I had another food career for 30 years before I started to focus all my attention on a PALEO & WHOLE30 lifestyle. When I was working as a wine and food journalist, author, speaker, and teacher, I did a lot of work in the realm of wine and cheese pairing. As a “non-taster,” I loved all the sharp and smelling cheeses.
Whether you are following a PALEO or WHOLE30 diet or lifestyle, the kind of taster you are will determine the sorts of foods that you enjoy. People born with the fewest amount of taste buds are called non-tasters. We need a load of flavour to feel satisfied. Supertasters are those born with many taste buds and so are super sensitive tasters. Non-tasters like to call these folks “finicky” or “high maintenance.” But they are not. They simply experience the taste sensations in a far more pronounced way. Supertasters like coffee with milk. Non-tasters might drink stronger coffee, even black. Supertasters enjoy mild cheeses like mozzarella. Non-tasters enjoy mozzarella, smoked cheeses, sharp cheeses, blue cheeses and even cheese on the edge of being overripe like Brie on the edge of ammonia!
In the middle are the medium tasters that sway to both sides but stay close to the middle.
Non-tasters also like lots of fat. Fat has more flavour. When I ordered my Keto pizza at Pizza Pizza (Ontario, Canada), I asked for double mozz. Love mozzarella.
That’s why I have been experimenting in making vegan mozzarella. The art of making vegan cheeses really appeals to me.
Raw cashews or raw almonds are the base ingredient of this mozzarella cheese. I prefer to use raw almonds. If you have a nut allergy, you can make the cheese without the nuts. It is not quite as dense and has a far milder taste. Almost neutral. But it still works!
Tapioca starch: Also known as tapioca flour, this ingredient provides a wonderful stretchy quality to the cheese. Tapioca starch is a carbohydrate. But with the fat from the cashews or almonds, this sugar is released slowly into the body. You can buy tapioca starch at bulk food stores.
Kappa Carrageenan: When I first started making vegan cheese, I came across this ingredient. From my wine journalism days, I had heard of this vegan additive for beer making. I headed to a beer-making facility locally and they sold a bag of this ingredient to me. You can also get Carrageenan (as I call it) on Amazon. If you prefer not to use this ingredient or cannot obtain it, agar will also work.
Nutritional yeast is probably the most important ingredient in vegan cheesemaking. The reason is that the predominant taste sensation of Nutritional yeast is umami – the fifth taste sensation of depth and roundness of flavour.
I prefer to use Kosher salt, although you can always choose sea salt.
Refined coconut oil: This ingredient is less expensive than the unrefined version and also lacks that coconut taste. The taste is neutral, which is what you want when making vegan cheese. We don’t want our cheese to taste like coconut.
Lemon juice: Refrain from using bottled lemon juice which has a completely different flavour than the juice extracted from fresh lemons.
Apple cider adds a different tanginess to the cheese, along with the lemon juice.
RECIPE NUTRITIONAL VALUE:
This vegan cheese is made from either cashews or almonds and so is loaded in healthy monounsaturated fats. The coconut oil, although saturated, is also super healthy.
RECIPE TASTE PROFILE:
The taste of this cheese is very mild with a slightly nutty taste. The sensation most notable is the fattiness on the mouthfeel.
DIRTY-BIRDY WINE PARTNER (FOR THOSE MAINTAINING A PALEO OR WHOLE30 LIFESTYLE:
With the predominant sensation of this cheese being fattiness and creaminess, choose a white wine with equivalent creaminess, such as a big, fat Chardonnay. One with malo-lactic fermentation to soften its acidity to creaminess.
This cheese is absolutely delicious on other PALEO & WHOLE30 recipes, such as:
Soak the cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender add all ingredients except for the boiling water.
Quickly pour in the boiling hot water into the blender, and immediately put the lid on and blend. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down once if needed. Work quickly as the cheese starts to harden immediately and once it does, you cannot break the hardening or it won’t harden at all.
Immediately pour the cheese into your prepared container. It will start to harden super fast, so do not wait.Place your container in the refrigerator, uncovered, and let chill for 4 to 5 hours.
Kappa Carrageenan is a natural substance from red seaweed that helps thicken/gels. As mentioned, it is often used in brewing beer. You can substitute with agar. However, I love the texture and melting quality when using Carrageenan.
Place all the ingredients except for the agar agar and water to the blender and set aside. In a small pot, stir together 6 tablespoons agar and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly until it firms up and gels. Add this to the blender, blend, then transfer to the container and refrigerate.