I never wanted to venture down the road of making my own vegan cheese, but after purchasing a few different brands of nut cheeses in the US and going on a binge I thought "it can't be that hard!" And it surprisingly isn't. If you want to give it a try this recipe is super delicious and your cheeseball will be very impressive if you're having a dinner party.
NOTE: you don't have to use the vegan probiotic but this is what will help give it slightly more "cheesy flavour". Plus if you already take probiotics on the regular then you have exactly what you need in the fridge! It's activated by the fermented miso paste in the mixture and works it's bacteria magic in the first phase when the cheese is sitting in a slightly warm / room temperature environment. I've also updated the written recipe with a large version and a smaller version with slightly different amounts of ingredients.
** makes 1 large cheeseball (6 to 8 people):
2 1/4 C raw cashews (soaked for 20 minutes in hot water)
2/3 C fresh filtered water
1 tsp miso paste
powder from 2 vegan source probiotic capsules (10 billion CFU)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper (or white pepper)
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp fresh dill fronds
1/3 C shelled salted pistachios, finely chopped
ingredients for a slightly smaller cheeseball (2 to 4 people):
1 1/2 C raw cashews (soaked for minimum of 3 hours)
1/2 C fresh filtered water
1/2 tsp miso paste
powder from 1 vegan source probiotic capsules (10 billion CFU)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper (or white pepper)
1/2 tbsp basil
1/2 tbsp dill fronds
1/4 C shelled salted pistachios, finely chopped
Drain the soaking water from the cashews and rinse them in fresh water. In a food processor or high-powered blender combine cashews, fresh filtered water, miso paste, probiotic powder, lemon juice, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper until smooth. Be patient, the mixture will get smooth eventually with a little manual labor helping it along. Just stop the food processor or blender every so often and push the mixture off of the sides with a spatula.
Once the mixture is smooth, add in the dill and basil through the feeding tube at the top while the machine is running. If you're using a high-powered blender, stir the finely chop the herbs and stir them into the mixture by hand so that it doesn't turn the cheese light green!
Empty the mixture into 2 layers of cheesecloth. Make sure the cheesecloth is cut big enough to cover the entire cheeseball and have some excess at the top. Tie the excess ends at the top around a wooden spoon or something that can suspend the cheeseball in a large mixing bowl so that it doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Then cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it in a warm, dark place (in a cupboard, on the counter, or on top of the fridge for 16 hours.)
After 16 hours unwrap the cheesecloth and transfer the mixture into a new clean 2 layered cheesecloth. You can reuse these if you just wash them in warm water and a little dish soap and allow them to air dry. Tie this around the wooden spoon again and suspend it the same way in the mixing bowl but keep it covered with a tea towel in the fridge for 24-36 hours. The longer it sits the more cheesy "fermented" flavour it will develop.
If you're leaving it in the fridge longer than 36 hours, just remove the cheeseball from the cheesecloth so it doesn't stick and instead wrap it in plastic until ready to cover in pistachios to serve.
When you're ready to serve the cheeseball, unwrap it from the cheesecloth and gently shape it into a ball with your hands if it lost its round shape at all. Gently press the finely chopped pistachios around it and serve immediately.
You can also add the pistachios a couple hours before serving and leave the cheeseball in the fridge on your serving platter. Then it's all ready to go when your guests arrive.
NOTE: I doubt you will have any left overs but it's good for a total of 7 days from the time you made the cheese.