People often ask me how in the world I could ever give up cheese. Well, if you only knew what was in cheese exactly and how it is made (not to mention the health effects of eating it) and the how and why of its addiction, you might find the willpower to abstain.
That being said, I didn't automatically jump into finding an alternative vegan cheese like I thought I would. Many soy cheeses are still made with casein, a milk protein, used as a starter. Daiya is a new brand that comes pretty close but, you know what? I don't miss cheese enough to care. And I REALLY hate cleaning dirty pots and pans of melted cheese, vegan or not. I just can't picture that mess in my body, too. Ew.
Anyway, there are still a lot of recipes out there to imitate the texture & tangy-ness of cheese. Most recipes call for something called nutritional yeast, which is an inactive yeast that is also a source of B-12. This site has some suggestions for its use.
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3/4 lb. pasta (penne, elbows, small shells, or bow ties work well)
1 C cashews (preferably raw but not required; if using salted, omit salt in this recipe)
1 4 oz. jar pimientos (aka roasted red peppers); about 1/2 C
3 tbsp nutritional yeast (available at Whole Foods or natural health food stores)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Soak cashews in 2 C water for several hours or even overnight. Drain before using.
Cook & drain pasta according to package directions.
In food processor, combine all ingredients (except pasta) & blend until smooth & creamy. Add to cooked pot of pasta with 2 tbsp vegan margarine. Add some rice or soymilk to desired creaminess. Enjoy!