Cheese is a big thing for me. I was born a cheese lover! First there was the ‘regular’ soft white cheese that I used to simply spread on a thick brown bread or just to mix with sugar (white!!!) and vanilla extract, creating my own personal treat. Then came the 30% fat cheese that I just loved; these were the kind of cheese that first introduced me to cellulite… of course, with 30% fat – what were I thinking??
In New York City I got exposed to cream cheese; I liked it hot from the microwave. Little did I know how dangerous was this cream cheese to my body, and how many Issues I had because of it. Back then, I still didn’t connect the dots. I had no Idea.
Then they were the pizza cheese and the sophisticated french kinds of cheese. And of course, the cow milk in my morning coffee (eventually I replaced it with almonds milk, and now I only drink water or fresh juice in the mornings). Even when I was about to stop consume animals, I only gave up on meat. It took me a fair amount of time to say last goodbye to animals cheese.
As a vegan, I do my best to find proper replacements to all my past non-vegan favorites, and cheese is one of them. I must admit that after being vegan for couple of years I was on an 8 hours flight and the only thing I could eat was a cheese sandwich, as the vegan meal I ordered was missing. So it was either to get a strong headache from hours of hunger, or to eat this cheese sandwich. I ate the cheese. And guess what? it was disgusting! Not tasty at all! The guy that was sitting next to me ate it too, and said that he liked it a lot. Which means that my taste buds had shifted, and cheese was not great for me anymore!! Needless to say, my stomach didn’t take it too well and I felt sick most of the flight… (yes – if you stop eating crap for long time, you don’t like it anymore! BTW it doesn’t happen with good food. Try to avoid your favorite fruit for long time and then eat it again. Guess what? It will still be delicious!).
Now, when the vegan population is growing, thank god, you could find here and there some great vegan cheese. Especially in Israel (believe it or not, Israel is the biggest vegan population in the world according to its size, and most Israelis are vegan out of compassion reasons. Some great people in Israel!!! Hope to be able to visit there one day and see the vegan revolution with my own eyes).
This is a very yummy vegan cheese recipe. You can eat it warm from the oven (heaven!!!), cold from the fridge, spread it on a bread or eat it with a spoon. It’s sooooo good! Yes it has a lot of fat, but it’s the good fat! And of course, this vegan cheese is full of great nutrients that will only do great things for your body (unlike the ‘regular’ cow cheese that can only offer you antibiotics, unnecessary hormones, pus, GMO and lots of suffering energy).
You will need a cheese cloth or any similar fabric.
And now, the recipe!!
What you need:
* 1.5 cups almonds
* 3 spoons fresh lemon juice (please, fresh only. those from the bottle will never, never! be the same)
* 1/2 garlic clove (you could risk it with a whole garlic clove if you really love garlic!)
* 3 spoons olive oil plus some more to brush the cheese later
* 1/2 tbs salt
* About 1/2 cup of water (up to 1 cup)
* Mix of spices for the cheese top (I used Za’atar but almost any good mix will do).
Options for the toppings (recommended but not a must):
Jam (100% fruits!), Za'atar spice, sesame.
What to do:
* Blend all the ingredients except the water in a blender, and then add the water slowly. You may need just 1/2 a cup of water to get a nice wet ‘cheese’, but you may need just a little more. Blend well until all the almonds are well crushed and you get a really smooth wet cheese.
* Put the cheese in the cheese cloth and leave in the fridge overnight (or a minimum of 8 hours).
* Take off the cheese cloth and put the cheese on a baking tray (on aluminium foil, but don’t cover), and brush it with olive oil. Sprinkle the spice mix on top; I used za’atar blend (a dry spice mix of special oregano, thyme and sesame seeds. You may get Za’atar in middle eastern shops). You may add your own spice mix, paprika, garlic mix, sweet jam or anything you like!
* Bake in 150 degrees (Celsius) for anything between 20-40 minutes (up to your personal taste. I like it longer time to get a thicker crispy edges).
* Add toppings if you like.
As I mentioned, you can eat it hot or cold. You can create couple of cheese and top each one with a different topping for a party. Enjoy!!!