Start soaking those almonds! This delicious Smoked Almond Vegan Cheddar Cheese Spread is easy to make with just 5 ingredients, and it’s always a crowd pleaser! Serve it as an appetizer before dinner, as a party snack, or part of a charcuterie board. It's perfect for holidays and special occasions. This recipe from This Cheese Is Nuts! by Julie Piatt is vegan and gluten-free.
Smoked Almond Vegan Cheddar Cheese Spread
Does anyone else remember the days before yummy store-bought vegan cheese? Those were dark times. There were a few brands available, if you were "lucky" enough to find them, but they were waxy, fatty blobs of orange, and not very edible.
I wish I could go back in time to when I first went vegan and tell myself that I wouldn’t be giving up cheese forever. The initial shock of going cheese-less was a little tough, but I soon got over it. I did find myself missing the deliciously salty, fatty taste from time to time though.
My life changed when I discovered that non-dairy cheese could be made by simply soaking and blending nuts. My blender Blendtec definitely earned its worth!
While there are lots of delicious vegan cheese available just about anywhere now, I still like making my own. I can control the ingredients and I don't need to worry about added oils and gums. Julie Piatt's book This Cheese Is Nuts! is a great resource for recipes.
What You Need
- Raw almonds
- Jarred pimentos
- Nutritional yeast
- Smoked sea salt
- Garlic powder
See the recipe card for exact amounts.
Working with Raw Nuts
It's important that your nuts are raw, not roasted. Raw nuts blend easier, and have a nice, neutral flavor. Roasted nuts may result in a lumpy cheese spread, and they may give your cheese a slightly burnt flavor.
How to Make Smoked Almond Vegan Cheddar Cheese Spread
This recipe couldn't be easier to make!
- First you rinse and almonds and then place them in a bowl with water. Cover your bowl and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- When you're ready to make your cheese, soup lace all of the ingredients in your food processor and process until it's smooth and creamy.
- If your spread isn't smooth enough, you can add more liquid from the jar of pimentos in small increments until it reaches the desired consistency.
Serving Your Vegan Cheddar Cheese
This is a cheese spread, so it's great on sandwiches and veggie burgers.
You can serve it with fruit and crackers or a baguette as a snack or an appetizer.
It's great on charcuterie boards with fruit, nuts, and olives.
This Cheese is Nuts
A few years ago when I first received This Cheese Is Nuts! by Julie Piatt, I ran into the kitchen to soak raw almonds and cashews soon as it arrived. I was that excited. After the nuts were settled into their water baths, I sat down on the sofa with a cup of tea and read the book from cover to cover.
The recipes in This Cheese is Nuts! are made with – you guessed it – nuts. They’re easy to follow, don’t take much effort to make, and don’t use too many ingredients. Some, like the Smoked Almond Cheddar and Botija Almond Rosemary Cheese Spread, are ready to go in just a matter of minutes. Others, such as Macadamia Nut Herbed Goat Cheese and Aged Cashew Truffle Cheese need some time in the dehydrator, but it’s hands-off time, so you can go about your normal routine while you’re making cheese.
You’ll find vegan versions of all of your old favorites here, including a Cashew Bleu Cheese, a Cashew Brie, and three versions of Gorgonzola. There are also cheeses I don’t remember eating before going vegan but definitely want to try now, including Burrata and Chicory Almond Cheesy Spread. Of course, recipes for classic cheeses such as parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, sharp cheddar, smoked gouda, and provolone are included.
In addition to the cheeses themselves, there are recipes for dishes made with cheese, such as Mac and Cheese with Garlic Spinach, Lasagna with Garden Tomato Sauce, and Deep Classic Cheesecake. There are recipes for dairy-free staples, like sour cream, yogurt, and crème fraîche. There’s also a chapter with nut-free cheese recipes, for those with food allergies.
Chapters in This Cheese is Nuts! include:
- Cheese Spreads & Sauces
- Quick “Form” Cheeses
- Aged & Multistep Cheeses
- Nut-Free Cheeses and Spreads
- Dairy-Free Staples
You might need some equipment in order to make some of these recipes. At the very least, you’ll need a food processor or high-speed blender. If you want to get serious about making formed cheeses and aged cheeses, you’ll need a cheese form and a dehydrator. Julie has lists of recommended equipment and pantry staples as well as technique tips, for those who are new to cheese making.
If you want to make your own vegan cheeses at home, you need This Cheese is Nuts!
Smoked Almond Cheddar
- 2 cups raw almonds
- ½ to ¾ cup pimientos from a jar plus ½ to ¾ cup packing liquid
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 ¾ teaspoons smoked sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Rinse the almonds well. Place them in water in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Drain the almonds. In the bowl of a food processor, place the almonds, pimientos, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and ¼ cup pimiento liquid. Process until the mixture is well incorporated.
- Remove the lid and test the cheese for texture and salt content. If you want a smoother spread, add pimiento liquid in small increments and process again. Add more salt if needed.
- Serve this with crackers and fresh pears.
This sounds so good!! My favorite vegan cheese is the fig leaf wrapped cheese from Miyoko. But there are so many good ones nowadays, it's hard to choose!
My favorite vegan cheese is anything with some spice like chipotle or pepper jack.
I've tried a lot of recipes as well as commercial products, but I haven't found any that taste like dairy cheese. I can't say there's a vegan that I like let alone name a favorite.
My favorite is usually any form of ricotta, be it tofu or cashew, I just love the texture!
I made one with cashews and chipotle that was really good.
Are pimentos the same as jarred roasted peppers?
I like cashew ricotta, Great for lasagna.
That's like asking me to pick my favorite child (if I had any). How about this, I can't stand bleu cheese. =)
They're a type of pepper, but they are different than roasted red peppers. I'm sure roasted red peppers would work, if you can't find pimentos.
The only one I've ever made is a Buffalo cheddar, I really like that a lot. I haven't tried a lot of the vegan cheeses that you buy because mostly the ones I have tried our disappointing. I do like The vegan mozzarella from Trader Joe's though.
I think my favorite vegan cheese at the moment is the Smoked Farmhouse from Miyoko's Creamery. I love smoked cheeses.
My favorite cheese when I ate dairy was New York Sharp cheese. It tasted like Cheetos! I am eager to see what recipes are in this book and if there is a cheese recipe like that in here.
My favorite vegan cheese is mozzarella - I love making vegan lasagne!
Well for sandwiches and burgers I like Follow Your Hearts American Slices. I haven't made my own cheese yet but I miss goat cheese!