Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vegan Blue Cheese Recipe


I know, I know.. I've been teasing you guys forever with this recipe.  Originally, I had planned on keeping it for my book, but let's face it..  I don't think a cookbook  is going to happen for me any time soon... and since I get at least 3 emails/comments  asking about this, I figured I might as well post it!

When I worked at the Wine Bar, I used to make a very non-vegan Blue Cheese Cheesecake on a shortbread crust topped with homemade cranberry/apricot chutney, candied walnuts and a balsamic reduction. I want to try my hand at a vegan version soon.

So.. the secret ingredient is Fermented Tofu.  I think I originally got the idea to use it from Bryanna .  She has been an inspiration for more than a few of my recipes.


This bottle is 4 oz and I divided it in half and used it all for the recipe. I drain the liquid and use it to thin out the nuts if needed.  It's super smelly! Which is why it makes great blue cheese!

OK... here ya go!  I really hope that this is not a let down recipe.  Part of the reason I haven't posted it is that I don't want to disappoint people... but I KNOW It's good because I've served it to quite a few people and whenever it was in the salad bar at the health food store I worked at, people went nuts over it. 

Blue Cheese
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 4 oz  jar fermented tofu 
  • ½ cup sauerkraut, drained VERY well
  • 1 teaspoon acidophillius culture
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 T miso
  • 1 teaspoon blue green algae powder (or chlorella) 


  1. Blend the cashews with ¼ cup sauerkraut, 1 T miso and 1/2 jar tofu and the liquid along ½ teaspoon culture. Set aside for several days (on the counter is the best)
  2. Blend the pumpkin seeds with ¼ cup sauerkraut, 1 T miso and 1/2 jar of tofu and the liquid along with ½ teaspoon culture  and the algae. Set aside for several days (on the counter is best)
  3. Mix them together and salt to taste.
  4. The longer this sits, the BETTER and cheesier it tastes. 
You can spoon the mixture on a dehydrator tray or sheet pan (in a warm oven) and dehydrate at 115 for 5  hours to create a crumbly texture.

So.. there it is! Now go make it and tell me what you did with it!

Some ideas:
  • Buffalo Tofu Salad with Blue Cheese
  • Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese, Dried Cranberries and Walnuts
  • Blue Cheese Cheesecake
  • Pizza! (chutney, blue cheese, arugula)
  • Pasta with creamy blue cheese sauce and roasted apples and walnuts
  • Stir it into soups 
How will you use your Blue Cheese?

27 comments:

  1. The comment system is broken and I have lost all of the comments on the blog... I'm sorry for the delay in answering the question about the Fermented Bean Curd.. you can use either the spicy or regular fermented bean curd.

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    1. Where do you get fermented bean curd? I've never seen it before.

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  2. Anonymous4:31 PM

    this looks awesome! where would one procure acidophillius culture and/or fermented tofu? i have a guess about the tofu, but am flummoxed by the acidophillius culture .....
    thanks!

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  3. Anonymous6:47 PM

    where did you obtain the non dairy acidophillius culture?

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  4. I love this recipe. I am going to try it this weekend. I plan on putting on top of coleslaw and stuffing it into dates which I am going to wrap in my smoked chipotle eggplant "bacon". Thank you for your great ideas.

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  5. Hi, Melody. I prepared this three days ago as directed, and left the two separate mixtures out to ripen a few days (lightly covered with a quality cheesecloth).

    Thought you would be interested to know that the BLUE mixture (with the chlorella) developed spots of white mold all over the surface. I tasted the mold and it was innocuous, but I scraped it off. In my house, that mold is probably aspergillus oryzae (as in koji), floating around since I made soy sauce two years ago.

    I've combined the two mixtures, and have frozen the bulk of it for later. The fresh balance will make it into a blue cheese type dressing, just as soon as I get the extra water out of my (home-made) tofu, to crumble and mix with your blue "cheese", and some lemon juice, vinegar, and herbs.

    Great-tasting recipe!

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    1. Hey, I have a question for you since you seem to know more about the mold--I got mold, too, except I had greyish mold on most surface parts. I threw those away...it was like a spiderwebby mold. The conditions were that I put it in a bowl, lightly covered with a paper towel, lots of air, but in a little cabinet type thing on the counter that was 70% closed. And I did not use the tofu; I used tempeh (which forced me to guess about the liquid I needed). I took off all the mold I think, but...will eating this make us sick? I REALLY did get all (visible?) mold off. And if you (or anyone) knows...what did I do wrong in this recipe? Everything else was to the letter.

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    2. @Chortle and Sigh.. I would not eat it. I would NEVER use tempeh to culture this because it is a much different bacteria than the fermented tofu. The same way you could not get tempeh to culture if you used acidophilus or fermented tofu as the culture, I'm pretty certain that using tempeh to culture cheese would produce a not very good and possibly dangerous end product. Note, I am not a food scientist and I don't have training in molds, so I can't say for sure, but I wouldn't eat it.

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    3. Thanks so much for replying! I will just toss the whole thing, then. My hands were tied and I had to use the tempeh. ''Twas a bummer. Next time I make this recipe, whenever that will be, I will have to INSIST on the correct ingredients.

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  6. I just made this. Didn't know what kind of Miso to use. I have red miso and sweet white miso, So I just used the white Miso. Does it matter??

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  7. I used Acidophilus probiotics and just emptied the capsules. I can't imagine where else you would get Acidophilus from, besides as a supplement. I also used chlorella in pill form and just crushed it with a mortar and pestel. I hope this turns out! Very excited, because I have a "stuffed dates" recipe from "Lust for leaf" cookbook, that I can't wait to make.

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  8. You have to get the fermented tofu from an Asian market. The stuff smells like something you should NOT be eating. LOL but I can see how it makes the blue cheese seem authentic.

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  9. Thanks for the recipe! May I ask why the two mixtures are cultured in separate bowls?

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    1. I used separate bowls so I could mix them together so it would look more authentic.

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    2. Oh, I see. Thanks!
      I'm not sure what I did wrong, but I have a big bowl of salty stuff. It's not very blue-cheesy :( Going to try again! How did you get that blue-cheesy texture? Should have not blended the mixtures smooth?

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  10. Also: I blended everything in a food processor--I'm hoping that's what you meant? Did you dehydrate the cheese in the picture? I'd really like to have some crumbly cheese :)

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  11. Have you ever tried using rejuvelac as your culture? It would add some liquid, so maybe you could leave out the liquid from the tofu. Also, I have a vegan yogurt starter that I got at the health food store. It is a powder and contains acidopholus, so I will likely use that, but I might try a batch with the rejuvelac also.

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    1. I have used all of the above and it works really well... :)

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    2. I was excited when I saw this recipe yesterday. We drove into San Francisco to Rainbow Market to get the more esoteric ingredients, some of which were available. I wish I had read the recipe more carefully first. I say this for benefit of others who might read this as there are a lot of those ingredients for which there are many options. The acidophilus culture alone offered in excess of a hundred, from capsules to liquids and all very expensive. The green algae was another where there were so many options (again, very expensive) that I was dazed. Then countless varieties of sauerkraut (organic, raw, jarred/pickled, etc.) THEN the fermented tofu which I will have to get at an Asian market. The miso alone, well, again, dozens of choices from mild white to dark, etc. Also, there are so many varieties of pumpkin seeds, including white, large green, roasted/salted. To be honest, while I am a pretty serious vegan cook and, I am going to try this, it's going to end up a very spendy experiment. You might want to just offer a little bit of guidance here. It would be helpful and appreciated. Thanks

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    3. Thanks for the note.. and I totally agree that I should explain this in the recipe. I will try to simplify this recipe a bit.. I actually created it while I was working as a chef in a health food restaurant, so I had access to all sorts of ingredients.. and talked about it on this blog for a while..and people asked me over and over to share the recipe, so I did.

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    4. Well, it's done. I just spooned it into some leftover raw cheese tins I had, lined with parchment. It is really surprisingly good and has not yet been refrigerated.

      I used raw cashews and, as you didn't mention it, did NOT soak, rather used them as they were.

      I got organic raw pumpkin seeds (at Rainbow in SF) that were a dark green and also used them as they were.

      Finally found fermented bean curd....which the lady at the Asian market said was the right thing.

      Used raw, organic sauerkraut (again from Rainbow), very pungent.

      Used a brand of carrot based acidophilus, in capsule form which I just opened.

      Used SUN brand chlorella in a 3gm packet.

      Used Kyoto White miso.

      Used Maldon sea salt to finish.

      I pretty much went by your procedure though improvised with using the nuts raw. I think next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I will double the "light" part and use less of the "green/bleu" part, purely for aesthetics. The taste was really good, tangy, lots of texture and character. The Maldon salt, which doesn't melt like other salt, added an "up front finish" that I like. Going to serve this tomorrow with St. George Terroir G & T's. Thanks for sharing it. Have a great weekend!!!

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  12. Do you cover your jars with cheese cloth or put it all in a sealed container?

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    1. yes... cover with cheesecloth or a put a lid on top of it, but not on it completely

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  13. I´ll love to know what kind of miso are you using? Thank you

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  14. The easiest way to get the acidophilus is to use a few spoons of vegan yogurt from the store. The sauerkraut also has live cultures including lactobacillus if it hasn't been cooked or pasteurized. Ditto for the fermented tofu. With all these ingredients this recipe is brimming with beneficial bacteria.

    The BIG question is whether penicillium mold, which is what makes dairy blue cheese blue, will grow in a non-dairy medium. (The penicillium starter can be bought online through Amazon or cheesemaking supply shops.).

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    1. Has anyone tried inoculating vegan cheese with penicillium? Did it work?

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