A simple vegan sesame cheese, dare I say raw vegan, made from sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and agar agar.
Un-hulled sesame seeds have a very nutty flavor, almost a little smoky I’d say. If you like sesame seeds then you’ll really like this cheese.
Since cashews are used in pretty much every cheese recipe nowadays, which makes sense because they’re amazing, I wanted to make this recipe nut-free for those of you with nut allergies, or if you’re just looking for something different. Cashews can obviously be used instead of sesame seeds if you prefer a cheesier tasting cheese, however sesame seeds, despite their strong flavor, do a pretty good job. Also adding spices and herbs can really compliment the sesame cheese taste. You could also use hulled sesame seeds for a more neutral flavor.
There are so many different flavor combinations that pair well with sesame seeds, it all depends on what your primary use for it is. For pizzas and cheese sticks, one of my favorite flavor combinations is to dice fresh shallot, crack a little peppercorn, mince fresh basil and add it all to the cheese after blending. I also like to add it to tomato slices with fresh basil on top. Yum, now I’m hungry again! The flavor example I included in this recipe is good for crackers or by itself.
This sesame cheese is shreddable, and meltable at high temperatures, although it doesn’t melt like regular cheese, rather it goes back to it’s original state before refrigeration, it also sets up fairly quickly once cooled.
First you grind the sesame seeds with nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt until it makes a flour, you can also keep going and make sesame seed butter, aka tahini, for a thicker cheese.
Next you blend together tahini and water to make sesame milk and simmer with agar agar until it starts to emulsify, in about 5 minutes. Alternatively you could just use water or you could use a different non-dairy milk.
The agar agar mixture is blended together with the sesame seed mixture, add in some spices and herbs and ta-daa, you made sesame cheese. Now all you have to do is let it set up in the fridge.
Agar agar is seaweed that can be used in place of gelatin. It can be used in a variety of recipes like cheese, ice cream, jelly, etc. The reason I’m apprehensive about calling this raw vegan cheese is that agar agar must be heated to activate. However the rest of the ingredients stay in their raw state, and are mixed with the semi-cooled agar-agar dairy-free milk mixture.
Vegan Sesame Cheese
- 1 cup water* + 1 tbsp agar agar
- 1/2 cup un-hulled* sesame seeds
- 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp onion; minced
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- Grind the sesame seeds, nutritional yeast and salt until it forms a flour
- For a thicker cheese, add 1 tbsp of oil and keep grinding until it becomes a sesame butter aka tahini.
- Simmer 1 cup water or non-dairy milk and agar agar flakes for about 5 minutes. Let cool for another 5 minutes.
- Blend together the sesame seed, apple cider vinegar and agar agar mixture.
- Hand mix in your spices and herbs.
- Cover a bowl with plastic wrap and pour in the cheese, cover and refrigerate until firm.
*You can use hulled sesame seeds for a less "smokey" flavor. Adapted from Eating Whole
I used the single serve cups in the ninja kitchen system to make this cheese, since it’s a small recipe. A vitamix would work just as well.