The holidays are a great way to showcase your artistic side! Making a great vegan charcuterie board such as this just a few years ago would have been much more complicated than it is now! There are so many great choices out there for vegan meats, cheeses, sauces, and even plant-based meats!
The key is knowing how to put it all together! To me, variety is the spice of life! So I like to find a variety of hard cheeses, soft cheeses, dips, and crackers. Daiya makes a great Farmhouse style block cheese, and of course, Miyoko Schinner, the original Queen of the Vegan Cheese, makes some pretty amazing cheeses that will blow your vegan minds! I like to slice the cheeses in different ways. Cubed, quartered, triangled, wavy, or ribboned, there is no wrong way to slice! In face the more the merrier!
Other accouterments might include olives (if you can find olive branches, they make a great garnish), pimentos, any variety of nuts, seasonal fruits, fresh figs, and don’t forget your garnishes! Sometimes, I will slice and use a toasted baguette! In the photo above, I made a sun-dried tomato cheesecake with rosemary. As a garnish, I used fresh sprigs of rosemary with some fresh cranberries for a festive look!
The other key to a good board is to have things spread out evenly. If you have a spread on one side, make sure you have one on the other side too! Balance is key! The best part is that it will allow you to showcase your artistic side and delight your guests! Don’t forget to add a few cheese knives and picks! I like the stainless steel picks because they can be reused! Whatever your style, have fun and enjoy!
I adore Julie Piatt, aka Sri Mati. She is the author of “This Cheese is Nuts” and is also what you might call my spiritual mentor. She is a peace-loving hippie momma and a vegan. And she has created the best vegan version of goat cheese or chèvre that I’ve ever had. I make this recipe at least 2-3 days before I want to use it. I think the longer it has to sit and ferment, the better.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, don’t fret. You can use your oven on the lowest setting (mine is 150°) and bake for 1 hour. Because I make a lot of vegan cheeses I always keep acidophilus caps in the fridge. Also, I think it goes without saying that you do have to open the capsules before using, but I’ll say it anyway!
2 tsp refined coconut oil (make SURE it says “refined”)
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
2 Tbsp za’atar, or other herb combo such as thyme, oregano, marjoram
Add everything but the za’atar to blender. Blend on medium speed until smooth. Depending on your mixer this could take anywhere from 45 seconds to 3-4 minutes.
Transfer mixture to the center of cheese cloth. Gather the edges and tie off each end with string. Place in dehydrator and dehydrate at 90° for 24 hours. If you do not have a dehydrator you can achieve something similar in a low oven at 170° for one hour.
Once aging is complete remove cheese from the cloth including the rind, and add to stand mixer. Mix until light and fluffy.
Adjust seasonings to taste. She recommends adding the remaining 1/8 tsp, if too mild.
Turn cheese out onto clean workspace and divide in half. Roll 1/2 of the cheese inside wax paper until it forms a nice even log. Repeat with the other half.
After the logs have set roll in herb mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Sweet dreams are made of cheese! I think I’ve mentioned this a few times, but the most challenging part of being a vegan was giving up the cheese. I even went so far as to create and teach a vegan cheese class! I adore this vegan Queso Blanco! It is so yummy and so easy to make. I put it on everything from my enchiladas to making a delicious mac-n-cheese. Mostly, I stand around with a plate of warm tortilla chips and dip until my heart’s content! I hope you love it as much as I do!
The other great thing about this recipe is that it is cholesterol-free, yep 100% plant-based, and no oil! Serve this dip piping hot, and don’t be surprised when it disappears quickly! Easy to re-heat with just a tablespoon or two plant-based milk and microwave on medium heat for 30 seconds. Stir, and add 30 seconds as needed until warm!
This oil-free vegan queso is ready in less than 15 minutes! So yummy, you can add as much or as little heat as you want by skipping the jalapeños or doubling them up! Enjoy!
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, if not using high powered blender
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup plant-based milk (I use Oatly oat milk)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp tapioca starch (for a gooey consistency)
1–2 tsp salt
1 (4 oz) can pickled jalapeños with juice
1 can tomatoes with green chili’s, like Rotel
Dash turmeric for color, if desired
Warm a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp vegetable stock and onions. Sauté onions until done and translucent, about 7-8 minutes. Remove onions from pan, and add to blender. Add all remaining ingredients except the Rotel tomatoes, if using. Blend until very smooth. If using a Vitamix, about 45 seconds on high.
Transfer to a saucepan and put on the stove over medium-low heat. Heat until desired consistency, continually stirring so as not to burn the bottom.
Taste and add extra salt if desired. Pour vegan queso into a serving bowl and stir in the 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños and drained can of Rotel if using. Garnish and serve.
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge about 5 days. When reheating, add additional unsweetened plant-based milk, if desired, to thin to desired consistency.
You can use chicken broth instead of vegetable if you’re not vegan.
I’ll be honest. I love cheese. It was, in fact, the most challenging thing for me to give up as a vegan. As a result, I even created and taught a class around the art of vegan cheese making. Years ago, when I first went plant-based, the vegan cheeses at the store always fell flat. The texture was off, and the taste was subpar, at best. Fast forward to now, my friends. I am so happy to say that Daiya has come up with a Farmhouse Style block cheese that is extremely good and quite impressive!
I serve in on my charcuterie boards, and many of my non-vegan friends are amazed at how delicious it is! It looks like cheddar, feels like cheddar, and tastes like cheddar! That said, I had never really used it in a recipe until now! It was everything I’d hoped it would be! It melts exceptionally well and adds a rich depth of creamy goodness! Very pleased, and I think you will be, too! This soup is for you, Lisa G. I hope you like it!
Delicious smoky cheddar beer soup! Serve it in a bread boule, and voila, you are in cheese heaven!
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
⅛ tsp liquid smoke
One 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner
About 2 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plant-based milk
1 package of Daiya Cheddar Farmhouse Style block, coarsely grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Bread Boule, for serving
In a dutch oven, bring ¼ cup veggie stock to a simmer over medium heat. Add celery, carrots, shallots, and jalapeno, cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add more stock 1 tbsp at a time, as needed, to prevent sticking. To the dutch oven add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned about 2 minutes. Whisk ½ the beer and all the stock into this roux until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the milk, and cheddar cheese, and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Blend with an immersion blender, or blend half of the soup in the blender, then add the remaining soup, and blend until smooth. Stir in the liquid smoke and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with french bread!
I used a Belgian style farmhouse ale, and it was delicious! You can use Daiya’s Farmhouse Jalapeño Havarti, or their Smoked Gouda, for this recipe as well.
Just because you give up dairy doesn’t mean you have to give up cheese! Many things can make milk! You just need milk with higher fat content to make good rich cheese. Hence, cashews! I keep this cheese on hand all the time. I use it as a sauce for macaroni and cheese, and as a base for my famous black bean dip! But one of my favorite things to use it for is the base for a broccoli potato soup! Sometimes, I just shamelessly stand over the bowl and eat it until I’m about to burst. Loaded with protein and spices, this cheese sauce it my absolute favorite.
To heat or reheat microwave, covered, in 30-second bursts, whisking at each interval and thinning with water as needed. Or re-warm on the stovetop, whisking occasionally and thinning with water as needed.
Easy Chili Cashew Queso
1 ½ C. raw cashews
1 cup hot water
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch chili powder (optional)
1 chipotle in adobo with a little sauce
To make the Queso, add all ingredients to a high -speed blender and blend until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides at least once.
Feel free to substitute salsa, roasted jalapenos, or your favorite hot sauce in place of the chipotle pepper. The sauce is also really delicious with no heat!
Please join me for my next vegan cheese class at Bike Stop Café in Chesterfield on August 5th. I will be featuring four cheeses including a cashew queso, a melty mozzarella, a delicious golden cheddar, and an almond chèvre that is to die for!