Vegan mozzarella is creamy and rich thanks to cashew yogurt and avocado oil. Poon combines those probiotics and pink Himalayan salt, then after it sit for a few hours she puts it into a saucepan and whisking in cassava flour, agar powder, and nutritional yeast to thicken it and achieve a gooey texture. In addition to being an easy vegan alternative to mozzarella cheese, it also boasts health benefits. Probiotics, like the rejuvelac used in the recipe, are linked to better gut-health. Cashews contain around five grams of protein per ounce, and are high in brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, they're an excellent source of magnesium, a nutrient many of us aren't getting enough of.
The end result is a vegan cheese that's melty and stringy like the traditional mozzarella cheeses made with water buffalo or cow milk, but minus the animal byproducts. Poon recommends making it 12-24 hours before you plan to use it.
Serena Poon's easy vegan mozzarella recipe
8 oz homemade unsweetened plant-based yogurt (I prefer cashew, store-bought is also okay)
4 oz rejuvelac, homemade preferred, store-bought okay (can also use water kefir, miso)
1/3 cup avocado oil (can use sunflower oil)
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt or sea salt
4 tbsp cassava flour
2 tbsp agar powder
1 tsp nutritional yeast
large bowl of ice water with 1 teaspoon of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1. Combine the yogurt, rejuvelac or other probiotic liquid, avocado oil and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until mixture is creamy.
2. Transfer the mixture into a clean (sterile!) glass container, cover with a cheese cloth and set on your kitchen counter for a minimum of 8 to about 24 hours.
3. Taste check the cheese mixture after 8 hours for preferred tartness and “bite”. Allow the mixture to continue to set until desired “bite” or sharpness. Continue to check every 2 hours.
4. Once the cheese has reached desired sharpness, pour the cheese mixture into a medium saucepan. Using a wire whisk, mix in cassava flour, agar, nutritional yeast.
5. Over medium heat, cook the mixture, stirring continually until the mixture is very smooth, thick, gooey and glossy. It is not ready if there is not a sheen to it, so keep cooking until the right consistency is reached.
6. Once the cheese mixture is slightly cooled enough to touch, use an ice cream scooper, to scoop and form little balls of the cheese and drop them into an ice bath of water (which has about 1 teaspoon salt added to it). They will harden almost immediately. (Refrigerate for 4-5 days, covered.)
When you're not making your own a vegan cheese, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, says these are the healthiest options you can buy at the grocery store:
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