Vegan Almond Feta Cheese

food

I have recently started enjoying pinterest, especially as a place to pin recipes that I want to try!  One of those recipes that I pinned was this gorgeous looking almond feta cheese.  I had exactly one cup of almonds left, and decided to give it a try, as feta is one of my favorite cheeses!  I have tried a couple different tofu feta cheeses, but I didn’t really enjoy them very much.

I’m SO glad I tried this recipe out as I LOVE the results!  It’s not exactly like feta, but it IS pretty close and can be used in feta-like circumstances such as in a pasta salad, on a pizza, etc.   I think if I make it again I will reduce the lemon juice just a tad and maybe reduce the olive oil as well to make it less calorie-dense.

Since the recipe has been posted in a couple places already, I will also post it here for your convenience.  I found the recipe here.

Almond Feta Cheese

adapted from Vegetarian Times, April 2009

1 cup (240 ml) whole blanched almonds (I blanched my own by placing into boiling water, boiling for 1 minute, draining, and then popping off the skins).

1/4 cup (60 ml.) fresh lemon juice (I will reduce this to 3Tbs next time)

3 Tbsp (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil (I will reduce this to 2T next time unless I’m serving guests)

1 clove garlic

1-1/4 tsp (6 ml) fine sea salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) cold water

1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil (I only used 2T and it was plenty)

1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves (optional)

1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh rosemary leaves (optional)

Place the almonds in a bowl of room-temperature water; allow to soak for 24 hours, then drain and rinse.

In a powerful blender, purée the almonds, lemon juice, 3 T olive oil, garlic, salt and water until very creamy, 5-7 minutes. (The original recipe calls for a food processor, but I used a blender as the previous poster suggested).

Place a triple layer of cheesecloth over a strainer and spoon the cheese mixture into it.  Bring up the ends of the cheesecloth, twist the top and squeeze slightly to remove some of the excess liquid; tie the top with a twist tie or elastic. Allow to drain in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 8 hours. (I didn’t have cheesecloth so I just used a clean kitchen towel.  I think next time I’ll try to get some cheesecloth as I didn’t have any liquid drip out, though liquid did seep into the whole towel).

Preheat oven to 200F (You can cook at higher temp, just keep an eye on it, mine got a little too brown though it was still tasty!).  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (I cooked mine in a lightly greased small glass pan).  Turn the cheese out onto the parchment and shape it into a disk about 3/4-inch ( cm) thick.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is firm and dry. Cool, then chill.

When ready to serve, place the cheese on a plate.  Top with additional olive oil (I only used about 2 Tbsp/30 ml instead of the 1/4 cup/60 ml), sprinkle with herbs, and enjoy. (I used basil and rosemary rather than the herbs called for, since that’s what I had on hand; I think pretty much any fresh herbs would be fantastic with this).  Makes 4 appetizer servings (seemed to me that it would serve more like 6-8 as an appetizer, I thought it would turn out smaller than it did).

The cheese spread beautifully on crackers!  Actually the texture reminded me very much of cream cheese or even cheesecake!  I’m wondering if it had some sugar added, and used canola oil instead of olive oil, whether it would taste like a cheesecake.  I definitely will try that someday!  The texture was more like cheesecake than any tofu cheesecake that I’ve made.  Creamy and dense!

At first I just put the grapes on the plate for the photos, but after finishing the photos I decided to try the cheese with the grapes and I found it was very tasty!   I think tomorrow morning I will try the cheese in a vegan omelet with some mushrooms.  yummers!   These are the vegan omelets that I made last week when I didn’t have any eggs in the house (I don’t eat eggs often, but Naren still enjoys them regularly).  These omelets turned out so well that Naren didn’t even know they were not egg until I told him!  And I didn’t even add any black salt since I don’t have any.  I think that makes this recipe a winner!  The main tip I would give about those is not to flip too early, my first one was slightly messed up, but still tasty!

If you try this recipe and/or have other ideas on how to change things up for it, let me know!  Hm… what about making it into a mini chocolate cheesecake?

6 thoughts on “Vegan Almond Feta Cheese

  1. I actually love the way yours looks, having browned on the outside–makes it look more like an authentic wheel of cheese, actually! Your photos are just lovely. Thanks so much for the shout-out! 🙂

    1. Aw, thanks 🙂 I’m lucky I caught it when I did, I have a tricky oven that likes to burn things! The texture of the browned outside was a lot like the browned outside of cheesecake! Thanks for sharing the recipe with everyone!

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