I couldn’t wait for my copy of DIY Vegan: More Than 100 Easy Recipes to Create an Awesome Plant-Based Pantry to come in the mail. Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman have been dropping vegan knowledge at VegNews for years, and I’ve been making an effort to move away from palm oil products for some time now – so a DIY guidebook was just what I needed.
This book is a treasure, including a very thorough pantry section and recipes for everything from vegan cheese to Worcestershire sauce. I was particularly intrigued by the Buffalo Mozzarella recipe, which called for ingredients that I found much easier to source than a similar recipe from Artisan Vegan Cheese (which is also a must-own, in my opinion).
If you don’t already have a well-stocked vegan pantry, there are a couple things you’ll want to get in order to make this recipe, along with some other ways you can use them:
Probiotic powder – gives vegan cheese their cultured tanginess, you can also throw it in your smoothie to make you poop more because pooping is the most fun thing you can do for free besides sleeping
Nutritional yeast – a vegan staple, gives food a cheesy flavor while adding b12 to your diet and making you pee bright yellow – I’m sensing a theme here
Xanthan gum – thicken all sorts of non-dairy foods from butter to dressing to cheese
Agar flakes or powder – seaweed-based replacement for gelatin, use it in marshmallows, custards and yeah… cheese
Reprinted fromDIY Vegan. Copyright © 2015 Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman. Published by St. Martin’s Griffin. All photos by Nicole Axworthy.
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Vegan Buffalo Mozzarella
By October 28, 2015Published:
- Yield: 4 balls
From the authors: Missing that summer salad staple, composed of stacks of sliced tomato, creamy mozzarella, and bright, bold basil leaves? The wait is over—vegan mozzarella is here. This recipe makes what seemed impossible undeniably easy. Sure, it takes some time to prepare, but think of it as a B plot: a few minutes of effort here and there in between your life’s A-plot adventures (work, sleep, play). When it’s time for the exciting culmination, your mozzarella will be ready to star in a Caprese salad, amid roasted vegetables or thinly sliced atop a classic Neapolitan pizza.
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water for 6 hours
- 1/2 tsp probiotic powder
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup agar flakes 2¼ teaspoons agar powder
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
- In a blender, combine the cashews, probiotic powder, and 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass or ceramic bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and set aside to ferment for 24 hours.
- In a blender, combine the fermented cashew mixture, nutritional yeast, xanthan gum, and salt and blend until smooth and creamy.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the agar and ⅔ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often, for 10 minutes until all the agar has dissolved and the liquid begins to thicken.
- In a shallow medium bowl, combine the blended cashew mixture and the agar mixture. Whisk until the agar mixture is completely incorporated.
- Transfer the bowl to the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
- Divide the cheese into quarters. Put each portion on a square piece of plastic wrap. Pull the corners of the plastic wrap together over the cheese and twist to form the cheese into a tight ball, just like the classic buffalo mozzarella shape. Return to the fridge to chill for an additional hour or two before slicing. Store any leftovers tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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I just tried to make this. Followed instructions exactly. Cheese has been in the refrigerator for 24 hours now and has not firmed up. I used the agar flakes and boiled for the full time and then stirred into cashew mixture. Do I throw it out now or what else can I do with it?
Hi Bree! I just shot a message over to the authors of this book to get their advice on their issue. Hoping to have an answer for you shortly.
This is Lisa Pitman. I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the cheese. It is meant to remain soft but sliceable. I find it thickens quite a bit as soon as the agar is added to the cashews, chilling just makes it hold its shape. The only thing I can guess is that the agar needed a little more time to thicken. The cheese could still be used on a pizza, stuffed in shells or added to a salad so no need to toss it.