Best 3 Vegan Cream Cheese Recipes

My thoughts

Vegan cream cheese wasn’t high on my priority list to try when I first started with this diet.  Once I started to get more involved in the vegan way of cooking I would occasionally run into the cream cheese wall. “Well I cant eat this and this because cream cheese isn’t vegan” , it really started to make me mad! Well I started doing some research and I have found a few different recipes worth their weight. Here goes nothing!

Vegan Cream Cheese Recipes

What is Vegan Cream Cheese Made of?

Cashews

Cashews are the base to most recipes you will find on this subject. This came to me at no surprise at all because cashews are closely related with cheese substitutes in the vegan community.

Cashews grow on tropical evergreen trees and are native to Central and South America, even some tropical islands. These tree nuts have been around and consumed for thousands of years in those areas. It wasn’t until the 1500s that the Europeans discovered then and shortly after shipped them to Africa and India. They didn’t become popular in America until the 1920s when the general food company began shipping them in bulk.

Cashews have huge health benefits as well as flavor. Cashews contain high amounts of protein, which has been linked to weight loss and metabolism acceleration.  Cashews are also rich in antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. You will also see a large amount of healthy fats associated with cashews. These benefits paired with some of the nutrients in cashews have been known to reduce certain risks for disease such as: high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Tofu

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a low moisture meat substitute that is used by different cultures and diet communities all over the world. Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk, then pressing the curds into solid white blocks with varying softness. These different types of firmness include: silken, soft, firm, extra firm. For  one of the vegan cream cheese recipes, it calls for extra firm tofu.  Tofu is a very controversial product with mixed reviews. Some people rave about the health benefits while others avoid it at all costs.

Tofu comes from soybeans and most soybeans are grown here in the US. Most of the soy beans grown here are genetically modified (GMO), this is where a lot of controversy comes in. You can simply buy non-gmo tofu at your local market to get around this obstacle.

Vegan Cream Cheese Recipes

Tofu is very high in protein. One 3.5 ounce portion of tofu contains right around 8 grams of protein. It also contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs, making it a complete protein. Tofu has also been linked to reducing some disease. According to sources, Diseases such as: heart disease, breast cancer, digestive tract cancer , and diabetes risks are reduced by consuming tofu.

Non- Dairy Yogurt

Given how popular dairy alternatives are, non-dairy yogurts are very easy to find.  Chances are you can find them at the supermarket you current go to.  Non-dairy yogurts are made from a wide variety of products to be approachable to all people. There are yogurts made from soy, almond, cashew, coconut, and more. Some popular brands include: Kite Hill, Chobani, Silk, Forager, and Vega.

Vegan Cream Cheese Recipes

Non-Dairy Milk

In addition to non-dairy yogurt, you will see non dairy milk in these recipes. These non-dairy milk products are exactly how they sound, milk alternatives. Milk can be extracted from so many things you would be surprised, but none of them are exactly like cow diary. You can get milk alternatives in the form of soy, almond, oat, cashew, macadamia, pea, quinoa, and rice. Each has its own pros and cons, you will have to try a few till you find one you love.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds, also known as fruit of the sunflower, are sold as three different types linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil.  These seeds are distinct in their nutty flavor and nutritional value.  Sunflower seeds have been linked to all types of benefits from reducing the risk of heart disease to boosting energy levels.

Vegan Cream Cheese Recipes

A lot of the credit goes to the amount of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals these cased delicacies offer.  Sunflower seeds offer both mono and polyunsaturated fats, linked to promoting heart health.  High sources of vitamin E are linked to the reduction of inflammation which is huge in older people.  Zinc and selenium are the culprits associated with boosting the immune system, which is something everyone needs! The sources of protein help boost energy, metabolism, and healthy weight loss.

Liquid Amino Acids

Liquid Amino Acids are culinary seasoning liquids similar to soy sauces. Think of them as just savory flavor.  There are two ways to make these delicious seasonings. They are either made by fermenting coconut sap with salt and water, or by breaking down soybeans using an acidic solution. They both differ in flavor but are equally as good in their own ways. They have their pros and cons for sure, but all in all they are safe to eat in moderate amounts. The common brands you will see are Bragg and Coconut Secret.

What is Vegan Cream Cheese?

Vegan cream cheese is a dairy-free alternative to the mainstream cream cheese made from cows milk. Vegan cream cheese recipes will vary, but all in all you can find any recipe here to fit your dietary needs. These cream cheese recipes can be used in savory or sweet productions, and result in a soft cheese-like product. Depending on the base and flavorings you decide, you can expect different results.

Simply put, this is a cream cheese substitute made without using animal products but giving the impression of the animal based counterpart. Bases include but are not limited to: Cashews, Yogurt, sunflower seeds, and tofu. I have even seen recipes made using potatoes, but I wasn’t a fan.

When looking for a good cream cheese recipe, there are certain factors you are looking for whether you know it or not. A good vegan cream cheese recipe must mimic the creaminess and tanginess of the mainstream version. 

Is Vegan Cream Cheese Healthy?

Contrary to the cows milk counterpart, vegan cream cheese is amazingly healthy. Depending what recipe you decide to use, the nutrition facts will vary. Since these cream cheeses will be made at home rather than in a factory, being spiked with all kinds of preservatives, you will see a huge difference in flavor and affect on the body.

Cutting out the manufacturing process is huge, but also buying quality ingredients is the other half of the battle. Its important to buy organic non-gmo ingredients or making these recipes could prove to be counterproductive. The reason I say this is because why take the time to cut out the processed version if you are just going to buy processed ingredients? Take it into consideration. These recipes are only 4-5 ingredients anyways.

How to Use Vegan Cream Cheese

These are very versatile recipes that can be used for savory or sweet recipes of your choosing. Here are some cool ways to use these recipes.

Mac and Cheese

Vegan cream cheese makes a super stable and delicious mac and cheese sauce. What I mean by stable is that it can be baked in the oven and not break.

Dips

Use as a dip for crackers vegetables, or pita bread. Or spice it up a bit and use it as an ingredient in dips!

Jalapeno Poppers

I had to put this on here. Bring some heat to a party or gathering with some vegan jalapeno poppers!

Bagels

Who doesn’t love a cream cheese bagel in the morning? Flavor your cream cheese how you like and have at it!

Cookies

Cream cheese cookies are the jam! Use these recipes to open that door back up for you.

Icing/ Buttercream

Put icing on anything! You may have to hit the treadmill after but it so dang good!! Here are some recipes for vegan buttercreams and frostings.

Cheesecake

Need I say more? You could easily turn a batch of this cream cheese into a delicious cheese cake. You don’t even have to bake it if you don’t want to.

Vegan Cream Cheese Tricks and Tips

Soaking

If you choose the cashew recipe, you will need to soak them. You can either soak the cashews overnight in cold water, or if you forgot, soak them in very hot water for 30 minutes.

Yogurt Type

Non-dairy yogurt is common in these recipes. I use the sweetened version but feel free to use the unsweetened non-dairy yogurt if you like. You also need to think about the consistency of your yogurt. For example, coconut yogurt is thick while the soy version is not. What ever you are using the cream cheese for, make your judgement based off that.

You may also need to drain the yogurt through a cheese cloth or coffee filter, so be prepared to do that if you haven’t already. It takes some time so I would start immediately.

Non-dairy Milk Combo

If using non-dairy milk, try to match it with the type of yogurt you are using to get that layer of flavor. You also don’t want to use two sweetened products in these recipes so I would use unsweetened non dairy milk.

Tofu Moisture

Since a recipe calls for extra firm tofu, it doesn’t need to be pressed. I do recommend thoroughly drying the outside of the block though.

Next Day

The recipes taste better the next day!! So don’t eat it all in one day! Be sure to let it rest a minimum of 3-4 hours before using, this way it has time to set.

Storage

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. If the container isn’t full to the brim, I would place a piece of plastic along the top surface  of the cream cheese to prevent oxidation or getting that skin on top.

Equipment Needed

  • 1 food processor
  • 1 storage container
  • 1 container for soaking (if you choose cashew)

Vegan Cream Cheese (Cashew)

Vegan Cream Cheese Recipes

Yields: 16 Servings

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3              Cups      Cashews, soaked
  • ½             Cup        Non-dairy Yogurt
  • 2              Tbsp      Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2              Tbsp      Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½             tsp          Kosher Salt
  • 1              tsp          Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Instructions

  1. I recommend soaking the cashews overnight for this recipe. The longer they soak the better they break down, resulting in a creamier end result. Once the cashews are soaked, drain the water and rinse them off.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend thoroughly. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides once or twice. Blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a bowl. Try not to use stainless steel because the lemon juice may react with it and ruin your cheese with a metallic flavor.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you need to. I kept the salt fairly low on this recipe so you may need more. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

 

Vegan Cream Cheese No Nuts (Tofu)

Vegan Cream Cheese No Nuts Recipes

Yields: 4 Cups

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15           oz           Tofu, extra firm
  • ½             Cup        Sunflower Seeds, soaked
  • ¼             Cup        Lemon Juice
  • 1              Tbsp      Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼             Cup        Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1              tsp          Salt

Instructions

  1. If you haven’t soaked the sunflower seeds, boil a small pot of water and pour over the seeds. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly.
  2. While seeds are draining, pull out tofu and pat outside dry with paper towels. Diced small so they break down easier in the food processor.
  3. Once the seeds are dry, combine everything in the food processor and blend thoroughly. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides once or twice. Blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer to a bowl. Try not to use stainless steel because the lemon juice may react with it and ruin your cheese with a metallic flavor.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you need to. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

 

 

Easy Vegan Cream Cheese

Easy Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe

Yields: 4 Cups

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Idle Time: 8-12 Hours

Ingredients

  • 4              Cups      Soy Yogurt
  • 1              Tbsp      Nutritional Yeast ( you don’t have to use if you don’t have, but you should!)
  • 1              tsp          Kosher Salt

Instructions

  1. We need to remove some liquid from the yogurt. So using a linen-like napkin, a coffee filter, or butter muslin we will drain the yogurt over night or all day. Fasten the fabric around a jar or other cylindrical container with a rubber band or butchers twine. Then place yogurt mixture into the draining area.
  2. Next, place the draining vessel with yogurt into the fridge and let sit for at least 8 hours. I know it’s a long time but this is a slow process. 8 hours will get you a product like I have in the pictures, if you want thicker you will have to go longer.
  3. Once you have gotten the desired consistency, transfer the drained yogurt to a mixing bowls and combine the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Now you can enjoy!!

Nutrition Facts

 

 

FAQs

  1. Can these recipes be frozen?

Yes, these recipes can be frozen but they change considerably when thawing out. They lose a lot of moisture making them more crumbly than creamy.

 

  1. Are these recipes keto?

Yes, they are. You just need to be careful with the tofu recipe. You would have to buy non gmo tofu for it to be truly keto.

 

  1. Can I used a blender if I don’t have a food processor?

Yes you can, but you will have to use a touch more liquid in your recipes to get it to spin. You could also make the easy vegan cream cheese recipe and wait for it to get thick.

 

  1. How do I make this strawberry?

I will be posting a variations post soon! But for the sake of answering, You got a few options. You can use 1 oz dried strawberries ( Better than fresh, trust me) and process with other ingredients in the recipes. You could also make (or buy one) a strawberry syrup and fold it in.

Strawberry syrup= 1 part sugar + ½ part water + 1 part strawberries. Reduce in a sauté pan.

 

  1. Can I substitute cashews?

Yes, you can use almonds. Or you can use a mix of almonds and pine nuts. You can also try hemp seeds. All 1 to 1 ratio.

 

Sources

Petre, A. (2018, December 13). What Is Tofu, and Is It Good for You? Retrieved November 25, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-tofu

 

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