Garlic and Herb Vegan Cheese Spread is the perfect appetizer for holiday parties! It’s a great snack, too! You can even serve it on bagels instead of cream cheese. Made with a mix of cashews and macadamia a nuts, this non-dairy cheese recipe is super easy to make. It's is dairy-free, of course, and gluten-free, too.
A Cheesy Vegan
Cheese was the last animal based-food I cut from my diet. I had gone vegetarian in the early 90s. The idea of giving up cheese didn't even cross my mind. I lived for Cracker Barrel extra sharp white cheddar, and I once ate a container of Boursin with crackers for dinner.
After reading about how animals were treated in the egg and dairy-industries, I decided to go vegan. Cheese was SO HARD to give up. I ended up sneaking some in here and there for a few months before I gave it up all together.
At the time, vegan cheese wasn’t easy to come by, and I had no idea that it was possible to make my own cheese. I wish I had known about the magic of nuts and nutritional yeast back then. I probably would have been able to break up with dairy sooner.
Vegan Garlic and Herb Cheese Spread
The first time I realized that it was possible to make non-dairy cheese with nuts and seeds was a vegan potluck. Someone brought a casserole with her, and there was a layer of what looked like ricotta on top. She explained that it’s really easy to make cheese using nuts or seeds, a little water, and some spices.
I was absolutely amazed. “It’s really that easy to make this?” I asked while shoveling more of the casserole she made into my face.
And it I’ve since realized that yes, it really is that easy.
Sure, there are far more elaborate recipes that use tapioca to create a gooey, melty texture. Or you can use probiotics to create cultured cheese. But if you’re in the mood for a little cheesy drizzle on your tacos or a tangy spread for crackers, it just takes a few minutes to whip something up in your food processor or blender. You can easily change the flavor profile with different herbs and spices.
While this recipe might not taste exactly like my beloved Boursin, that's what I had in mind when I created it, using herbs, garlic, miso, and apple cider vinegar to give it a little tangy zip.
How to Make Vegan Garlic and Herb Cheese Spread
- First you mix everything except the herbs in a high-speed blender until it's smooth and creamy. You can add a little more water a tablespoon at a time if it's too thick, but don't add too much, because your cheese spread will be too thin.
- Then you pulse in the herbs.
Storing Your Cheese Spread
Your cheese will thicken as it sits, so you may need to add a little water to thin it out, depending on how you’re serving it.
It freezes well, so if you find yourself wondering what to do with the full batch, you can pop some in the freeze and save it for later. Defrost it in the fridge overnight or on the countertop for a few hours. After it's defrosted, you'll need to stir it well, and you might need to add a touch more water.
Store your cheese spread in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When making cheese spreads like this one, I always suggest using unroasted, unsalted nuts, because they have a neutral flavor. Roasted nuts can be used, but they will give your cheese spread a little bit of a burnt flavor.
A little forethought is required before you make your cheese, as the nuts need to be soaked. Macadamias should be soaked for at least 8 hours. You can soak them overnight in the fridge if you prefer. Raw cashews don’t really need to be soaked if you’re using a high-speed blender, but I like to soak them for about two hours anyway, to soften them a little. You can soak both macadamias and cashews together for 8 hours, to make things easier.
Serving Your Vegan Garlic and Herb Cheese Spread
I originally created the basis of this cheese a few years ago for my Cheese and Apple Tartlets recipe. It works well in appetizers like that one.
You can spread it on a bagel instead of cream cheese.
It's a great snack or appetizer. Serve it on a cheese platter with olives, bread, crackers, fruit, and nuts.
Vegan Garlic and Herb Cheese Spread
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup raw macadamia nuts soaked for 8 hours, drained and rinsed
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Mix everything except the chives and parsley in a high-speed blender or food processor. Mix until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrap down the sides if necessary. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a little more water a tablespoon at a time.
- Pulse in the chives and parsley.
- Chill the cheese spread in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
More homemade cheese recipes you might like include:
- Smoked Almond Cheddar from This Cheese Is Nuts! by Julie Piatt
- Veggie Packed Cheese Sauce
- Cashew Ricotta
- Tofu Feta
- Cashew Cheese Sauce