Delicious Vegan Cheese Alternative~Seriously

I have a Vegan cookbook I got from the local library…but I WILL definitely be going out to purchase it.  The book is called:  Vegan Diner ~ classic comfort food for the Body & Soul. The author is:  Julie Sasson.  I have tried 7 recipes so far and every one of them are delicious.

I have been craving cheese for a while now….as I know many people do.  I found a recipe for Julie’s Great Smoky Mountain Cheeze.  Upon tasting it just on a cracker last night I thought it was pretty good.  My husband also tasted it, (he is a cheese lover) and he agreed, it was good.  However today, I decided my craving for cheese was tremendous, so I made a grilled cheese sandwich using this cheeze.  I was in heaven….my daughter came home and she said she tried the cheeze and liked it.  I told her she ought to try it on a grilled cheese sandwich which she immediately did.  We both agree, I think it was one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have had!!!  And to think the main ingredient is Tofu!!!  Once you add in all the spices/seasonings, you could no longer tell!  You have to try this recipe.


Great Smoky Mountain Cheeze
Makes 1 block

1/2 cup water, divided
2 tsp agar powder
1 (12.3oz) pkg silken firm or extra firm tofu
1/4 cup plus 2 tbls nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbls canola or other light flavorless oil
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp granulated onion
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp sweet or regular paprika
2 tbls plus 2 tsp cornstarch

Lightly grease a mini loaf pan or glass or plastic rectangular or square container. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup water and the agar powder. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In bowl of food processor, combine tofu, nutritional yeast flakes, oil, salt, smoked paprika, granulated onion and garlic, and paprika. Blend for several minutes until very smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup water with the cornstarch until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture and the reserved agar mixture to the processor, and blend for 1 minute or until very smooth.
Transfer tofu mixture to the large saucepan. Quickly rinse out the food processor, as you will need to blend the mixture again after cooking. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking continuously, until mixture starts to bubble. Reduce heat slightly if necessary. Continue cooking, whisking continuously, for another 2-3 minutes. This is necessary for the agar to melt completely. Reduce heat slightly if tofu mixture is starting to burn. Carefully transfer tofu mixture back to the food processor. Turn machine on and whiz until mixture is completely smooth, about 10-20 seconds.
Pour tofu mixture into prepared mold, smoothing top. Lightly tap mold on the counter top to settle the cheese, releasing any air bubbles. Place a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper onto the top of the cheese mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to cool down, about 20 minutes. Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill for several hours or overnight. Unmold cheese when ready to serve.

*Agar powder is a vegetarian version of gelatin.  You can find it in Asian markets or at a health store.  The powder is much easier to use and more versatile (a little goes a long way) than the agar flakes.

I must be honest, I did not have agar on hand.  I had every other ingredient, so I left out the agar.  The cheeze was delicious, the main difference with using the agar, is the cheeze will be able to be sliced when using the agar powder.

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