The memory of blue cheese reaches back to childhood – parties, cheese plates, salads. It’s stinky, pungent and really, there is nothing quite like it. But when you commit to being vegan, you say good-bye to blue cheese… For myself and the Dirty Hippie, both blue cheese fans, leaving this unique flavor behind was like losing a good friend. Yea, I know, there are rumors of blue cheese-type vegan products and we tried some. But nothing really cut it. Truly, we felt blue.
Alas, vegan blogger Melody, over at MeloMeals, has the remedy for the blue cheese blues. She posted a recipe for vegan blue cheese in May 2012 and we recently stumbled upon it. This is IT, friends. This is the answer for vegan blue cheese. We think Melody could go into mass production of this yummy creation and make her fortune.
The recipe is simple enough. The tricky part is find the fermented tofu in a jar. This ingredient is really the key to the pungent, stinky aspect that makes the vegan blue cheese so authentic. It’s also called stinky tofu and there are several brands out there. Locally, we found it at a large Korean grocer called H-Mart. If you aren’t in the Baltimore/DC area, I’d say look for any sort of Asian grocer near you and ask for this product. You may also be able to sniff it out online, too. Seriously, though, you simply will not get the results without the fermented tofu. You should just go ahead and stock up when you find it. I promise you will make this vegan blue cheese over and over.
The other ingredients are fairly easy to get your hands on – pumpkin seeds, raw cashews, sauerkraut, salt, miso, acidophilius culture and blue-green algae. To clarify – cuz I needed Melody to clarify for me, which she kindly did – you can get acidophilius culture in a powder or pill form from any health food or supplement shop. You will need to ask for a vegan type. I already take acidophilius from Natren. They work great as a supplement and were great in the recipe. And the blue-green algae can also be called “chlorella” or “spirulina.” These are not hard to find – even our grocery store has ’em in the supplement area. But if yours doesn’t, Amazon.com or the Vitamin Shoppe will provide for you.
Oh – and you need a little patience with this recipe once you have it blended up. It has to sit and ferment. I know, I know – it’s challenging. But it really is worth the wait.
Melody’s photo of her vegan blue cheese was a little brighter than ours, but the blue/green color didn’t bother us. I think because we used pepitas instead of white pumpkin seeds, which are green, the resulting vegan blue cheese was not as white. Use whatever you like. Oh, Melody suggests sticking this in a dehydrator when it’s done. We didn’t try that. The first batch was eaten with a spoon from the bowl. The next, used for crackers, sandwiches and smeared on pears. This is excellent with buffalo tofu or seitan, or serve it with PETA’s amazing buffalo cauliflower and some celery/carrots sticks. On Melomeals, Melody also suggest using the vegan blue cheese in arugula salad with dried cranberries and walnuts, using it with chutney to top an exotic pizza, or making a blue cheese cheesecake. Also solid suggestions. We will get there.
Till then, we will celebrate. Now everyone, including vegans, can get the blues – the blue cheese, that is! Thanks Melody for this wonderful and creative recipe. We are fans!