WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Coconut Cheese(gluten free, soy free, nut free, corn free, seed free, dairy free)

When you have to be nut free, soy free, corn free, dairy free, and seed free you realize that suddenly cheese is not an option.

This is our substitute. It is "cheese like". We use it instead of cream cheese in anything from a cheesecake to a white sauce for pasta.

When using it for a "spread" for crackers or bread we add a bit of salt and fresh herbs.

For desserts we use it as is in place of cream cheese. We have found that it is more convincing if you add a little lemon juice or tamarind to offer that "tang" we are accustomed to when eating a cream cheese based dessert.

You can just use coconut yogurt and strain it into a cheese. It tastes fine. We opted to add the chickpeas to increase the nutritional profile and give it a bit more body. While we love all things coconut one thing coconut is lacking is protein and adding chickpea's helps balance that out. When using it as a topping on a pizza or italian dishes the coconut yogurt on it's own melts away to nothing very quickly. By blending in some chickpeas(or nofu)it holds it shape a bit better. I like to mix italian herbs and salt into it for pizza and italian dishes.

1 cup homemade coconut yogurt
1/3 cup very well cooked chickpeas.

(If you use canned they will be too firm. You will need to cook them until they are starting to fall apart. I used dried and cook them in the pressure cooker until they start falling apart.)

1)Combine the yogurt and chickpeas in a blender and puree until very smooth.

2) I use a yogurt cheese box with the strainer(I bought mine on Amazon). I line the strainer with a piece of wet/damp cotton muslin and pour the yogurt/cheese blend into the muslin. (The strainer is not adequate with coconut yogurt,so the cloth is needed.)
3) I tie or twist the muslin shut. My box has a lid which I use.
4) I leave it at room temperature and every hour or two I will squeeze the muslin to help remove the whey.

5) After 8 hours I will place in the fridge overnight.

6) In the AM I will feel the muslim, if it is firm I know I have removed enough whey. If it is still soft I allow it to come to room temperature and squeeze some more whey out and then place back in the fridge.

7) I will pull/scrap the cheese off the muslin and press into a saran lined small container. I pack it firmly and cover tightly and place back in the fridge.
8) After a few hours it ready to use.

You can use many different methods to strain yogurt. They have something called "nut bags" or cheese bags which you place your yogurt in and suspend over a bowl to catch the whey. Same idea with a recycled piece of cotton fabric, lay it out(line a bowl is easiest), pour in your yogurt, gather the edges, tie it tightly and suspend over a bowl. I have hung it off a knob on a kitchen cabinet, or one of those banana hangers.
Don't toss your whey! You can use it for fermenting or add into another dish for some added flavor and probiotics.


Clarissa said...

very interesting! my son would be happy to try this since he has never had cheese of any kind.

Anonymous said...


I was looking for the cheese box and found this....looks interesting, too.

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