Making my own non-dairy cream cheese has been a bit of a holy grail quest for me. When I found out that my son Sawyer was allergic to dairy products, I just started using the Tofutti cream cheese substitute, which tastes pretty good, but is not exactly full of healthful--or even identifiable--ingredients. Plus my daughter Abiline would not tolerate the soy protein in it. I did not have a clue how to go about making my own allergy-friendly "cream cheese," as the only homemade recipes I have been able to find are ones that contain cashews. Then inspiration struck after I made my chickpea cheese: coconut and white beans, in the right fat to protein ratio, fermented to brilliant, spot-on cream cheese impersonation. I admit that I started crying when I tasted it. And then I proceeded to make bagels to slather it on. And then no-bake cheesecake. Maybe it sounds weird, but trust me folks: I think this is my best kitchen creation ever.
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup (heaping) cooked cannellini beans (Or navy beans work fine, too.)
2 Tbsp. plain coconut milk yogurt (I used homemade.)
1/2 Tbsp. chickpea miso
6-8 Tbsp. water
2-4 Tbsp. coconut milk (The kind in the carton or full-fat both work, but use full-fat if you are going to use this for cheesecake.)
1. In a food processor (or Vitamix/Blentec, if you are lucky enough to have one of those!) blend the coconut, white beans, yogurt, miso and 1/3 cup water until smooth. Add additional water a tablespoon at a time if necessary to get a really smooth, creamy consistency.
Set the bowl in warm place and let the "cheese" ferment for about 12-16 hours. Start tasting it after 12, and then if it is not tangy enough yet, keep checking back every hour. You will know when it's done because you will think to yourself, "Ohmygosh, this tastes like cream cheese!"
3. During the fermenting process, the "cheese" loses moisture and becomes crumbly, so once it is done fermenting, you need to put it back in your blender or food processor and blend in the coconut milk, starting with two tablespoons, and then adding more--a tablespoon at a time--if necessary to get a spreadable consistency.
4. Store it in the refrigerator. It is best when eaten within the first 3-5 days.
No, I didn't try to ship the kids off. They were pretending to be robots. Very happy robots.
This post is linked to Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Breakfast Ideas Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, and Allergy-Free Wednesday and Wellness Weekend.