Vegan Smoked Gouda Cheese has an edible savory brown rind and creamy, sumptuous interior just like the real thing. It slices and grates beautifully. This recipe is oil-free and made without coconut milk, soy or starches.
I love coconut milk in Homemade Coconut Yogurt and my Pumpkin Curry Recipe, but this cheese is all about bold smoky seasonings. No interfering flavors for this savory vegan smoked gouda.
Instead, it gets its smooth, rich taste from freshly made almond cream and buttery raw cashews.
Zesty spices ensure the finished cheese has the perfect balance of mellow tang, nutty richness, and smoky complexity.
🏆 Top tip
Dissolve agar powder thoroughly in cold water before cooking. Then, pour it into the blended cheese mixture while it's hot.
⭐ Why it works
- Smoky flavored rind
- Smooth and rich
- Melts in recipes
- Homemade almond cream - Provides a sumptuous, fresh-tasting base for the cheese. A ⅔ to 1 ratio of almonds to water works best for this recipe.
- Raw cashews - Soaked, plump and buttery cashews eliminate the need for thickeners or starch.
- Pink Himalayan salt or sea salt- For natural minerals.
- Onion powder and garlic powder - Spices that bring pizzazz to mild cashews.
- Smoked paprika - Adds color as well as a smoky flavor to the cheese.
- Yellow wet mustard - Adds just the right amount of bite.
- Liquid smoke - I like all-natural Wright's hickory flavor.
- Agar powder - The key to a firm cheese that can be sliced, cubed, and grated. Now Foods brand is vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free. Be sure to use a powder like this one and not flakes.
- Lemon juice - Adds mellow acidity.
- Nutritional yeast - For convincing cheesy flavor.
There are five simple steps to making this vegan smoked gouda. All you need to do is:
- Blend soaked cashews with almond cream and seasonings.
- Boil agar in water.
- Add boiled agar to the cashew mixture and blend briefly.
- Pour vegan cheese into molds and chill to set.
- Flavor rind with a smoky marinade.
☁︎ Smoky rind
The special feature of this versatile vegan gouda cheese recipe is a savory brown rind. The individual cheeses are first marinated in a smoke-seasoned bath with just two ingredients.
- Tamari - for gluten-free or substitute soy sauce.
- Liquid smoke - I like Wright's all-natural vegan seasoning.
This recipe makes enough marinade to submerge the vegan gouda while it's taking on the flavor. You'll have extra left over to marinate future batches or use as a marinade for shish kabob or roasted veggies.
Then the cheeses are dried in a dehydrator or low oven until the surface is dry to the touch.
The thin outer skin adds more smoky flavor to the vegan gouda and makes a velvety finish perfect for your best party and holiday platters.
Isn't it a cool bonus that, incidentally, healthy vegan smoked gouda cheese has tiny holes that mimic regular gouda? I think it makes the velvety slices with their brown edge so attractive.
I am really excited about the advancements being made in the manufacture of vegan cheese. I look forward to the day I can walk into any store and buy a vegan Roquefort that is truly convincing.
Alas, that day hasn't quite arrived where I live. But then maybe it's not so bad. It inspires me to come up with my own plant-based cheese creations that rival their dairy counterparts.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- Drain soaked cashews well before using them in the recipe.
- Blend the cheese mixture and have it ready before boiling the agar in water.
- Stir agar into cold water to dissolve and cook for a full 2 minutes once it boils.
- Mix cooked agar immediately into the blended cheese mixture. It hardens quickly if left in the pan.
- Substitute coconut aminos if desired for tamari or soy sauce. You may want to add a little salt to the marinade if you use the coconut aminos.
- Leftover marinade makes an excellent seasoning for grilled or roasted veggies and tofu. You can also freeze and reuse the marinade for future batches of vegan smoked gouda.
Yes, some brands are all-natural and vegan. Here's an informative article that lists vegan brands of liquid smoke.
Yes. Your cheese will still be firm, sliceable, and delicious. You may want to add a touch more salt to the cashew mixture to compensate for the missing savory taste of the rind.
Agar powder is a vegan, naturally gelatinous powder made from marine red algae. It's the key to firm cheese that can be sliced, grated, and cut into cubes.
This smoked gouda cheese recipe easily lasts 2 weeks covered in the refrigerator. It can also be vacuum sealed to last 3 months refrigerated or kept for 6 months in the freezer wrapped and in a covered container.
You can freeze the marinade and reuse it for future batches of vegan smoke gouda, shish kabob, roasted veggies, grilled tofu, or barbecue sauces.
🧀 More vegan cheeses to make at home
Enjoyed this post? Leave a comment, rate ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ it, and follow @poppyswildkitchen on Instagram. Aloha!
Vegan Smoked Gouda
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup homemade almond cream
- 1 TB lemon juice
- 1 tsp. wet yellow mustard like French's
- ½ tsp. liquid smoke
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- ¾ tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 cup cold water
- 5 tsp. agar powder
- 1 cup tamari or soy sauce
- ⅛ tsp. liquid smoke
- Cover cashews with 3 cups of water and soak for 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Rinse and drain well.
Make gouda cheese
- Place soaked cashews, almond cream, lemon juice, wet mustard, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder in a Vitamix (best) or high-powered blender. Blend until really smooth and no longer grainy. The mixture should be slightly warm.
- Place cold water in a saucepan. Whisk in agar powder and dissolve completely. Bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Turn the heat down slightly and keep stirring while cooking for a full two minutes. Agar will be like thick caramel when ready.
Combine cheese mixture and agar
- Turn on the blender with the cheese mixture in it. While the agar is still hot, pour it into the center of the moving cheese mixture. Turn up the speed and blend briefly until the agar is fully mixed in and the mixture is smooth.
- Immediately pour into 4 one-half cup glass molds. Tap filled dishes and give a shake to even tops. the cheese will begin setting right away. Cover and let cool at room temperature.
- Place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight until firm.
Flavor Rind With Marinade
- Stir liquid smoke into tamari in a shallow dish.
- Take molded cheese from the refrigerator. Carefully loosen around the edge of the cheeses with a knife, and turn out onto a kitchen board.
- Place firmed cheese in the bath. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, flipping a few times to brown both sides.
Dry rind to finish cheese
- Remove the cheese from the bath and place it on a smooth dehydrator sheet. Dry at 120 degrees for an hour or two until a thin rind forms and the surface of the vegan smoked gouda is dry.
- Alternatively, place it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in an oven at 170 degrees. Dry for about 20 minutes per side, flipping as necessary.
Store Vegan Smoked Gouda
- Homemade Vegan Smoked Gouda lasts at least 2 weeks refrigerated, and 3 months if vacuum sealed. It can also be wrapped and frozen for 6 months.
Wonderful, flavorful. So glad I found this amazing recipe. I subbed coconut aminos for the soy sauce. Made a bit less than I thought it would. Easily released from small Tupperware. Marinade was more than needed. Searching for ideas for cheese molds - with covers?
Happy to hear you like the flavorful gouda recipe. Thanks for your comments regarding the amount of marinade, and good luck with your cheese molds! Aloha
THANK YOU for taking the time to come up with an artisan recipe that takes vegan homemade smoked gouda to the next level! It is basically uncooked as well, except for the agar, so it could even be considered raw vegan. 🙂
Aloha Mimi, My pleasure! Delighted you are enjoying the recipe and that's a good point that it is predominantly raw. Thank you for your comments!
No added oil! You're my hero! I've got to give this a try! Thanks Poppy!
Hello Sandrina. Great to hear from you! If you would like more recipes, just type "oil-free" in the search bar. Enjoy!