Healthy Smoky Gouda Cheese

healthy smokey gouda cheese

Healthy Smoky Gouda Cheese has an edible savory brown rind and creamy, sumptuous interior like traditional Gouda. Amazingly, it is entirely dairy-free. It’s a step cleaner than many homemade vegan cheese recipes because it only has one tablespoon of oil, and no carrageenan or starch. It gets its smooth, slice-able texture from raw cashews, freshly made almond milk, and natural agar.

I am really excited about the advancements being made in the manufacture of vegan cheese. People are experimenting with cultures, fermentation, and aging to create products that have the texture and complexity of cheese made from cow and sheep’s milk. Do you love cheese like myself and so many others? 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. I feel like dancing when I hit on just the right ingredients for a particular style of cheese. For example, macadamia nuts are perfect for this Fluffy Homemade Ricotta.

Likewise, the soft texture of soaked cashews lends itself to this buttery marvel. Homemade almond milk adds a pure, neutral base for the zesty spices and seasonings. That way, the finished cheese has the perfect balance of mellow tang, nutty richness, and smoky complexity.

Isn’t it a cool bonus that incidentally, Healthy Smoky Gouda Cheese has tiny holes that mimic regular gouda? I think it makes the velvety slices with their brown rind so attractive. If you are like me and can’t wait for commercial producers to put viable, healthy, additive-free, and delicious vegan cheeses in your local store, you’ll want to try this incredible recipe.

healthy smokey gouda cheese

Healthy Smoky Gouda Cheese

Firm and sliceable smoky-flavored vegan cheese. Great appetizer with crackers, baguette and fruit. Delicious as well cubed in salads or baked into vegan entrees. Oil-free option.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Course Appetizer, Dips and Spreads, Snack
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based
Cooking Skill Intermediate
Servings 16 One ounce servings
Author poppyswildkitchen


Gouda Cheese

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup homemade almond milk*
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB avocado oil, optional
  • 1 tsp wet yellow mustard like Frenchs
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tsp agar powder**

Smoky Marinade

  • 1 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 drops liquid smoke


Gouda Cheese

  • Cover cashews with 3 cups of water and soak for 6 hours, or overnight in the fridge. Rinse and drain well. Place all the cheese ingredients except water and agar powder in a Vitamix (best) or high powered blender. Blend until really smooth and no longer grainy. The mixture should be slightly warm.
  • Place water in a saucepan. Whisk in agar powder. Bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Keep stirring while cooking a full two minutes.
  • Turn on the blender with cheese mixture in it. While agar is still hot, pour it into center of moving cheese mixture. Turn up speed and give it a quick whirl. Immediately pour into 4 one-half cup glass molds. Tap filled dishes and give a shake to even tops. Cover and let cool at room temperature. Place in refrigerator overnight. Carefully loosen around edge with knife, and turn out onto a board.

Flavor Rind With Marinade

  • Stir liquid smoke into tamari in a shallow dish. Place firmed cheese in the bath. Let marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours flipping to brown both sides.
  • Remove cheese from bath and place in a dehydrator at 120 degrees for an hour or two until a thin rind forms and surface of cheese is dry. Alternatively, place in an oven at 170 degrees and dry about 15-20 minutes per side. Voila! Sumptuous Smoked Gouda.
  • Cheese lasts at least 2 weeks refrigerated, and several months if vacuum sealed.


*Homemade almond milk:
Note, you’ll want to make at least one cup of milk for ease of blending. Simply measure out 1/2 cup of finished almond milk for this recipe and store the remainder.
Pour boiling water over almonds and stir for 1 minute. Rinse in very cold water. Slip the skins off the almonds and rinse and drain. Blend one part peeled almonds with three parts water in a powerful blender 2 minutes or until warming up. Line a bowl or colander with a tea towel or old pillowcase fabric and pour in the almond mixture. Gather up fabric and wring and squeeze until all the milk is extracted. Save the pulp for cookies etc., or toss it out.
Agar powder is refined and powdered red seaweed. 
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10 months ago

No added oil! You’re my hero! I’ve got to give this a try! Thanks Poppy!

10 months ago
Reply to  Sandrina

Hello Sandrina. Great to hear from you! If you would like more recipes, just type “oil-free” in the search bar. Enjoy!