Vegan Almond Feta ‘Cheese’Posted: May 5, 2011
This recipe is very wait-time intensive, but is very easy and doesn’t take too much actual time to prepare. Be sure to start this recipe at least 2 days before you want to enjoy it. This recipe is adapted from one that was originally published in Vegetarian Times. This is a great substitute for feta cheese and is totally worth the wait time. You can add this cheese to black bean tacos, sandwiches, and pastas for a little extra tang and texture. If you want something smooth and spreadable just skip the baking step. Unbaked this cheese can also be a substitute for ricotta in lasagna and other stuffed pastas.
1 cup Whole Blanched Almonds
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Ground Thyme
1/2 tbsp Dill Weed
1) If your almonds aren’t blanched you will want to start by bringing a saucepan filled about halfway with water to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add your almonds. Let them soak for about a minute and then drain them. Let the almonds cool. The skins should now be loose on the almond so you can use your fingers to squeeze the almond out of the skin. Repeat this process with all of your almonds.
2) Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with about 3 inches of cold water. Let the almonds soak for about 24 hours. Drain the liquid and rinse under cold water.
3) Puree the almonds along with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor for about 6-10 minutes or until the mixture is very smooth and creamy.
4) Place a large strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Pour the almond mixture into the cheesecloth and then bring the corners and sides of cheesecloth together and twist around the cheese to remove excess moisture. The ball of cheese should be about the size of an orange when you are done squeezing out the liquid. Discard the excess liquid. Please note that this process does take a bit of time but it’s worth it to get all of the moisture out that you can.
5) Secure the cheesecloth around the cheese with cooking twine or a rubber band and chill overnight or for at least 12 hours.
6) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Unwrap the cheese and form into a 6 inch disc that’s about 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top of the disc is firm. Cool and then you can either leave it in the disc form or you can crumble the cheese and put in a container to chill. It will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.