Rich, creamy, and smooth, this delicious Vegan Camembert is a fancy yet easy nut-free vegan cheese perfect for a snack or appetizer.
- 16 oz (396g) block of firm tofu, drained but not pressed (see note 3)
- 1 ¼ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk, or a bit more if needed
- ⅔ cup raw sunflower seeds (see note 4)
- Juice of 1 medium lemon (or 1.5 small lemons), to taste
- ½ cup unfortified nutritional yeast (fortified makes it more yellow, but will still taste good)
- 2 ½ tbsp onion powder, to taste
- 2 ½ tbsp garlic powder, to taste
- 2 tbsp yellow or white miso paste (use chickpea miso if soy-free, ensure it is GF if needed)
- 1 tsp salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp agar powder (SEE NOTE 5 ABOUT AGAR FLAKES!)
- 6 tbsp tapioca starch/flour (see note 6)
- Blend: So first, gather all your ingredients and place everything--except the agar powder (link) and the tapioca starch (link)--in the blender or food processor. You’ll see why in a moment. BTW, you only need to drain--not press--the tofu. Break it up into a couple pieces to make the blending process quicker. Blend it all up until smooth and taste it. Make sure you like the flavor, because it’s pretty much going to taste that way once it’s solidified. Now is the time to add more lemon, more onion powder or garlic powder, more miso paste, more salt--anything you think it needs. Blend it all up again and taste it again if you made any changes.
- Now add the agar and tapioca and blend until smooth again, then pour the contents of the blender into a small to medium non-stick saucepan. Make sure to use a spatula to get all that cheesy goodness out of the blender!
- Cook: To cook the cheese, heat the pan over medium high heat until it starts to curdle. This should take around 5-6 minutes. Stir it constantly with a strong spatula or wooden spoon. Turn the heat down to medium for the last few minutes of cooking, which is now--once it starts to curdle it will only be a few minutes before the cheese is ready to go in the mould. As your stir, the curdled cheese will transform into a somewhat glossy, thick, homogeneous consistency. It will start to pull away from the pan very noticeably.
- Pour the cheese into the container you’re refrigerating it in. Keep in mind that the container you refrigerate it in will be the shape of your completed cheese. I used a round ceramic container I found at Ross, a discount store in the United States. I have tested the cheese in both glass and ceramic containers and have had no issues, but have not tried it in a plastic container so I cannot speak to that circumstance. I should mention you can absolutely use the cheese like this. It’s safe to eat--so if you’d like to just throw it into pasta, you absolutely can.
- Refrigerate: If you want to be able to slice it like Camembert, put a lid or a cover on the container for at least 6-8 hours--I’ve always done it overnight.
- Release: Run a butter knife carefully around the inside wall of the container. Flip the container upside down and pat or tap it carefully onto a board or plate to release the cheese. If you are having trouble, use the butter knife to gently pry underneath the cheese to get it to release, but in all my times testing this recipe, I’ve never had an issue removing it from the container.
- Serve: Serve with slices of a French baguette, crackers, fruit, or anything else you like! I particularly loved the combination of the bread, vegan camembert, and red grapes.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. A great way to use up the cheese is in sandwiches or over pasta!
- Note 1: Prep and cook time estimates do not include refrigeration time.
- Note 2: This is a DOUBLE BATCH, meaning it makes 2 cheese wheels. You can easily halve the recipe to make only one wheel of cheese. You can store extra tofu in an airtight container with water and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days after removing it from the pack.
- Note 3: As mentioned above, firm tofu is what I used, but medium and soft tofu will work with less liquid added and extra firm tofu will work with slightly more liquid added. You’re looking for a thick pancake batter consistency. To make vegan cashew Camembert, I would use 1.5 cups soaked cashews. If you have a powerful blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you only need to soak the cashews for 10-15 minutes in hot water. If not, soak them for an hour in boiling water or overnight in room temperature water.
- Note 4: I used raw sunflower seeds to give my vegan Camembert the mouthfeel of the dairy version. If you’re substituting cashews for the tofu, you probably don’t need the sunflower seeds. If you want this cheese to be lower fat, the recipe WILL work without the sunflower seeds. I tested it with unsweetened soy milk the first two tries. Reduce the amount of non-dairy milk by ⅓ cup or so if you do this (just make sure you still have a thicker pancake batter consistency).
- Note 5: Agar powder is the seaweed derivative that enables this cheese to firm up. Agar powder is also known as agar agar, but beware of the flakes. You will need 3 times the amount of flakes for this recipe if you are substituting the flakes for the powder, and you may need to cook the batch longer to soften the flakes (though they will soften somewhat in the blender). You could try using kappa carrageenan if you have that, as well, but I used agar specifically to create a softer textured cheese, not a hard cheese like my vegan cheddar.
- Note 6: Tapioca starch enables me to make stretchy vegan cheeses, like my super popular melty vegan mozzarella. It cannot be directly substituted with anything… but luckily I’ve seen it in health food stores, chain grocery stores, online health food stores like Thrive Market, Amazon, etc. If you only want to use the agar powder, you can, but the cheese may be somewhat less soft and creamy, that classic Camembert texture.
- Category: appetizer, snack
- Method: Blender, stove
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Sugar-Free, vegan cheese, nut-free vegan cheese, vegan camembert