Hey Internet, want a Nut-free Vegan Cheddar Block Cheese that Melts and Shreds!? How about one that's oil-free, nut-free, and gluten-free?! Yeppers peppers, have I got the cheese for you!
This vegan cheese is not only all of those things, but it's also delicious and EASY to make! It will take you less than 10 minutes to prep this cheese, and after a few hours to set in the fridge, it's there to bend to your will.
I'm slowly adding to my arsenal of vegan cheese. Have you seen my other cheeses? Check out:
Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella
Liquid Velvet Vegan Queso
Pumpkin Cheeze Sauce
Soy-free Cheeze Sauce
Consequently, I might become known only for my vegan cheeses and none of my other recipes. I'm okay with that. #cheeseaddict
Okay, enough about other cheese. Let's get onto the one at hand.
All you'll need is a few key ingredients and some spices.
How To Make It
Like I said, it's easy to make this cheese. It's actually so simple you might do a doubletake.
First, you'll need a thickening agent. Agar powder (also known as agar agar) is naturally gelatinous powder derived from marine red algae. It doesn't taste like anything and is a magical ingredient.
All you have to do is dissolve it in boiling water, blend it with the cheese ingredients, and let it set in the refrigerator for a few hours and presto! Vegan cheese!
But let's talk about some of those cheese ingredients.
What Do I Need?
As mentioned above, you'll need agar powder / agar agar. It can be found at most health food stores but you can buy it for the same price (or less) online.
The base for the cheese is firm tofu. I haven't tested it with any other tofu texture so I do recommend using the firm unless you're up for experimenting with liquid levels. If you cannot have soy, you could sub soaked raw cashews.
Cheese normally has a substantial tang, so I used both lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to create a good flavor for the cheese when mixed with the spices. To get a quarter cup of fresh lemon juice, I squeezed 4 small lemons.
For spices, I used a combination of the following to get a slightly smoky, somewhat salty (most cheese is), cheddary (how else would you describe cheddar?!) flavor. I used onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, turmeric (mostly for color but I definitely feel it helps the flavor). Also, I of course added some salt to bring out the flavors of the spices.
The amounts of each spice were something I had to experiment with and fine tune. I recommend you taste the blended sauce before adding the agar water solution to verify that it suits your own taste buds.
Finally, too up the cheesy flavor, I used nutritional yeast . I normally use non-fortified nutritional yeast for health reasons (an issue with folic acid I've discussed before), but for recipes when I need the color, I use the regular fortified version (#foodbloggerproblems, haha).
That's pretty much all there is to it! Now let's talk about what to do with this deliciousness.
You can shred this cheese onto pizza or pasta.
Make it into a grilled cheese or quesadilla (you could even combine it with my stretchy mozzarella.)
Also, you could slice it and put on a vegan burger!
Don't forget sandwiches, pinwheels, wraps, lasagna, and more!
The applications for this cheddar are endless! Ready to make it?
As always, let me know if you make this recipe and please tag #Zardyplants and mention me @Zardyplants so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG or Facebook, I will share your post in my stories :) With your permission, I might also include your photo on this site!
Follow me on Social Media!
Nut-free Vegan Cheddar Block Cheese that Melts and Shreds!
- Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
- Diet: Vegan
This Nut-free Vegan Cheddar Block Cheese is so cheesy but it's nut-free and dairy-free! Eat it on crackers or melt it on pizza. Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Nut-free, Sugar-free
- 2-¼ cups water
- 1 block firm tofu (396 grams)
- 2 tbsp agar powder
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp smoked paprika
- ¾ tsp turmeric
- 1.5 tsp salt
- Start by adding all ingredients EXCEPT the water and agar to a blender. Blend and taste. Adjust spices if needed. Set aside.
- Next, boil the water in a small pot. Once it starts getting hot (but not boiling yet), dissolve the agar powder into the water. Whisk constantly until agar is dissolved. When the water comes to a boil, you'll want to cook and whisk for at least 2 minutes more to allow the agar to perform its magic.
- When the agar mixture is ready (no need to let it cool), carefully pour it into your blender. Use a hot pad or thick kitchen towel to hold the lid on while you blend the contents of the blender till smooth.
- Pour into the desired container, understanding that the shape of the container will be the shape of your cheese later. So if you'd like a cheese wheel, use a round countainer, and if you'd like a block, use a rectangular or square one. I HIGHLY recommend using a glass or ceramic container as opposed to plastic. The glass or ceramic hardness enables the cheeze to slide out when wiggled after setting. With this type of container, I did not need to grease or line the container at all.
- Cover and let sit in fridge for at least 3 hours, but you can do overnight. Depending on height and width of container, your cheese may be firm sooner or may need more time. You can simply press it with your finger to check on it throughout the setting process.
- When it's set, use as you like! You can grate it with a coarse box grater, slice it, melt it (recommend either high temperature or broiler--or use a grill press/panini maker for best results), etc. Note that cheese may lightly brown as it melts.
- Refrigerate leftover cheese in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Snack, Ingredient
- Method: Blender, Refrigerator
- Cuisine: Cheese
Keywords: Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Vegan Cheese, Block Cheese
Incredible cheese recipe!! I’m going to try making some in the near future and I’m pinning this!!
Could the cheese be made witho6 agar agar for nacho cheese?
I don't think it would hold its structure if you did that. Also, if you want a nacho cheese, try the queso from this recipe: https://zardyplants.com/recipes/loaded-vegan-potato-nachos-with-queso/
You are a wizard! My jaw literally drooped when I read this recipe. I can't wait to try it. I can't wait to try ALL your cheeze recipes. You have an amazingly creative brain!
You don't mention pressing the tofu, so curious if you do as that can change the water content. It sounds like a recipe I want to try. Thank you for posting it.
Hi David! I did not press the the tofu. The only way I changed the water content is when I opened the package, I drained out the excess water into the sink.
I don’t have agar, I do however have guar gum or Xanthan gum would these work and the same quantities? I tried a mozzarella cheese recipe and used guar and the consistency wasn’t the same as the video (who used agar). Thank you
Hi! It should be the same amounts. It likely wont' melt as well, but everything else should be the same.
Made the cheese....love the cheese! This is definitely a keeper! So easy I was skeptical...but when it slid out of my glass container onto the plate...pure satisfaction! The flavor was good and I’m looking forward to using this in many recipes that call for cheese!
It tasted amazing as I tested it prior to adding the water and agar, blending until smooth, then letting it set up for several hours. Unfortunately, it tasted quite different once it set up. It's beautiful and the recipe came together swiftly and worked exactly as it had been described, but I'm disappointed in the flavor change. I guess after adding 2 1/4 cups water with the agar, it diluted the flavors. I was looking forward to snacking on cheese slices again, but not yet. Will use it to make soups and such and will add more seasonings to compensate. Next time I'll taste it AFTER adding the water and agar, instead. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
Amazing recipe! Easy to make & delicious too! Love this versatile cheez!
Made exactly to the recipe and the texture was great. Melted nicely as well. A little too garlicky for us but that's an easy fix. Thanks!
Can you freeze this as a whole or sliced/shredded?
Hi Emily. I just tested this as a whole block. It can freeze, but unfreezing it causes it to be a little wetter. My suggestion would be to press some of the liquid out of the cheese before you freeze it.
The video shows you adding the water in the first step into the blender. The directions say add it to the sauce pan w/ agar. Which is it?
Add half the water to get it to blend. Add the other half into the pot with the agar.
Are we able to swap agar agar with tapioca starch/flour? I don’t have it and do not want to go buy it just yet.
It would be a nice stretchy cheese similar to my Stretchy cheeses, but it won't firm up.
Do you think I could use firm silken tofu for this recipe?
Hi Mai, yes, I think you could use firm silken tofu. I would reduce the liquid in the recipe by at least half, though. Try with only 1/4 cup of water and add more until it blends smooth, but only enough to make it blend.
It comes out with a rubbery texture, but it does slice, shred and melt nicely. I almost doubted it would. I added a bit more salt. Gave it to my cheese monster husband who approved of it! Great recipe.