Friday, May 25, 2012

Chickpea "Cheese"

Last week I went to a vegan restaurant with a friend and had a sandwich with some amazing cashew ricotta on it. The menu actually said that anyone with nut allergies was discouraged from eating there because of cross-contamination issues from all the nut cheeses they make.  Sad for my kids; sad for me that I can't experiment with making delicious nut cheese at home.  So I started thinking, what else could I use for home-made cheese?  I had been reading about home-made fermented cheeses made from cashews and wanted to see if I could adapt this idea for the nut-allergic. Why not try it with beans?

Beans, of course, have the requisite protein but lack the fat that I think would be needed for anything to really be cheese-like, so I decided to add the cream from the top of the coconut milk to create a better protein/fat ratio.  Hence was born this chickpea cheese. I let it ferment for 24 hours, which made it really tangy; if you don't want too much tang, then start tasting it after 12 hours and then keep checking back every few hours until the "cheese" suits your taste.  I love the taste; if you were ever a fan of strong cheeses like feta and goat cheese like I was, I think you will be a fan, too.  I have been dipping pita chips in it, and both Abiline and I enjoyed a grilled chickpea cheese for snack today.  I think this cheese would also make a great lasagna layer.  I am excited about the possibilities; this was so easy!

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup cream skimmed from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk
2-4 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. chickpea miso (You could sub mellow white soy-based miso if you don't have a soy allergy.)
1/2-1 tsp salt, to taste (Depends on how salty your chickpeas are. Mine are not very salty because I use home-cooked rather than canned, so I added about 1/2 tsp. salt.)

1. Puree the chickpeas, coconut milk, and chickpea miso. Add the water a tablespoon at a time until you have a smooth consistency, with no chickpea chunks remaining. The mixture should be a dough that you can form into a ball.
2.  Scoop the chickpea mixture into a small glass or ceramic bowl and cover tightly with cheesecloth. Place the bowl in a warm spot on the counter-top to ferment (I like by the stove or on top of the toaster oven). Taste it after about 12 hours, then keep checking every few hours if it isn't tangy enough for you yet.
3. Once you decide that it is done fermenting, place the "cheese" in your food processor and add salt, about 1/4 tsp. at a time, until the flavor suits your taste. Keep the finished cheese in the refrigerator.


This recipe is linked to Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Allergy-Friendly Fridays, Made From Scratch Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free WednesdaysWhole Foods Wednesdays, Your Green Resource , Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Wellness Weekend, Fresh Bites Fridays. and Freaky Friday 

28 comments:

  1. Wow! Amazing! I would have never thought to do that with chickpeas! Please feel free to link into our recipe hop which is open until midnight Wed. It is a weekly event beginning each Sunday evening at 7 pm. Sure hope to see you there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary! I will be sure to link up.

      Delete
    2. I saw your link in there today! Thanks for sharing. I appreciate the support and hope to see you back again ☺

      Delete
  2. Yea! So excited! Where do you get chickpea miso from??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get mine at Whole Foods. If you can't find it and can't do soy miso, I think you could use a probiotic capsule instead.

      Delete
  3. Love the recipe! Found it from SS&GF. :)

    WIll definitely keep coming back for more!

    - Miachel @ spicedcuriosity.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I hope you try it and love it!

      Delete
  4. Wow - what a great idea. As soon as I'm cleared to eat legumes again, I'm so trying this. I even have the chickpea miso in the fridge!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've tried the nut cheeses and like them but they were really hard on my blender. Chickpea cheeses sounds interesting. I'll have to use the probiotic capsule option. Thanks for sharing on Ricki's Wellness Weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks awesome! Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just wanted to mention that cashews are considered legumes, so you might want to check and see if you/your children can have cheese made from cashews.

    This sounds great, I will try it soon.

    Thank You
    Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Linda, for the input! My son's allergist said no cashews, but I am having him retested soon--I want to do the challenge testing to be sure of his allergies. I'm hopeful, but not trying to get my hopes up :o)

      Delete
  8. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I've never made fermented vegan cheeze before, but this one sounds so easy to make I may have to give it a go. Shared it on the soy-free vegan food facebook page so I hope others will appreciate it too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I enjoy your blog! And by some strange coincidence, we both published a chickpea-flour based omelette this week, so it must be a good idea!

      Delete
  9. I can eat nuts but I am interested because we love chickpeas so much - I made an almond feta recently and used some lemon for the tang - wonder if this might work in this cheeze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure about the lemon; I don't think that would help with the fermentation process like the fermented miso does. If it is hard to find miso or probiotics, I would try a tablespoon of plain non-dairy yogurt.

      Delete
  10. Be careful of your soy miso unless it says non-gmo. Most soy is gmo nowadays, sad to say. Which is so unfortunate, since simply eating miso soup 3x a day saved many WWII Japanese survivors from getting cancer after the bombings. Another naturally healthful food our "friends" at Monsanto have ruined for our "benefit".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the reminder! I guess, in a way, we are lucky for our soy allergy because we just avoid soy altogether and don't have to worry about that particular issue. Fortunately, there is chickpea miso for those who want/need to avoid soy!

      Delete
  11. I made our first batch today...can't wait to try it!! I made fermented sun cheese from sunflower seeds before and it was good. When dehydrated and powdered it tastes just like parm cheese like you would put on spaghetti. Wonder if dehydrating this would be the same??

    ReplyDelete
  12. I tried to make this but it didn't work...I am not sure what I could be doing wrong? I followed your directions and I was so excited to try it! However, after nearly 24 hours it tasted the same as it did when I took it out of the food processor...like salty chickpeas. I ended up throwing it out. I so wanted this to work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so sorry, Courtney! Under the right conditions, fermentation is inevitable. Either 1) there are less beneficial micro-organisms living in your kitchen, so that may extend the fermentation time needed and/or 2) you need to place the chickpeas in a warmer spot. I like to keep mine by the oven or on top of the toaster.

      Delete
    2. But don't put it in the oven, or else it won't have enough exposure to the air!

      Delete
  13. My son is allergic to all tree nuts, including everything coconut. Do you think a rice milk could be substituted for the coconut milk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because rice milk has so much less fat, your results wouldn't be the same. I would recommend adding 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil to make up the fat content :o)

      Delete
  14. Would hemp milk be another alternative? My son is milk protein / soya allergic and we found this to be one of the best alternatives for fat content

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not as rich, but it would still work, I think.

      Delete
  15. I'm actually teary eyed reading this! I have been so discouraged looking for raw and vegan nut free recipes for my family. All 3 of my kids are allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts. We have been to the hospital on 2 different occasions, very scary. I am not a natural chef, so these ideas don't occur to me. You may have just changed my life. No more making meals for me and a different meal for my family. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad I can help in some small way. I've been there--I remember being so down, thinking, "How on earth am I going to feed my children?" But I had faith that God would provide a way for me to care for the children he gave me. We definitely have to think outside the box!

      Delete