Friday, June 18, 2010

Vegan Mozzarella - No Soy

It seems I finally remembered where my kitchen is located, LOL. I have had this on my to do list since Monday. Can you tell I have been unmotivated this week? Sometimes I just don’t feel like making a fuss in the kitchen and that is good description of this week. ;-)

I wanted to make a firm vegan cheese without soy and I think this is the best recipe so far. The touch of nutritional yeast adds a bit of buttery flavor to the cheese. I added the smoked garlic to give the cheese a more complex taste. But you can use simple poached garlic and get a similar result. Here is what I did:

Vegan Mozzarella - No Soy
Makes 8 slices


¼ cups almonds
water to cover the almonds to 1 ½ cup mark
¼ cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 large smoked garlic clove (or clove that was blanched to remove the sharpness)
1 pinch sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons agar powder (agar flakes will require a different amount don't substitute them 1 for 1)


Place the almonds in a 2 cup measuring cup and add water to the 1 ½ cup mark. Allow the almonds to soak for at least 4 hours. Then pour the almonds and soaking liquid in your blender and process until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve that is lined with cheese cloth or a damp paper towel. Rinse out your blender and return the strained almond milk to your blender and add the other ingredients through the garlic. Process until completely smooth. Taste the mixture and add salt or other seasonings to suit your taste. Add the agar powder and process.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and allow it to sit for 5 minutes so the agar can bloom. Now heat the mixture until it begins to thicken and bubble. Ideally you want to use a thermometer to ensure it reaches 185 degrees. I used this hand held laser thermometer. Now pour the mixture into a container so it can cool. Refrigerate when it is close to room temperature. The mixture will solidify as the temperature falls below 110 degrees.

Nutritional Information (this is an estimate because I did not adjust for the removal of the almond pulp):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 48.59
Calories From Fat (68%) - 32.95

Total Fat - 3.58g
Saturated Fat-  0.41g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 37.32mg
Potassium - 59.13mg
Total Carbohydrates - 2.25g
Fiber - 0.65g
Sugar - 0.41g
Protein - 1.55g


From a flavor perspective this is my best vegan mozzarella yet. It has a little more flavor than dairy mozzarella but has the same overall mild character. The texture is firm, but not too firm. I think this turned out really well. I hope you give it a try.

For those of you that are wondering how I got the heart shape. I took a small heart shaped bread tube and covered the end with aluminum foil and then poured the hot cheeze into the tube. When it was cool it slid right out.

Unrelated Notes:

Last night I read a post at Heather’s blog that took me back to graduate school. Heather asked if anyone sets goals. OMG, do I set goals? Seriously, I set goals for everything that I want to accomplish and measure my progress so I know how I am doing. Her question made me think this would be a good topic to write about:

Goal Setting:

Many years (okay decades) ago when I was in graduate school I wanted to finish ahead of schedule and crammed as many courses in as I could. In order to graduate early I ended up needing to take a few doctoral courses that I would not have otherwise had. One of them was a PhD level course in Organizational Behavior, specifically work motivational theory that included goal setting. I was fortunate enough to have the father of goal setting as my professor, Edwin Locke. It was great course and I learned so much that has helped me throughout my life. When Heather mentioned goal setting on her blog I knew I should write about this topic because it has been so beneficial to me.

The most important thing I learned from the course was that in order to get the results you want from setting goals you need to follow five guidelines or principles. The principles I was taught applied to how to set goals in the corporate setting but I adapted them to my personal use long ago. Here are the principles as I remember them:

1. Clarity

2. Challenge

3. Commitment

4. Feedback

5. Task Complexity

Clarity speaks to the fact that you need to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. In other words if you want to eating healthier you need to define what that means. It would look something like this. I will eat 5 servings of fresh vegetables every day for the next month to further my overall goal toward better health.

Challenge means the goal can’t be too easy. Dr. Locke found that more challenging goals are more motivational in general. What this means is that if you currently eat 4 servings of vegetables per day setting a goal of 5 isn’t challenging enough. But if you currently eat one of two servings then five is probably a challenging goal for you.

Commitment isn’t quite as straight forward as it seems. Dr. Locke found that the more difficult (or challenging) a goal the higher the commitment tended to be. I translate this to always set goals that a little bit of stretch and that relate to your other goals. The vegetable goal would make sense if you are focused on improving your health.

Feedback comes back to being able to measure your progress and comparing your actual performance to your goal. You can only make adjustments if you know how things are going. Looking at this a different way you won’t know if you have reached your goal until you are monitoring your progress. Back to the vegetable goal example you need to know how many vegetables you are eating every day compared to your goal.

Task complexity speaks to making certain the task isn’t overwhelming. Tougher goals will need more time to reach and that should be taken into account. Additionally it is important to remember that the purpose of goal setting is to be successful. Returning to the vegetable example if you currently eat 1 or 2 vegetable servings per day it may be a bit too difficult to reach 5 servings each day in a month. When you monitor your progress then you will be able to determine if you need to extend your timeline.

I hope some of you found that helpful. If you are interested in the topic you can find more information from Dr. Locke here. He is a fascinating man and was a fantastic professor. I hope I explained his approach in a way he would approve of. Thank you Dr. Locke for having such a profound impact on my life.

Thank you:

I wanted to say thank you to everyone that commented yesterday or sent an email. Please know how much your kind words mean to me. I only hope that a few people will be inspired to live a healthier life and to enjoy every minute that you have. One thing that cancer has taught me is to not worry about the small things. In the end it doesn’t matter if your hair isn’t right (or is grey), whether you have wine with dinner, or how much stuff you have. The most important thing is that you enjoy those you love and every moment you have with them.


Today is Friday, YAY, which means I need to run my normal errands. I will be back later today with the garlic scape pesto and Fun Facts Friday. I hope you are all having a wonderful Friday.


  1. How cute are you making it heart shaped. :)

  2. Krystina,

    Thanks, I do like to play with my food, LOL.


  3. I need to find my kitchen too! I have all of the ingredients to make the vegan mozz so I must try this. That might be my first goal: Make Alicia's Vegan Mozz. ;-)

    Great post on goal setting by the way!

  4. Heather,

    This vegan cheese is easier than some of the others I have made. It turned out really well. I think making it without soy made all the difference.

    Glad you like the goal setting portion of the post. I really have used what I learned ever since college. Someone once told me if you don't have direction you will wake up one day and wonder how you ended up where you are. That really spoke to me and I always remembered it. ;-)


  5. Great idea! I'm a big fan of using agar and almonds so you definitely have my heart. Now I can finally make a vegan caprese salad--yumm!

    Have a lovely day!

  6. Mandiee,

    We are definitely on the same wavelength. Vegan Caprese was my motivation for making this cheese. ;-)

    I hope you have a great day too!

  7. Haha--I was going to comment that the slice in your photo looked like a heart, and then I read on to to see that you did it on purpose! I thought it just happened to turn out that way. I am so lame :-)

    When I was working as a health coach I would use the criteria you listed to set goals with my clients around their diets/nutrition/exercise/etc. SMART goals. It is a great technique and I think you did a nice job of explaining it succinctly. I hope you are having a good Friday!


  8. Courtney,

    LOL, you are so cute. Thanks for the giggle. ;-)

    Also thanks for letting me know I explained goal setting well. It is something I have used in my own life for decades but I wasn't sure my explanation was any good. That is very interesting that you used the same technique. I was taught this as a way to motivate employees. We used it a lot in developing action plans for reaching strategic goals for corporations. I found it worked very well in practice both personally and professionally.

    talk to you later,

  9. Ooh, no soy, I'm in!! The cheese looks really good and like it has a wonderful texture. I can't wait to try this. I am printing it out now:)

  10. Janet,

    I hope you like it as much as I did. Eliminating the soy made a much bigger difference in terms of taste than I expected.


  11. Oooohhh, that mozzarella looks all kinds of yummy, Ali! I bookmarked it to try.

    And my little ocd virgo self LOVES the info on goal setting! Thank you for sharing!


  12. LJ,

    LOL, I totally get the virgo reference since I am married to one. Glad you liked the goal setting.

    talk to you later,

  13. The cheese sounds great and looks good. Does it melt?

  14. Joyce,

    I have not cooked this one yet so I am not positive. But according to Harold McGee in "On Food and Cooking" the agar sets at 110 degrees and will remelt at 185. So it should melt.


  15. Hand-held laser thermometers?...Wow, that's high tech. You really are a mad scientist in the kitchen. (lol)

    This nut cheese sounds really good an simple. I have to say, I prefer nut cheese to soy-based cheeses in general...they just seem to have more natural richness to them.

  16. Rose,

    The laser thermometer was a present from my buddy Louis. He knows me well. I use it all the time. It is really handy to have. And .... Dan knows the temperature of everything in the house, a cat tush, my tush, the face of the TV ... you get the idea. Also the cats think it makes a great laser toy, as does Dan, LOL.

    I really like this cheese. It is definitely my favorite "vegan mozzarella" yet in terms of flavor.

    talk to you later,


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