Vegan cream cheese recipe – a simple non dairy mild cheese spread made from nutritional yeast, herbs and spice blended together with cashew nuts.
I have been experimenting with vegan cream cheese for quite some time now and I’m pleased with the results. This cashew cream cheese is one of my first samples of nut cheese and it tastes absolutely delicious.
I remember when I was first introduced to “vegan cheese” I could not quite comprehend the idea of nuts yielding any form of cheese, it was almost an alien concept. How could this be? It’s the nutritional yeast that has a strong cheese flavour and compliments this nut cheese substitute.
What is vegan cream cheese
In short, it is a dairy free cream cheese variation to conventional soft cheese which is made with animal milk and cream. In the world of all things dairy free, you can make cream cheese with nuts i.e almonds, cashews etc.., non dairy yoghurt, coconut oil, agar agar, nutritional yeast, tapioca starch, soy protein.
I’ve got to hand it to vegans for their ability to creatively navigate their way through making vegan cream cheese substitutes.
My version is more like a vegan soft cheese spread/dip made with cashew nuts, nutritional yeast and some mild spices for flavour.
What is nutritional yeast
Well first of all let me clear up a misconception, nutritional yeast is not the same as “brewers yeast” which is rather bitter in taste and used as part of the beer making process.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast which is made from an organism known as Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. Glucose from molasses or beet is used as the primary cultivating ingredient.
Once the yeast has matured it is harvested, washed, dried and completely deactivated with heat. This process allows the yeast to be sold safely as a commercial food product.
In stores you will find different variations ranging from a yellow pale powder to small flakes. It is protein enriched, high in B-complex vitamins, low in sodium/fat and suitable those who seek dietary requirements (Gluten free, paleo, vegan et al).
Vegan cream cheese ingredients
- Cashew nuts
- Nutritional yeast
- Black pepper
- Himalayan pink salt
How make to vegan cream cheese
In order to make my non dairy cheese I used some pre soaked cashew nuts.
Blending the cashew nuts – I do recommend pre soaking your cashews in some luke warm water, I saturated my nuts for roughly an hour (as this was suffice for softness) and used my high speed blender which is a vitamix with the tamper stick to help breakdown and puree the cashews.
You can use a food processor that will work too, but you may need to add more water, just add 1/4 cup at a time until a creamy consistency is achieved.
You MUST soak the cashew nuts for a creamy consistency
In order to see results similar to the picture below the key is to soak the cashews until soft and whiz them in a high speed blender/food processor, as this leaves you with an extra creamy texture.
Adding herbs/spices to the cheese – The chives and the black pepper provide a savoury twist. Of course this wouldn’t be vegan nut cheese without the star of the show – Mr nutritional yeast, a few spoons of this, brings the soft cheese to a whole another level.
You can use this vegan cream cheese for………
- Savoury frosting
- Stews and/or curries
One thing I should note is that THIS cream cheese is NOT suitable for baking. You can’t double this up for frosting that you would apply to cupcakes or other baked goods. This is strictly a savoury recipe that makes a good spread or vegetable dip.
Where to buy vegan cream cheese
Although I am a huge advocate for homemade vegan cream cheese but if interested to know you can purchase some from the following places
- Asda (UK)
- Tesco (UK)
- Ocado (UK)
- Trader Joe
There are so many brands to choose from Tofutti, Follow Your Heart, TJ, Daiya, Go Veggie and Violife.
You should make this creamy cashew nut cheese because………
- It’s suitable for most dietary requirements
- Contains no dairy making it lactose free
- Only need 6 ingredients to make it from scratch
- Be adventurous and just try something new!!
- If you like my vegan nut cheese you will enjoy this recipe too
More vegan recipes you may like
Steps for making vegan cream cheese (with pictures)
Add all of the ingredients to a blender/food processor and puree into a smooth consistency
Vegan cream cheese
Delicious vegan cream cheese makes the perfect spread or dip for veggies – keto, vegan, gluten free, low carb, paleo
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 2 mins
- Total Time: 7 mins
- Yield: 1
- Category: Appetiser
1 cup of cashew nuts, pre soaked in warm water
2tbsp of Nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp of Himalayan pink salt
1tsp of Black pepper
2tsp of chives
1/4 cup of water
- Pour of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse on high speed until soft and creamy. Add 1/4 cup of water if needed to make the consistency creamy if you don’t own a high speed blender/food processor.
- Serve as a dip with vegetables or as a spread
High speed processor is recommended
Presoak cashew nuts in warm water for approximately an hour or until soft
Add more 1/4 cup of water if extra if needed