Vegan Baked Smoky Cashew Cheese

Vegan Baked Smoky Cashew Cheese

A Vegan Baked Smoky Cashew Cheese made with whole ingredients, smoked paprika, easy and simple methods for a tangy, cheesy and healthy baked cheese. It slices, it spreads and it is completely dairy-free and oil-free!

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This Vegan Baked Smoky Cashew Cheese not only blew me away, but it also blew away my mother-n-law!! My mother-n-law loves dairy cheese and is not vegan and she exclaimed, "Omg! This tastes just like cheese!" We were kind of inhaling it warm from the oven.

I've been wanting to try a baked cashew cheese forever, more specifically, a slice-able one and I really wanted to create one that could be served to guests.

Now, it's been years since I've had  dairy cheese, but I still remember what it tastes like and I can tell you, this satisfied us both my mother-n-law and I. She said she was going to take the whole round of cheese and sneak it back into her room, haha! That's an endorsement, right?

As you can see, there is 2 cheeses featured here, the other one is this Vegan Baked Herbed Cashew Cheese made with fresh Thyme. It is milder in flavor than this smoky version, but equally as delicious!

HOW DO YOU MAKE VEGAN CASHEW CHEESE?

Ok, now, if we want to get as close to a true cheese taste, that is going to require certain ingredients and not just lemon juice, like so many cheese recipes rely on alone, am I right? Lemon juice is great, but it's not enough.

So, I came up with this incredible blend and it is fan-tas-tic. Cheesy, super tangy, rich, depth-of-flavor and NO oil and NO nutritional yeast. Say what?

Normally my go-to acidic element in my cheese recipes, is white distilled vinegar like in this Cream Cheese Alfredo  (and some recipes in my cookbook) and apple cider vinegar in this Strawberry Cream Cheese, BUT, my friends I made an amazing discovery when I was making cheese by accident, I was out of white distilled vinegar and had rice vinegar in my fridge, so I sadly subbed it thinking it wouldn't work as good, but, it is better. I can't even explain the gourmet depth of tang it gives to cheese. It's not as sour as white distilled vinegar, but more of a gourmet, almost wine-like taste.

You only need 7 ingredients (+salt/water) for your vegan baked cashew cheese:

  • raw cashews (gotta be raw folks)
  • vegan worcestershire sauce (this can be found at Sprouts or Whole Foods or on Amazon)
  • rice vinegar (this is the magic!)
  • lemon juice
  • fresh garlic cloves
  • tomato paste
  • smoked paprika

First,  you will soak your cashews overnight. Drain and then add all of the remaining ingredients to a food processor. Process until completely smooth and not gritty.

Spread the cheese mixture into a 6 inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325°F for 35 minutes until firm and just beginning to crack.

OR, bake it for 25 minutes for a more soft-style spread for bread and crackers.

Cool about 15 minutes, then slice and serve. It is heavenly warm and you can also chill it in the fridge if you like. It is delicious any way you serve it.

The cool thing about this cashew cheese? It can be sliced, will stay firm at room temperature indefinitely AND it also spreads like a cream cheese! And NO WEIRD ingredients like agar agar or starches or thickeners etc. that are hard to find. I wanted this to be easy and simple!

See how it spreads too? Just slice and press it down onto the cracker. YUM.

I hope you all really love this Vegan Smoky Baked Cashew Cheese as much as we did, be sure to come back and let me know!

Don't forget to try this Vegan Baked Herbed Cashew Cheese too!

Yields 1 6 inch round

Vegan Baked Smoky Cashew Cheese

A Vegan Baked Smoky Cashew Cheese made with whole ingredients, smoked paprika, easy and simple methods for a tangy, cheesy and healthy baked cheese. It slices, it spreads and it is completely dairy-free and oil-free!

8 hrPrep Time

35 minCook Time

8 hr, 35 Total Time

Recipe Image
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5 based on 9 review(s)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (225g) raw unsalted cashews, soaked overnight, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37g) plain (not seasoned) rice vinegar, please do not sub with another vinegar!
  • 1 teaspoon vegan worcestershire sauce (I use the Annie's brand, it can be found at Sprouts or Whole Foods, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (23g) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) water
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (if you love garlic, choose big or choose small for a mild flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • Note: For this recipe and all of my recipes where I use a food processor, I use this Cuisinart . I've had this one for years and love it! It's very powerful and makes homemade nut butters and purees a breeze.

Instructions

  1. You will need a day in advance to make this cheese, there is no way around this and rushing it will result in a gritty cheese. Trust me on this and do not skip soaking the cashews overnight. This makes the nuts very soft and is necessary since so little liquid is used and is needed to get a creamy consistency.
  2. Add your cashews to a bowl and pour boiling water over them by at least an inch at the top. Cover and leave to sit overnight on your counter or 8 hours minimum. Drain them and rinse them well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C). Line a 6 inch round cake pan with a large piece of parchment paper (see photo) and press it inside the pan and against the sides to make it flat as possible.
  4. Add the soaked/drained cashews to a food processor. Add the rice vinegar, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, lemon juice, water, garlic, smoked paprika and salt. This will not work in a blender, I'm sorry, there is too little liquid and it will never get smooth enough because of the lack of space to go around. Process the mixture for around 30 seconds, scrape down the sides and then blend again for a solid 5 minutes or so until 100% silky smooth and creamy and NO bits of cashews remain. It should be dreamy smooth like the photos. Do not stop processing until it reaches this stage and scrape the sides as needed.
  5. Taste and tell me is that not totally delicious?! If desired, add even more smoked paprika for a stronger smoky flavor or even liquid smoke if you like. The 1 teaspoon smoked paprika gives a smoky flavor that is noticeable but not overwhelming.
  6. This cheese is delicious unbaked too and after chilling in the fridge, will resemble a cream cheese style consistency. So, you can always do that and not bake it as well if you like. The flavor is tangier raw, versus baked as well, both both ways are delicious!
  7. Pour all that yummy cheese mixture into the pan and spread out evenly to the sides and smooth the top.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes for it to be firm and slice-able as pictured. I would advise not going any longer or it can get dry and crumbly. It should just be beginning to crack at the top and be firm.
  9. OR, bake it for 25 minutes for a more soft-style spread for bread and crackers.
  10. Cool 15 minutes and then slice and serve warm. Or, you can chill it in the fridge first. I found that I liked it both ways but the smoky flavor seems stronger while warm.
  11. The end result is cheesy, super tangy, rich and a wonderful depth-of-flavor. I love to add slices the next day from the fridge, put on bread and then slightly toast it. SO GOOD. It would also be awesome topped onto hot soup at serving!
7.8.1.2
1992

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45 Comments

  1. Hi, Brandi! You absolutely CAN do this in a blender ... You just need a NutriBullet or other bullet blender. I make single quantity dressings all the time in mine. Here's a video showing a tiny dressing (1/2 cup total) being made in a bullet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui5AVQIcW8k
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Laurie, I tried it in my Vitamix and it did not do well at all. There is very little liquid and yes, with dressings, it does work, I do that all the time, but for cream cheeses like this I find are a HUGE pain to get smooth and take forever so I don't recommend it. Dressings tend to have a decent amount of liquid, versus this cheese recipe.. This is a very similar liquid to nut ratio, as my ricotta cheese and it absolutely does not work in my Vitamix, so to avoid a ton of people complaining of a gritty result, I recommend a food processor but feel free to attempt this without one! I guess a nutribullet is totally different??
  2. This looks really yummy! How essential is the Worcestershire sauce? Even the Annie’s brand has ingredients I can’t eat (cane sugar, wheat, chilli and alcohol). Is there any reasonable alternative do you think? I’m very intolerant to chilli so can’t have smoked paprika either (even though I love it), but I still might try experimenting myself with different flavours.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      It's pretty important for depth of flavor here, but you can try low-sodium tamari instead. It is not as good of a flavor we are after here as worcestershire, but hopefully it will work. That's the best I can think of! I cannot guarantee results though, so let me know if you try it.
  3. As always....looks great. Remember the cheddar beer cheese? How about doing some of your magic with a beer or wine flavor? Thanks for all you do!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha, I was actually thinking of a wine flavor this morning, so funny you mentioned that! As far as a dehydrator, I have NO idea. Never owned or used one, so to avoid a potential disaster, I would just bake it as listed! :) It is actually quite firm and does NOT melt or disintegrate into a blob, lol, so no need for the dehydrator to firm it up more. And of course, if you like, placing the baked cheese in the fridge to chill makes it like cold firm slices. It is honestly good warm or cold.
  4. Oh, one more thing. What would happen if we put it in a dehydrator for a short while. Make it firmer? Or would it turn it into a disaster? Ha!
  5. I'm pretty sure I will be living on this from now on. Thanks Brandi!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha, that is how my mother-n-law feels too! She did not see me actually making the cheese and was like "what is this made of???" hahaha! She couldn't believe cashews when I told her!
  6. I just love your recipes. They’re classy, healthy, and 8 ingredients or less! What’s not to love?!?! I’m for sure squeezing this delicious beauty on thanksgiving day!! Thank you.
  7. I am allergic to both wheat AND rice. I cant use Annie's because it has wheat, and you wrote explicitly not to switch out the rice vi edgar for another vinegar... Does that mean that I should give up on trying to make your recipe with suitable modifications...? It's so expensive to waste Gluten free and allergy free ingredients while experimenting....But this cheese sounds soooooooo amazing and I'd love to make it for Thanksgiving. Please help with suitable substtitutions?? Thanks!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh man, that's a bummer since those are key ingredients! This is just a guess, so I can't guarantee the result, but the only vinegar I can suggest would be white balsamic vinegar. Walmart and most stores sell them, it's very common. For the worcestershire, try low-sodium tamari. It is not as good of a flavor we are after here as worcestershire, but hopefully it will work. That's the best I can think of!
  8. I just purchased the kindle version of your cookbook and I’m excited to try some recipes! Do you have the nutrional info. on the cheeses you just created? Thank you for all you for all you do!
  9. First I just want to say I love your recipes Brandi! My question is do you think I can use a spring form pan and skip using the parchment paper? I can't wait to try these two cheese recipes!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Debbie! You can definitely use a spring form pan if it’s the right size but I don’t think it’d be a good idea to skip the paper, otherwise the cheese will likely stick and burn on the sides. The cheese forms a bit of a crust and I’m afraid it would burn. Let me know when you try it!
  10. Just made it and it’s in the oven now! It tasted sooo good I literally licked the entire bowl of the food processor clean...at 9am. Haha!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hahaha I was the same way!! I’m so glad you love it! Thank you so much for letting me know! You can enjoy it so many different ways all in the length of time you bake it too! I’ve had it on toast, blended into sauce. The possibilities are endless :)
  11. This sounds so amazing!! I just realized I only have seasoned rice vinegar 🤦🏼‍♀️ Do you think that will significantly change the flavor?? I would hate to have to go back out to the store just for that... thanks for all your yummy recipes!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I'm afraid seasoned rice vinegar won't work well because it's sweetened with sugar and salt as well as being less acidic. Check your label and see if sugar is an added ingredient?? Do you have white balsamic vinegar?
      • Husband is on his way to the store 🙌🏼
  12. Thank you for sharing this recipe, it sounds so easy and tasty! Just printed it out and going to try it tomorrow! Does it make a difference in the texture if the cashews are only soaked in hot water for a few hours vs overnight? Also would you mind if I shared a post about it on my site? I'll link your recipe & site to the post. Thanks so much for your creative, easy and delicious recipes!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Angie, thank you! A few hours may be okay, as long as you just run your food processor long enough to get it smooth! Yes, you can share a post about it as long as you aren't posting the actual recipe and giving credit, thank you!
  13. This was very easy to make and delicious! I actually had 2 small 3" round pans so used those and it turned out well with same baking tiime. I could have easily eaten the whole thing so beware!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So very happy to hear that Pam, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review! So happy you loved it and I am having the same problem, eating so much of it, haha!
  14. I saw this and had to make it right away! Vegan cheese you can actually make yourself and slice. It’s great and I can’t wait to share it tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I had everything but the Worcestershire sauce so I found a quick recipe online to make that, in case other people are in the same situation:) Thank you!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay! So so thrilled you loved it Stacey and found a sub for the worcestershire sauce and it worked! Thank you for the wonderful review!
  15. I made this today and I truly was blown away. This is a fantastic recipe. I'll admit I wanted to take short cuts by not soaking the cashews and using my Vitamix, but I didn't. Brandi I followed your instructions to the letter and it came out perfect. It satisfied my hankering for some cheese. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh, this makes me sooo happy to hear Ella!! So thrilled you were blown away by the cheese and enjoyed it so much, thank you for the lovely review!!
  16. I wasn’t sure this would work but I was pleasantly surprised!! I added about 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke so it’s a bit smokier. I didn’t love it until it was baked. It’s fantastic and I’ll make it again!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay! So glad you loved it Mawi! It’s my favorite way Baked, too, although I, like many others readers have told me, we licked the food processor clean because it was so tasty 😂😂
  17. Of course I expect anything you post to be wonderful but this exceeded my expectations! Yum! Followed your directions exactly. Added extra smoked paprika. Had it with crackers. Later in the week will have on flat bread with some veggies. You need to think about selling this cheese commercially---it's better than even Miyoko's cheeses or other upscale vegan brands. Then again, maybe you don't want to---I read that a woman is attempting to sue Miyoko because she said calling one of her products butter when there's no dairy is misleading! So maybe we should keep this just among those of us who are okay with calling whole foods plant-based items such as this cheese---those of us who would rather enjoy great taste and a healthier, kinder alternative to dairy and not complain about what it's called or what it's not. I've rated this 5 stars, but it deserves many more!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh goodness Ellen, you seriously made me smile SO big with this comment! That has to be the highest praise ever on a cheese recipe, thank you! I've had Miyoko's cheeses and they are simply divine, so for you to say that is a HUGE compliment! I'm so humbled by that. Haha, that is really so silly that some people want to sue over the most absurd things, right? Thank you again for this FANTASTIC REVIEW!
  18. Thank you for posting this recipe! I made it today to go with tomato soup. Simply wonderful! You are a genius how you come up with these recipes. You've made eating WFPB so much easier for me!!
  19. Can this be done with raw cashew butter? I have asked about that with several of your other recipes and it has worked great! Any idea how much raw cashew butter it would be? Thanks again!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Heather, so sorry for my delay!! I'm behind on comments. I have not tried this with cashew butter but you could try it! 225g would equal about 14 tablespoons of raw cashew butter, so 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons. Let me know if you try it! Still use all the remaining ingredients by exact measurement.
  20. Thanks for the recipe! What if we omit the garlic? Is there anything else we can replace it with? Thanks again.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Mary, you can omit it if you like. It will have less depth of flavor but still be good.
  21. Joy
    I’m ‘only’ to the eating it raw on crackers stage and I just had to make my gratitude be known! So, so very yummy on my seed crackers. I can hardly wait for the final product to be out of the oven. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay, thank you for your kind words Joy!
  22. Made this for a party with vegans and non-vegans and everyone loved it! Thank-you so much Brandy!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Woohoo, that is the best feedback, thank you so much Melanie for leaving feedback!
  23. This turned out so amazing, by far the best vegan cheese I've ever had! I'm so thankful to have this recipe not only for my husband and I but for a healthy snack for my 11 month old.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh, this makes me so happy to hear Jessi, thank you so much for the awesome review!!
  24. I made this yesterday and It. Is. Amazing. I just wanted to say thank you for this deliciousness! I have made several vegan cheeses but this was by far my favorite, plus it was so quick and easy. I used a springform pan and only lined the bottom with parchment, not the sides. At the last minute I got scared and spritzed the sides with a little oil. It popped right out. I don't think the parchment was necessary in this case and maybe the oil wasn't either, as my springform pan is nonstick. I will continue to experiment. Thanks again!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh wow, I love this feedback Lauralei, thank you so much for sharing and I'm so happy it's your favorite!

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