02Sep

How to make gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free cheese

Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free cheese with garden tomatoesI feel like I am somewhat on a quest;  a quest to find food that anyone can eat, no matter what their food restrictions may include.  This is now my second attempt at a recipe for SLICE-ABLE and GRATE-ABLE, dairy-free, casein-free and soy-free cheese.  Unfortuanately it doesn’t cover people with nut or cashew allergies, but hopefully many people can use and enjoy this recipe.

I actually like it better than my first attempt at slice-able, casein-free cheese.  The first one was a bit flimsy, though it did slice.  And the only way to get it to grate was to freeze it, which was time-consuming and a bit cold on the fingers!

I found this new recipe in The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry under “Cashew Cheddar Cheese.”  I made some adjustments – such as replacing the soy milk with almond milk and canola oil with olive oil.  I also halved the recipe completely because it called for 2 ounces of agar agar.  At around $7 or so an ounce of this seaweed, I decided to just half the recipe to see if I even liked it before spending so much on the agar agar!

Because this recipe uses agar agar, it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.  The previous recipe called for gelatin, which I’m not too fond of either.

The other great thing about this new recipe is that the cheese can be grated without freezing it!  See below:

dairyfreeshreddecheese

And yes, it can be melted after it hardens, or you can use it as a melted cheese when you first make it.

As for the flavor, I thought it had a nice flavor, however I may use a tad more garlic and onion powder next time and maybe a bit more nutritional yeast.

Here is the recipe:

Cashew Cheddar Cheese
Adapted from The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry
PREP TIME:  25 MINUTES * MAKES 16 SERVINGS

Ingredients:
2/3    cups cashew nuts
1/4    cup nutritional yeast
1        tsp onion powder
1        tsp salt
1/8   tsp white pepper
1/2    tsp garlic powder
1 3/4 plain and unsweetened almond milk
1 oz (about 2/3 cup) agar flakes
1/4   cup olive oil
1/8   cup soy-free miso (made from chickpea), or an additional 1/2 tsp salt and 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Steps:
1. Finely grind the cashews in a food processor.  Add nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Pulse until spices are blended.

2.  Combine milk, agar and oil in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until agar is dissolved.

3.  Pour the milk mixture into the food processor and blend into the cashews until very smooth and creamy.  Add the miso (or additional salt and nutritional yeast) and lemon juice.  Pour mixture into a loaf pan or another mold to cool and harden in fridge.  Use right away for melted cheese or let harden and use within an hour or so.

4.  Enjoy grated or sliced on pizza, tacos, burritos, salads, sandwiches, or anything else!

A note on portions: Even though I halved this recipe from the original, it still made plenty of cheese.  The cookbook says it will stay fresh for 4 days in the fridge, so unless you want to freeze it, or make a lot of pizzas, the above recipe works well for a family of 3-4.

Per Serving: 76 Calories; 7g Fat (75.2% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 216mg Sodium.

If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it.  Or if you have any other ideas for dairy-free and casein-free cheese, let me know!  I am also going to work on a nut-free version so any ideas about this would be welcome!  I would love any comments so don’t feel shy to say hi!

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Comments

  1. If you could make this to sell, I think you would have a lot of interest. What do you think could replace the almond milk if I’m allergic to almonds? I guess it gives flavor, but what do you think would happen with coconut milk?

  2. HI Debbie,
    Thanks for the encouragement! I’m not ready to create a food product to sell yet, though I have thought about this in the past. We’ll see where life takes me.
    As for replacing the almond milk, I would say you could use just about any unsweetened nondairy beverage. I think coconut would work great – I actually made a cheese sauce with coconut milk and it was very good. You may want to try hemp milk as well to see how that turns out. They are both very healthy for you, just different flavors.

    Let me know how it turns out for you! Thanks so much,
    Sarah

  3. Thanks Sarah! Recently I told my son that someone somewhere is going to make a “cheese” that you will be able to eat. I guess it must have been you! I will be sure to put the ingredients on my grocery list so I can try it soon. Thanks again.

  4. Hi Debbie,
    That makes me so happy to hear! I hope he likes it and it works as a good replacement for him.
    Can he have the Galaxy brand of rice cheese? I think it’s the only one I’ve found that is soy and casein free. I don’t think it tastes that great but good for on the run. Good luck!
    Sarah

  5. We used to eat that one until we found out he was intolerant to rice. Now we don’t have anything to replace it, until your recipe! I have never used nutritional yeast. What brand do you like?

  6. This looks wonderful, I will try it soon. Have you tried it using any other nuts?

    Hope you are well, Hannah

  7. Hi Debbie,
    I figured that was the case. A lot of people can’t eat rice. As far as the nutritional yeast goes, it is very important to find a brand that is not processed at high temperatures, as this creates MSG. Here is a post you can look at that is very helpful. http://gnowfglins.com/2009/04/06/nutritional-yeast/

    I like Frontier brand but Wardeh talks about some others that are “safe” to use. Most health food stores will only carry one or two brands and they are sometimes in the bulk section. I think if you go to most health food stores that carry mostly organic food, you would have a good chance of finding one that is healthy for you. Good luck!
    Sarah

  8. Hi Debbie,
    I figured that was the case. A lot of people can’t eat rice. As far as the nutritional yeast goes, it is very important to find a brand that is not processed at high temperatures, as this creates MSG. Here is a post you can look at that is very helpful. http://gnowfglins.com/2009/04/06/nutritional-yeast/

    I like Frontier brand but Wardeh talks about some others that are “safe” to use. Most health food stores will only carry one or two brands and they are sometimes in the bulk section. I think if you go to most health food stores that carry mostly organic food, you would have a good chance of finding one that is healthy for you. Good luck!
    Sarah

  9. Hi Debbie,
    I figured that was the case. A lot of people can’t eat rice. As far as the nutritional yeast goes, it is very important to find a brand that is not processed at high temperatures, as this creates MSG. Here is a post you can look at that is very helpful. http://gnowfglins.com/2009/04/06/nutritional-yeast/

    I like Frontier brand but Wardeh talks about some others that are “safe” to use. Most health food stores will only carry one or two brands and they are sometimes in the bulk section. I think if you go to most health food stores that carry mostly organic food, you would have a good chance of finding one that is healthy for you. Good luck!
    Sarah

  10. Hi Hannah,
    I haven’t tried any others yet but I’d like to try blanched almonds. I am wondering if blanched brazil nuts might work. Let me know if you try anything.
    Sarah

  11. Debbie, I was tested in Feb ’09 for food allergies and was found to be allergic to casein, sugar, eggs (whites and yolks), shell fish, bananas, and a few other obscure things like amnarath (?sp) and oysters (which I would never eat).

    My NMD said I might try raw goat’s milk and duck eggs, both very hard to find these days if you are not farming yourself, but I was able to find both. After restricting my diet from the other food allergies, and substituting the raw goats milk and duck eggs, I was still having problems with headaches and fatigue. I did some further research on casein allergies and learned anyone with an allergy to casein should avoid all dairy products. This past week, I have been 100% casein-free (no dairy whatsoever) and the headaches have subsided. The fatigue is slightly improved but I am hopeful that it will continue to improve the longer I am off any foods containing casein. I’ve switched to coconut milk and am doing well with that.

    I was really dismayed because I love cheese and just cannot imagine life without it. I was even more dismayed to learn that rice cheeses contain casein. I won’t do soy, so here I was thinking I would have to forego all cheese forever.

    Today I decided to do a Google search for casein-free, soy-free cheese and viola! I found your website. I was stunned. I thought surely I was the ONLY one that had this problem. I am so excited to try this cheddar cheese recipe and to explore the rest of your website. I now feel like I’m not alone!

    April

  12. Hi April,
    You are among many people who can’t have dairy products so don’t feel alone! Dairy is one of the most common food allergens or sensitivities around. And there are many people who either can’t eat soy, or don’t want to, like yourself.

    I hope you enjoy the recipe! Let me know what you think. It think it’s a great cheese substitute.
    Sarah

  13. Hi April,
    You are not alone! Many people can’t eat cheese or other dairy products. And many people can’t eat soy or don’t want to. And yes, it is a little annoying that many cheese substitutes have casein in them!
    Let me know how you enjoy the recipe! I think its a great substitute!
    Sarah

  14. Debi Bosch says:

    Hi Sarah,

    My son has many allergies including gluten, casein, soy and yeast. This recipe sounds wonderful but will the nutritional yeast be a problem is there something else I could use? Thank you

  15. HI Debi,
    Nutritional yeast is safe for people who can’t have yeast or who have candida overgrowth. This is my understanding, but you may just want to check with your doctor.
    If you don’t want to use it, you could use some tahini (sesame butter) instead.
    Thanks so much!
    Sarah

  16. Debi Bosch says:

    Thank you Sarah, and thanks for a great website!

  17. I tried this cheese and it worked great! I used the tahini instead of the nutritional yeast since my son has both a sensitivity and allergy to yeast. Both my kids liked it which is very, very rare. I used it for GFCFSF lasagna and it was wonderful since the cheese had a ricotta like texture. I also didn’t use the nutritional yeast since the only brand I could find was KAL and on the label they list Nickel and Tin! Since we are trying to get metals out of my kids, I didn’t feel comfortable putting any in their bodies.

  18. I am so elated about finally finding a cheese that I can make and eat. I will let you know how it works out for me, Thank you for creating thism it;s people like you that make it life easy. Thanks

  19. You are amazing! For the past two years, a dairy-free, soy-free, melt-ale cheese has been my dietary holy grail. I cannot wait to try this. Thank you.

  20. the recips is noce but I haveto caution when using the garlic & onion powder it may no longer be glutenfree. In the ADHD & Autism cook book both of those are listed as places that may hold hidden gluten. So one must be sure that the product being used is GF certified.

  21. I agree that you need to check your source of garlic and onion powders and added ingredients. I personally like using fresh garlic for this reason.

  22. Oh, this is exciting, will try it once i’ve stocked up on cashews. Will try to find agar and nutritional yeast but if using gelatine and tahini, would I just use the same amounts? Cheers!

  23. Is there a substitution for agar flakes? I am assuming this is a replacement for sugar, is that right?

  24. Nevermind–I figured out its like gelatin. Sorry! I am making some right now and will let you know how it turns out.

  25. So far so good! I like the taste of the non-cooled stage, though my cheese will probably turn out sweeter than the original since I accidentally used sweetened coconut milk.

  26. Mechelle says:

    Sorry this may have been asked, because I honestly didn’t read the request yet. I just had to ask how to make this with out nuts. I am allergic deathly to nuts, dairy, and soy. I am also allergic to many other things along with gluten. I need a cheese recipe with out nuts, dairy, soy, gluten, and vegetable oil. I will send this and then probably find that this question was already asked. If so, my bad. If not please help. I hate not having my pizza and lasagna, along with Mexican dishes. Thanks Mechelle

  27. Michelle Gurr-Lauridsen says:

    Can’t wait to try this, when I do find gluten -casein-soy-free cheese it contains canola oil or cornstarch or something else I try to avoid! This is the answer. As an aside we have found that most if not all commercial poultry feed, even organic, contains soy and lots of it. The sensitivity was transferring to the eggs of chickens eating that feed for my daughter. We have fortunately found someone at our local farmers market who keeps her chickens soy free and my daughter can enjoy their eggs.

  28. Do you know what the purpose of the miso is? I’m wondering if it could be left out. I’m allergic to ALL legumes (peanuts, peas, soy, lentils, etc) so if it’s not necessary that would be wonderful!

  29. If you can’t eat the miso, I would go ahead and try it without it and just replace it with additional cashews. Good luck!

  30. Anna Pirozzi says:

    This cheese was great for my GFCF grandson. I wanted to know if I could freese the cheese and how long will it last in the fridge.

    Thank you

    Anna Pirozzi

  31. Hi, I was wondering is it possible to substitute something for the agar? I really want to try this recipe but agar is so expensive. what is it about the gelatin that was not good in the last recipe?

  32. Hi Sara,
    The recipe with the gelatin is good – it is just not quite as firm as the one with agar. I would go ahead and give it a try and see if you like it. enjoy!
    Sarah

  33. MAURA L SIMMONS says:

    I am allergic to cashews. Can I use another nut instead?
    Thanks

  34. MAURA L SIMMONS says:

    Hi
    I’m allergic to cashews. Can I use a different nut? Also, I am allergic to citrus. Can I use vinegar instead?
    Thanks

  35. Hi Maura,
    I don’t see why you couldn’t use almonds. I haven’t tried it – tell me how it goes if you do it. Yes – vinegar would be fine.
    Have a great day,
    Sarah

  36. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Can’t wait to try this for my sons. Both are gluten, casein, soy, intolerant and I have been searching for a cheese for them that they could eat. 🙂

  37. Just wondering is is 2-3 cups of cashews or 2/3 of a cup?

  38. Hi Marion,
    It is 2/3 cup cashews. enjoy!

  39. Hi, this looks like a great recipe!!! I really wish I could try it but i’m allergic also to all nuts. Is there anything I can use instead?

  40. Hi Veronica,
    I’m sorry but I haven’t yet tried anything other than nuts for this recipe. You may want to try coconut butter but I have no idea how it would turn out. Good luck!
    Sarah

  41. Can Baking powder be used instead of yeast?

  42. Hi Nancy,
    Baking powder will not work in this recipe. The type of yeast called for in this recipe is inactive yeast or also called nutritional yeast, very different from regular yeast. It is yellow and comes in different sized flakes varying from small to large. You can find it at a health food store. I know Bragg’s brand has one for sale. A lot of people who cannot have regular yeast can have nutritional yeast. Best of luck.

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