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 but this cheese is all about bold smoky seasonings. No interfering flavors for this savory plant-based gouda cheese recipe.
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.
- Homemade almond cream - Provides a sumptous, 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 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 powder like this one and not flakes.
- Lemon juice - Adds mellow acidity.
- Nutritional yeast - For convincing cheesy flavor.
Make vegan cheese
There are four simple steps to making this plant-based cheese. All you need to do is:
- Blend soaked cashews with almond cream and seasonings.
- Boil agar in water.
- Add boiled agar to cashew mixture and blend briefly.
- Pour in molds and chill to set.
Dissolve agar powder thoroughly in cold water before cooking and pour into blended cheese mixture while it's hot before agar sets.
The special feature of this versatile vegan 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.
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 Smoked Gouda Cheese has tiny holes that mimic regular gouda? I think it makes the velvety slices with their brown edge so attractive.
More vegan cheeses to make at home
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.
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 and keeps for 6 months in the freezer.
If you are like me and can't wait for commercial producers to put viable, healthy, additive-free, and delicious plant-based cheeses in your local store, you'll want to try this Vegan Smoked Gouda.
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 frigerator. Rinse and drain well.
- 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 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 cheese mixture in it. While agar is still hot, pour it into center of moving cheese mixture. Turn up speed and blend briefly until agar is fully mixed in and mixture is smooth.
- Immediately pour into 4 one-half cup glass molds. Tap filled dishes and give a shake to even tops. 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 refrigerator. Carefully loosen around the edge of 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 cheese from bath and place on a smooth dehydrator sheet. Dry at 120 degrees for an hour or two until a thin rind forms and the surface of the cheese is dry.
- Alternatively, place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in an oven at 170 degrees. Dry for about 20 minutes per side, flipping as necessary.
- Homemade vegan Smoked Gouda Cheese lasts at least 2 weeks refrigerated, and 3 months if vacuum sealed. It can also be frozen for 6 months.
- Drain soaked cashews well before using in recipe.
- Blend cheese mixture and have ready before boiling agar in water.
- Stir agar into cold water to dissolve and cook a full 2 minutes once it boils.
- Add cooked agar immediately to the blended cheese mixture. It hardens quickly if left in pan.