There’s no need to eat dairy products when we can make plant based recipes so easily! The manufacture of dairy products releases a significant amount of green house gases and is water intensive. Cheese also always comes in plastic packaging.
I whipped up this vegan cheese last night. It turned out surprisingly great!
- 2 cups of nuts. (I used a mix of pecans, walnuts and almonds, but you can mix it up. Cashews work well to get that white cheese look.)
- 1 heaped teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon of Maldon sea salt flakes
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 heaped tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 cup of pure water
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- Dried green herbs, such as oregano
- Chilli flakes
- Porous cloth, muslin or nutmilk bag. I used a scrap of t-shirt cloth.
- Large heavy item (such as a large glass jar full of water or a brick)
- Elastic band or tie
- Soak your nuts overnight in water.
- Once soaked, blend your nuts in your food processor with the lemon juice, salt, garlic and nutritional yeast.
- Slowly add water to the food processor. Add just enough to allow the food processor to deeply puree the mixture until it is the consistency of oatmeal.
- Put your strainer inside a bowl. Then line the strainer with your cloth.
- Pour the nut mixture into the cloth, then tie it up at tightly as possible. It should look like a cloth wrapped around a tennis ball with a pony tail.
- Put the heavy item on top of the cheese and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The heavy item will help push fluid though the cloth and help the cheese harden. You’ll have a heavy item on top of the cheese that is balanced in the strainer in the bowl to catch the fluid.
- Take it out the next day. You might want to tidy the shape of the cheese by pressing it into another container or bowl, still with the cloth on.
- Remove the cloth
- Sprinkle with chilli flakes, cracked pepper and oregano. Give it a light pat with a spatula so the herbs and spices stick on.
- Put it on a plate, photograph it, put in on instagram and let me know @detrashed! I want to see it!
If you are going to do this as a regular thing and make your own almond milk, get a hold of a nut milk bag.
If you can’t find nutritional yeast at your local bulk food store, you can get it from Amazon.
I used the Ninja food processor. It’s heavy duty and I’ve never had a problem with it.
If you need a spatula, get bamboo cooking utensils instead of plastic or metal. A bamboo utensil will be able to be composted at the end of its life.
Check out this book on making vegan cheese!
Or you can actually buy Miyako’s Cheeses online. (although this technically isn’t zero waste, but I’m so excited to try it!)
You might wonder if giving up dairy products really is healthy? If you’re interested in scientific evidence behind plant-based nutrition, check out Michael Gregor’s new book How Not to Die and his really very awesome youtube channel Nutritionalfacts.org
If you like nuts and these kind of recipes, consider purchasing nuts in bulk online to save money and packaging waste. If you are buying them in bulk from the supermarket or your local coop, make sure you have a set of produce bags. I like these organic cotton ones from Simple Ecology.
Happy vegan cheese making! Let me know any thoughts of questions you have about zero waste living, I love to help.