Gruyere Style Cheese Spread (and Pasta Sauce)

I had a flurry of enthusiasm for making faux cheese last week. My girls had reminded me that they liked the faux cheddar that I sometimes make (and not often enough, allegedly), and I’ve had a draft recipe for an appetizer requiring feta for about a year now, just waiting for me to figure the recipe for the feta before I post it. I’ve just about developed something that I like, but in the meantime, I had a go at something to replace Gruyere.

Pasta with Marinated Artichokes and Gruyere Sauce

A rich and delectable dish for entertaining. Pasta with marinated artichokes and rich ‘gruyere’ sauce (skip the cooking stage for the cheese).

The initial batch I made was with all water (too bland), so the second batch was made with all wine (too strongly flavored), but the next batch made with 1/2 water and 1/2 wine was great. I didn’t get as far as adjusting the texture to firm it up, as I couldn’t think of a use that I’d have for Gruyere where a spread wouldn’t work (and some where soft was preferable).

Gruyere cheez spread

GF baguette loaded up with vegan Gruyere cheese spread, cooked until thickened to a paste.

Like Gruyere, this is a moderately strong tasting cheese, and the initial flavor is very similar to the dairy variety. The aftertaste, however, has a bit of a tang due to the wine that isn’t present in regular Gruyere, but that can be driven off, to a certain extent, by cooking it. As an erstwhile lover of cheese fondue, I have to admit to liking the tang, and I’m not in a hurry to get rid of it!

Daughter #2 consumed quite a quantity of this stuff on crackers, so it’s been put through its paces! Personally, I like it on pasta. About 1 tbsp of cheese per ounce of dried pasta, stirred into the drained, cooked pasta for an almost instant supper. If you figure on any other ways to use this, do let me know.

8 oz (2 scant cups) blanched almonds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay)
1 tbsp dark colored miso (I used Sweet Tasting Brown Rice Miso)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) melted coconut oil

Put the almonds and dry white wine in a blender, along with 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) water, and leave to soak for at least a couple of hours.
Add remaining ingredients, and blend until completely smooth. This might take a couple of minutes or so, and if your blender can’t handle such a dry mixture, add a tablespoon or two of water, which you can then cook off.

DSC_0014

Texture of cooked cheese.

If your mixture is a bit thin, scrape it into a small saucepan, and heat, stirring frequently until the mixture turns stiff like cream cheese.

Adjust flavoring if necessary.

Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

 

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8 thoughts on “Gruyere Style Cheese Spread (and Pasta Sauce)

  1. Diana says:

    I’m trying this today, and can hardly wait. I had GF pizza (with no cheese) this past weekend, and it lacks something without any type of cheese. 😦

    I am hoping to add this Gruyere to the top of my leftovers!

    Question… do you have to cook it, or only if it’s too runny?

    • I hear you about the lack of cheese on pizza! Taste-wise, I don’t think you really have to cook it, but it might be a bit wet. I can’t help thinking that it might be a bit strong tasting for pizza, though. I’m just finishing up a post for mozzarella cheese which I have been enjoying on pizza as well as straight out of the tub. You can see a recent version of it on top of the Breakfast Casserole that I posted recently. I’ll make finishing up that write-up a priority. 🙂 Hope your pizza turns out well!

  2. Diana says:

    I think it came out well. I ended up having to add about another 1/2 cup of water to get my blender to process it, then cooked it off. It’s not too strong, but it’s still warm. Colder might be better. Next time I might add a little more miso (I used a chic pea miso).

    As for its suitability for pizza, I like an “adult” pizza, so I think it will be just the thing. Will add it sparingly the first time. I think I used to buy a pre-made thin crust pizza with a strong cheese on it (before dietary restrictions). Will also try your mozarella recipe. 🙂

    Have you ever put your talents to creating blue cheese? That’d be a trick. I so miss blue cheese. 😦

    • Glad it came out well, Diana. 🙂 I’m not surprised about the extra water. If I increase my blender speed at just the right rate, I can do without it, but otherwise I have to add the water.
      I used to love blue cheese, too. I had a go at developing a vegan one a couple of years ago, but it didn’t make the mark at the time. I’ve had a feta recipe in the pipeline for a year or so now, though, and a couple of weeks ago hit upon something that seemed to work, but I haven’t finished writing that up yet. I also have a great recipe for Boursin, but it includes using ready made vegan cream cheese which seems like a cop-out, so I’m not ready to put that out either. Jo Stepaniak’s The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook has a recipe for excellent grated parmesan – she calls it Parmezano Sprinkles. I think that’s the extent of my cheese repertoire (over and above the cheddar and Gruyere recipes already on the blog).
      Enjoy the pizza!

      • Diana says:

        I bought that book when I found your blog, and I have tried a number of recipes in it. Then I discovered Cashew Brie at my local health food store, and when I researched the ingredients online I found “Artisan Vegan Cheese” by Miyoko Schinner. It’s a whole new level of vegan cheese. The brie was SOOOOO good… had that tang that cheeses have. This came from “rejuvelac” which you make at home by sprouting and then fermenting the sprouts. That was actually the easiest part! If you haven’t tried the recipes in her book and want to, we can chat beforehand. I can give you some hints, especially to making the rejuvelac.

      • Yes please! I’ve tried making rejuvelac 3 times, and always thrown it away. Perhaps I shouldn’t have tried making it with brown rice from the same packet each time.

  3. Diana says:

    I sprouted quinoa … the kind I had just bought to cook from the bulk food store. I didn’t follow her sprouting instructions. Instead I washed the grains, soaked them briefly, drained them, and then I put them in a large mason jar, and covered the mouth with a double layer of cheesecloth held on with an elastic band. I put this jar, mouth side downward, in a large bowl so that it was at a 45 degree angle to the counter and air could circulate into the jar, but excess water would continue to drain.
    Then I just rinsed the grains twice a day, swishing them around in filtered water and draining the water off and putting the jar back in the bowl.

    It was only about a day later that I had sprouts coming out of the grains. I let them get a bit bigger (about 1/4″ long) then I rinsed them a final time and divided them between 2 large mason jars, and put 3 cups of water in each jar. This essentially ‘drowns’ the sprouts and they ferment. The book said this stage would take 1 to 3 days, but I tasted the liquid each day and waited until the 4th day (reasoning that it was cool in my kitchen). When it was done the liquid tasted a lot like lemon juice. At this point, I strained the rejuvelac into two large clean jars, covered them with lids, and put them in the fridge. (The sprouts themselves get thrown away at this point.)

    I made a LOT of cheese, and there is just me here eating it so I’ve frozen quite a bit of it. If I were doing it again I’d make half the amount of rejuvelac and just have one jar of it when done. Using about a half cup or so for each recipe, it goes a long way, but it DOES keep well in the fridge. I just threw the rest of mine out a few weeks ago.

    Here is a really great video on how to sprout. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIexE5ZMFEM The jar method comes in at around the 4-minute mark. You can only sprout something that you could otherwise plant and grow. At sproutpeople.org they have all kinds of information, as well as a timetable for the soaking part. I think quinoa only needs to be soaked for about 20 minutes, so it’s WAY faster than some of the other, larger grains.

    • Wow! Thank you for that. My kitchen is rarely cool, so I’ll try with quinoa (not brown rice which is nearly out of date) and won’t let it sit for anywhere near as long. I’ve been promising myself another try at Miyoko Sschinner’s book.

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