This vegan almond chili cheese is creamy, smokey, spicy and oh-so satisfying! This vegan cheese is made with almonds and sunflower, making it a more affordable version compared to cashew cheese. It's perfect with bread or crackers and makes a great center piece for a vegan cheese board!
What is vegan cheese made out of?
There are so many different ways to make vegan cheese! Many vegan cheese are made out of nuts and seeds - cashews being the most common choice. Cashews can be easily blended into a creamy, smooth paste, making them the ideal option for a creamy cheese. However, cashews tend to be more expensive. Almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, walnuts and pistachios can also be used.
However, the choice of ingredients doesn't end here! To make vegan cheese, you could also use cauliflower, potatoes, rice, tofu, carrots or white beans. Other typical ingredients are nutritional yeast, onion/garlic powder, oil (like canola or coconut oil) and tapioca starch.
Does vegan cheese taste like real cheese?
If you're expecting homemade vegan cheese to taste like "real" cheese made from cow, goat or sheep milk, then I have to (partly) disappoint you. While you can get quite realistic results from cultured cheese with using starter cultures/molds (like penicillium that is used for camembert/brie), typically vegan cheeses do taste a little different. They don't taste bad - vegan cheeses can taste amazing! Just a little different.
There are some ingredients that you can use to imitate that cheesy flavor like nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder or miso paste.
What you need to make this vegan almond chili cheese
To make this vegan almond chili cheese, you'll need:
- almonds (blanched/skin removed)
- sunflower seeds
- plant milk (I've found that soy milk works best)
- lemon juice
- chili flakes
- paprika powder
- nutritional yeast
How to make this vegan almond chili cheese
First, we need to prepare the almonds and sunflower seeds. Preferably, you want to soak them overnight. This makes blending a lot easier and the result a lot smoother! If you are short on time, you can also simmer the almonds and sunflower seeds for 5 minutes.
If you don't have blanched almonds (where the skin is removed), you'll want to remove it. Otherwise your vegan cheese will be grainy and have bits of almond skin in it. To remove the skin, simply simmer the almonds for 5 minutes and then you can pinch them to easily remove the skin.
To a food processor or high-speed blender, add the almonds, sunflower seeds and plant milk. Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
Transfer the almond sunflower seed mixture to a pot and bring to a boil. We careful here to not burn the mixture as it is quite thick. Once hot, it can also start bubbling vigorously. You can prevent both by stirring frequently.
Once the mixture is bubbling, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Give it a good mix and let it rest for 10 minutes. The mixture will start curdling and thicken up.
Take a large bowl and place a colander lined with a cheese cloth on top. Add the almond sunflower seed mix to the colander, cover with the cheese cloth and let it drain for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Remove the almond sunflower seed cheese from the colander and place it into a bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, salt, chili flakes and paprika powder. Give it a good mix.
Lightly grease a mini cake pan or a small bowl with oil. We will flip the cheese upside down later and this will make removing it a lot easier.
Add a little bit of paprika powder and chili flakes to the bottom of the pan/bowl. Then spoon the chili cheese into the pan/bowl and press it flat. Cover with a lid and let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Now you can flip the pan/bowl and remove the almond chili cheese which should have a nice, compact shape now.
How to store this vegan almond chili cheese
This vegan almond chili cheese needs to be stored in the fridge. It lasts for up to a week.
How to serve this vegan almond chili cheese
Serve this vegan almond chili cheese with a few slices of bread or your favorite crackers. It makes a wonderful centerpiece for a vegan cheese board. You can also add little dollops of this vegan cheese on to a pizza or use it to fill tortellini/pasta shells.
Vegan Almond Chili Cheese
- 1 small cake pan or bowl to shape the cheese
- food processor or high-speed blender
- ¾ cup almonds blanched/skin removed (100 g)
- ½ cup sunflower seeds 70 g
- 1 cup soy milk
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- paprika powder and chili flakes for decorating
- Soak the almonds and sunflower seeds overnight. Alternatively, simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the almonds, sunflower seed and soy milk to a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
- Transfer to a pot and bring to a simmer. Then, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Give it a good mix and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Place a colander on top of a bowl and line it with a cheese cloth. Add the cheese mixture and let it drain for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Remove cheese mixture from the colander and add it to a bowl. Mix in the nutritional yeast, salt, paprika powder and chili flakes.
- Lightly grease a small cake pan or bowl with oil. Add a little bit of paprika powder and chili flakes to the bottom. Spoon in the cheese mixture and press it flat.
- Cover with a lid and let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Flip the cake pan/bowl to remove the almond chili cheese.
Other vegan cheese recipes you may like
Did you make this vegan almond chili cheese?
Please leave a comment below, share or rate this recipe. You can also tag me on instagram – I would love to see your creations!