get more consistent heat levels with those as opposed to fresh chillies which can vary wildly in heat levels. That being said, you can easily use fresh chillies and rosemary, I would say 1 small red chili finely chopped and 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary and just use as per recipe.
• As mentioned above, don't fret if they don't set, agar can be fickle and these are just as good spreadable :-)
• When I say to grind the nutritional yeast flakes to a powder I always use a mortar and pestle but you can easily just use your hands.
A Trio of Vegan Almond Cheese: Chive, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, Chili & Rosemary. Soy and Gluten Free.

Almond Chive Cheese:

• 40g ground almonds (5 Tbsp + 2 tsp) also known as "almond meal"
• 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes, ground to a powder
• ¼ tsp garlic powder
• ¼ tsp onion powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• 100ml unsweetened almond or soy milk (3.5 fl oz)
• 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 Tbsp agar flakes
• ½ tsp lemon juice
• 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the ground almonds, nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan whisk together the milk and oil. Sprinkle on the agar flakes and let it sit for 5 minutes (off the heat). Give it a good whisk now and turn the heat on to high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking all the while, then reduce to a simmer and switch to a wooden spoon to stir. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring often.

Turn off the heat then quickly pour it over the almond mixture. Add the chopped chives and lemon juice then mix really well. You should have a fairly thick mixture. Scrape it all into the prepared ramekin dish then gently press it in using a sheet of cling film until it's nice and smooth on top. Wrap the whole dish in cling film and chill until set. They set pretty quickly, 1 or 2 hours.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Cheese:

• 40g ground almonds (5 Tbsp + 2 tsp)
• 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes, ground to a powder
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• 100ml unsweetened almond or soy milk (3.5 fl oz)
• 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ½ Tbsp tomato paste
• 1 Tbsp agar flakes
• 2 Tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (the type packed in oil)
• 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the ground almonds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan whisk together the milk, tomato paste and oil. Sprinkle on the agar flakes and let it sit for 5 minutes (off the heat). Give it a good whisk now and turn the heat on to high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking all the while, then reduce to a simmer and switch to a wooden spoon to stir. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring often.

Turn off the heat then quickly pour it over the almond mixture. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and basil then mix really well. You should have a fairly thick mixture. Scrape it all into the prepared ramekin dish then gently press it in using a sheet of cling film until it's nice and smooth on top. Wrap the whole dish in cling film and chill until set. They set pretty quickly, 1 or 2 hours.

Chili and Rosemary Cheese:

• 40g ground almonds (5 Tbsp + 2 tsp)
• 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes, ground to a powder
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• 100ml unsweetened almond or soy milk (3.5 fl oz)
• 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ½ tsp dried rosemary
• ¼ tsp dried chili flakes (also known as red pepper flakes)
• about 6 grinds of black pepper
• 1 Tbsp agar flakes

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the ground almonds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan whisk together the milk, oil, chili flakes, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle on the agar flakes and let it sit for 5 minutes (off the heat). Then give it a good whisk and turn the heat on to high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking all the while, then reduce to a simmer and switch to a wooden spoon to stir. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring often.

Turn off the heat then quickly pour it over the almond mixture and stir well, you should have a fairly thick mixture. Scrape it all into the prepared ramekin dish then gently press it in using a sheet of cling film until it's nice and smooth on top. Wrap the whole dish in cling film and chill until set. They set pretty quickly, 1 or 2 hours.

A Trio of Vegan Almond Cheese: Chive, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, Chili & Rosemary. Soy and Gluten Free.


Nutritional Information
(all per 100g and using unsweetened almond milk)

Almond and Chive Cheese
Calories: 385
Protein: 12.3g
Fat: 33.3g
Sat Fat: 3.4g
Fibre: 7.3g
Carbs: 12.2g
Sugar: 1.8g
Sodium: 619mg
Calcium: 138mg

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Cheese:
Calories: 308
Protein: 9g
Fat: 26g
Sat Fat: 2.7g
Fibre: 6g
Carbs: 12g
Sugar: 1.8g
Sodium: 502mg
Calcium: 106mg

Chili and Rosemary Cheese:
Calories: 411
Protein: 12.1g
Fat: 35.9g
Sat Fat: 3.8g
Fibre: 7.5g
Carbs: 12.6g
Sugar: 1.5g
Sodium: 665mg
Calcium: 151mg

You Might Also Like:

Baked Almond Feta
Unprocessed Cheese Slices


30 comments:

  1. I love your baked almond feta recipe so I will definitely be giving these a go!

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    1. Cool! Hope you like these as well :-)

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  2. These look amazing. It's spring here at the moment and I can see these gorgeous little pots of pleasure gracing my fridge all over the summer season. Cheers for the timely and most wonderful share :)

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  3. Can I sub for sunflower seeds, cashews, macadamia nuts?

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    1. Hi Sanni! I know you can definitely use cashews as these recipes are based on Ann Gentry's recipe for cashew cheese (recipe was on Heidi Swanson's blog but seems to be removed now) just use the equivalent amount of finely ground cashews. I personally prefer almonds as I find their taste more neutral and thus perfect for 'cheese'. I have tried macadamia nut cheese before and it worked fine but the cheese does end up with a very strong taste of macadamia nuts to the point where I found it overpowered any other flavours. I assume seeds would work as long as they can be ground as finely as nuts can. Let me know how you get on! :-)

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  4. These look seriously good, especially the almond and chive. I love that they make little ramekin sized amounts, so cute!

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  5. Just tried the almond chive having previously made the baked almond feta - both were great! Like you say, the almond chive didn't set as well but was delicious as a spread. I wonder if adding more agar flakes would assist the process?

    Thanks for sharing these, they've been life changing discoveries!

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    1. Hi Matt! So glad you liked them :-) You can definitely add more agar here if you would prefer a more 'set' cheese. In fact I believe Ann Gentry's recipe (which this is based on) mentioned that with more agar you could even have a grate-able type cheese. I haven't tried it myself as I prefer a softer texture here but it's certainly with trying :-)

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  6. Debbie, my boyfriend made the almond, chive one at the weekend and we were totally in love with it. He was so proud he even posted it on his facebook!

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    1. Haha, that's great! So glad it worked out and you guys liked it, thanks for letting me know!

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  7. Thank you so much for the recipe! I tried the sun-dried tomato one and it was amazing! Can't wait to try the others.

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  8. I have not made these yet but am wondering if I want a spreadable should I just omit the agar? Thanks!

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    1. Hi! I would still add the agar as it's still spreadable with it and it gives the finished product a nicer texture. Depending on how soft you want it you could halve the agar but I would still add some. Hope it works out for you!

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  9. Aaah, how did I miss these back in September? Okay, the honest answer is I didn't add you to my Bloglovin' feed because you'd stopped posting [shame on me] but I'm SO glad my intention told me to check back. Or actually my intention was the plan to look for a fool-proof cake recipe to serve my colleagues and I remembered the many you posted.
    Anyway, these kinds of cheese look amazing. I'm very impressed and am trying to think of an occasion to serve these tu guests. Made to impress.

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    Replies
    1. :-) Glad you checked back in! Hope you get a chance to try these!

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  10. What are your thoughts behind why the sun dried tomato one has less fat and calorie listed than other two even with the sun dried tomatoes packed in oil along with same amount of almond meal and olive oil as other two? Going to try out the chive one tonight!

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    1. Hi! Yeah, I found that strange at first as well but it's because the cheeses all ended up at different weights and I was calculating the calories per 100g. That is, to calculate per 100g I divide the total weight into the total calories then multiply by 100 to give the calories per 100g. The sun-dried tomato one, although higher in calories altogether weighed more than the chive one resulting in less calories and fat per 100g. The chilli rosemary one similarly weighed a lot less than the chive which is why it's higher in calories. So with the heavier sun-dried tomato cheese an equal size slice will be far higher in calories than a slice of almond chive, in other words if you compared two 100g slices of each the sun-dried would look much smaller. Hope that makes sense - it's a bit confusing all right!

      An easier comparison might be the total calories of each cheese which is as such: Chive - 408 calories, Sun-Dried Tomato - 438 calories, Chilli-Rosemary - 403 calories.

      Hope you like the chive one and it works out for you!

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  11. Thanks for detailed explanation and by weight makes sense. Chive one came out looking beautiful and spreadable. I only used 2 tsp. of agar and actually mixed it in by quickly after it had just started to boil - oops. Still worked great though:D I had hazelnut meal on hand so went with that. I thought it was an absolutely gorgeous "cheese" with the chives and flavors on a rice cracker with lettuce, onion and tomato. My 16 yr. old daughter thought it was too sweet and in fact, when I looked it up after the fact, hazelnut meal is sweeter than almond meal. Will try it again doing it correctly but I do think would have been a huge hit at a party. This is a incredibly clever recipe and very versatile. I see an olive one in our future. Maybe even a roasted red pepper with roasted garlic one. Or a cumin and coriander spiced one. So fun! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Oh that's great, so glad you liked it! Loving the idea of an olive one and roasted red pepper and garlic!! Great ideas :-)

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  12. Update on hazelnut meal chive cheese: My daughter brought last of "cheese" to school to give to her vegetarian friend. Friend loved it and scarfed it all down on crackers with no adornments. So for those who want a slightly sweeter cheese, hazelnut meal may be just the thing. Thanks!

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  13. hi, just wondering how long they would last in the fridge?

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    1. Hi, I'm honestly not sure....I have made a double batch of these before which lasted a week just fine. With the fresh ingredients I wouldn't give them much longer than that though.

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  14. OMGosh! These look so delicious! Ever since I ate a yummy (vegan) cheese ball at Thanksgiving, I've been craving more homemade vegan cheese. I will have to make one of these this week.

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  15. have you tried making without oil? we eat low fat vegan, and would rather not use oil if it would still work?

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    1. Hi! No, I haven't...but I imagine it should still work, the texture might just be a bit different. If you wanted to try it I I would replace the 1 Tbsp of oil with just more dairy free milk to keep the quantities the same. Good luck!

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  16. Replies
    1. Hi.....the recipe does use almond meal - it's the same thing as ground almonds, that's what we call it here :-)

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