My Vegan Cheese Board

my vegan cheeseboard

Enter seed breads, nut cheeses, smoky mushrooms, cured vegetables, olives, oven-sweet tomatoes, succulent spreads + your favourite bottle.  Add slivers of apple, a sprinkling of grapes or figs, and fat Medjool dates too.  Yes it’s possible, and amazingly scrumptious.

These days “butcher shops” are even making vegan “charcuterie,” mimicking salamis, sausages + other “meatier” offerings.  Click here to check out The Herbivorous Butcher (located, sadly, in Minneapolis) and YamChops in Toronto.

All recipes (the bread, then cheeses, spreads, and accompaniments) are included below; but heads-up lovely subscribers–the videos won’t be visible from your inbox; you’ll need to check them out on servicepoem.com.

Seed Bread

by Sarah Britton; taken from My New Roots
(this recipe went viral + for good reason)

1 cup  sunflower seeds
½ cup flax seeds
½ cup hazelnuts or almonds
1 ½ cups gluten-free rolled oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
4 tablespoons psyllium seed husks (3 tbsp. if using powder)
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 ½ cups water

Combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Pressing into a parchment lined loaf pan and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.

Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.

Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.

Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important), and then slice with a straight-edged knife (not serrated).

Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!

my vegan cheese board

Cheeses

Raw Cashew Cheese with Dill + Chives

by Sarah Britton; taken from My New Roots

2 cups raw cashews
3/4 cup nonchlorinated water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 probiotic capsules, or enough to equal 40 billion active cells
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill fronds, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Put cashews in a large bowl, cover with cold tap water, and let soak for at least 4 hours, up to 12.  Drain and rinse cashews.

Put the cashews in a food processor, add the non chlorinated water, and blend on high until completely smooth (this may take several minutes), scraping down the sides periodically.  Add the garlic powder, salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon zest and juice, and blend again until fully incorporated.

Scrape the cashew blend out into a nonreactive bowl (glass is best).  Empty your probiotic capsules into the cashew blend, and stir in with a nonreactive spoon.   Fold in the dill and chives.

Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and put it in a warm spot, such as on top of a radiator or inside a gas oven with the pilot light on.  Your cheese will be ready in 12 to 24 hours (the time will vary depending on the temperature).  Taste it: the cheese is ready when it is tangy and delicious (and resembles goat cheese–yay!).

The cheese will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Turmeric Basil Macadamia Nut Cheese

from The PlantPower Way, by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt

I halved this recipe and ended up with four cheese rounds (like the one pictured above).

2 ½ cups macadamia nuts, or Brazil nuts
3 cups water, plus more for soaking the nuts
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 large garlic clove
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup agar flakes
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon grape seed or sunflower oil
6 basil leaves
1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (I used powdered)
2 tablespoons mild miso
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, soak the nuts for a minimum 2 hours, or overnight.  Drain them.

In a food processor, pulse 2 cups of the nuts and nutritional yeast until mealy in texture. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to the food processor and pulse three times to incorporate.  In a separate high-powered blender (I put aside the nuts/ yeast/ garlic/ salt/ pepper mixture into another bowl so I could use my food processor), add the remaining 1/2 cup nuts plus the 3 cups water.  Blend on high for a full minute.  Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth, essentially making a nut milk, and discard what’s left in the strainer or cheesecloth.

In a medium saucepan, warm the nut milk, stirring in the agar flakes and 1/4 cup of the oil. Continue stirring until the liquid is warm and begins to thicken a bit.  With the motor running, pour the warm nut milk and the mealy nut mixture from earlier into the food processor.  Add the basil, turmeric, miso, and lemon juice.  Continue processing until the mixture is smooth.

Lightly oil a glass pie pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil (I used four antique tin molds). Pour the warm cheese mixture into the pan and let it cool.  The cheese will start to set up quickly.  Let cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator to harden.

Tofu Feta

taken from Plant-Powered Families, by Dreena Burton

Boiling Mixture:
1 package (12 oz) extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ inch to ¾ inch cubes
1½ cups water
1/4 red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Marinade:
1½ tablespoons mild miso
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/4-1/2 cup minced green or kalamata olives

To make the boiling mixture:  In a large saucepan, add the tofu, water, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and garlic.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered.  If some of the tofu is not covered in the brine, gently stir through occasionally.

To make the marinade: Meanwhile, in a medium/large bowl or baking dish, combine the miso, oregano, lemon juice, vinegar, and maple syrup.  Whisk through, and then stir in the olives.

After cooking, strain tofu, discarding boiling liquid (it’s okay to keep the garlic).  While still warm, transfer tofu to the bowl with the marinade.  Stir through to coat the tofu and combine well.  Cover and refrigerate.  The tofu will absorb the flavours as it sits.  Keeps for 5-6 days.

tofu feta

Spreads

Mushroom Pâté

by Jeff Sample for Ouderkirk & Taylor back in the day

1 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 celery heart with leaves, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon dried)
1½ lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 large portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced
1/2- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (to taste)
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

Add 2 tablespoons oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium heat for one minute.  Add onion, celery, garlic, and herbs, and sauté on medium-low heat until the onion begins to soften (about 6-10 minutes).  Remove from the pan and cool in a bowl.

Wipe out the sauté pan and put it back on medium heat with another 2 tablespoons oil and about 1/4 of the sliced mushrooms.  Cover pan to soften.  Then remove the lid and cook off the liquid, cooking the mushrooms until they begin to brown.  Add the mushrooms to the onion mixture that was set aside, and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms–cooking in increments–until all the mushrooms are cooked.  (The incremental cooking ensures the mushrooms won’t crowd the pan and will brown properly, giving off good flavour in the end).

Deglaze pan with 1/4-1/2 cup water and pour over the mushroom/onion mixture.  Process everything in a food processor until desired texture is reached.  Adjust with lemon juice, salt, and pepper, to taste.  Keeps for 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and freezes well.

Classic Hummus

taken from Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward

2¾ cups drained soaked chickpeas, or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
8-10 tablespoons olive oil (or substitute water for oil–or a mix of both)
juice of 2 lemons
2 heaping tablespoons tahini
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and pepper

Simply place all of the ingredients into a food processor with 3 tablespoons water and blend until smooth.  The stronger your food processor, the smoother and creamier the hummus will be.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

vegan cheese board

Accompaniments

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

by Jeff Sample

1 cup cherry tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper

Slice tomatoes lengthwise and toss gently in a bowl with all other ingredients.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place tomatoes cut-side up on the sheet.

Place in a 300°F oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until tomatoes are slightly shrivelled and starting to colour.  Remove from oven and cool.  Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Giardiniera
or Pickled Vegetables

by Jeff Sample

This recipe makes two full quarts, so you’ll have lots on hand for rice bowls, sandwiches, veggie burgers, salads, soups, and future cheese boards.

4 serrano chiles, thinly sliced, with seeds removed
2 red sweet peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 or 2 celery ribs, sliced or julienned
1 or 2 carrots, sliced or julienned
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 cup salt
2 cloves garlic, slivered
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 olive oil (not extra-virgin)
1/2 cup grape seed or safflower oil

In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the vegetables and a 1/4 cup of the salt until well combined.  Place in a strainer, in a bowl, and allow to stand for 1 hour.

Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly.  Sterilize 2 quart-size glass (mason) jars with lids in the dishwasher, or by submerging them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Place oil, vinegar, remaining salt, and spices in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, pack vegetables into the sterilized jars right up to the top.  Pour hot liquid over the vegetables, lid them right away, then allow to cool before putting into the fridge.

These will keep for 4-6 months unopened in the fridge, or about 1 month once you crack the jar.

Pickled Red Onions

by Jeff Sample

Makes one quart.

1 ½ cups white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
coarse kosher salt, or regular sea salt will work too
3½ – 4 medium-sized red onions, thinly sliced

Combine first five ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Add onions and stir to blend; return to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (about 1 hour).  Season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt, if desired.  Place in a sterilized jar (see sterilization instructions in Giardiniera recipe above) with a tight-fitting lid.  Keep in the fridge for a month.

Smoky Portobellos

by Ela Gale

So I can’t bring myself to call these smoky portobellos “bacon” because they don’t resemble bacon whatsoever.  But they’re delicious in their own right.

3 portobello mushrooms, cut about 5mm thick
3 tablespoons oil
1 dash liquid smoke
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon paprika; smoked paprika if you have it
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)

Ela Gale says to slice your portobellos, then whisk all the other ingredients together in a bowl.  Dip the mushroom slices into the liquid and lay out them side-by-side on a parchment lined sheet pan, and bake at 300°F for 20 minutes.  Then flip them and grill for another 10 minutes under the broiler.  This didn’t work for me–they just didn’t dry out and get a chewy texture at all.  My husband suspects a low oven heat for a LONG TIME will do the trick.  Just keep checking them so they don’t shrivel to bits.

Keep in airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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