Friday, April 13, 2012

Homemade Vegan Feta Cheese and Raw Vegan Ricotta Cheese

First off, this is delicious and I'm so glad that I found this recipe! It's one of those kitchen changing recipes. The ones that get your gears turning and you start using it so many different ways, with a bunch of different spins on it.

Second, I've had store bought vegan feta's before and this tastes so much better! It has a fresh and briny taste that I never got with the other feta's.

I made this to use in spanikopita for babygirl's 2nd birthday. I'll post that recipe and all the others from her party soon.

There are a bunch of different versions of this cheese online. Supposedly, the original came from an issue of Vegetarian Times magazine.
Here's a couple of recipes I used to make my version:

Feta and Ricotta
3c raw blanched almonds (I used some from Trader Joe's)
1/4c lemon juice
1/4c kalamata olive juice
6tbs evoo
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp sea salt

Cover almonds with water and soak overnight.

Drain and blend with remaining ingredients until smooth. It won't be like cream, but a smoothed out version of ricotta cheese.
*At this point, you could use as is for a ricotta cheese and/or blend in some herbs for a nice dip or spread.

For the baked feta:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drape a thin kitchen towel or cheesecloth over a colander.
Pour in mixture and form a ball or any shape you like. Secure the top with a knot, string or rubber band.

Place colander over a bowl and let drain overnight.

Discard liquid and place cheese ball in an oiled dish. Drizzle a little evoo over the top and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch. Mine wasn't browning well enough, so after the 45 minute mark, I broiled the top of it.
You can enjoy it straight out the oven or let sit for awhile.
After cooling off, it becomes more crumbly like feta cheese.

It's excellent on crackers, crusty toasted bread, in spanikopita or on a salad!

Here's part of it ready to be added to spanikopita.
I'll post that recipe this week.



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