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!
1/4 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 Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Your Green Resource , Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Wellness Weekend, Fresh Bites Fridays. and Freaky Friday.