Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese

You may have noticed that tofu seems to be a popular ingredient in many of my recipes. Well, that’s because I LOVE tofu. I also love coconut. In this recipe, you’ll find BOTH of these ingredients. Even if you don’t like either, never fear: you may still like this recipe, as it doesn’t really taste like coconut or tofu, rather a wonderful different flavor.

Tofutti – or rather, not buyingTofutti – inspired me to make create this “cream cheese” recipe. The only kind of Tofutti available in my area is loaded with trans fats and artificial ingredients . . . not exactly what I’d like to put into my body. My recipe is smooth and spreadable, and it works well in my “cheesecake” recipes (soon to come!). However, it does not have the exact same creaminess or super-firm texture that commercial vegan cream cheeses have; I still have to work on the creamy factor. The good news is, there’s no hydrogenated oils, weird fats, or artificial ANYTHING in this recipe, and it takes about ten minutes to make. So it’s a good starting point. Oh, and it tastes pretty much amazing. Interested?

“What does it taste like?” you ask. Well . .  . it has a hint of buttery coconut flavor, but it’s not too detectable. It tastes a bit like tofu (since that’s what it’s mostly made up of!), but in a delicious, jazzed-up kind of way. The texture is kind of similar to ricotta as well. In a lot of ways, the taste reminds me of cream cheese – you can smear on a cracker, dip veggies in it, or go really crazy and add fresh basil and nutritional yeast to it to make a delicious spread. Personally, I think that a dollop of this stuff is just heavenly on a ripe strawberry.

Oh, and did I mention that this stuff has only 20 calories per tablespoon? So feel free to load it on whatever you’d normally put cream cheese on. You’ll feel like a cheater, only you won’t actually be cheating. Seriously, you’ll have to try it for yourself! The recipe:

Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese – Makes about 2 1/2 cups (20 oz.)

1 14 package firm or extra firm (lite or regular; I use Nasoya Light Firm Tofu)

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP agave nectar

60g* raw, unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut -or- 4 TBSP coconut butter (such as Artisana or homemade, à la Chocolate Covered Katie)

6 TBSP non-dairy yogurt (I use Silk Live! Plain)

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until well combined and creamy (it is possible to make the cream cheese more creamy than mine, which were a tad lumpy in the pictures). Although it can be eaten immediately, chill before using for best results.

*I gave this measurement in grams because, depending on the size of the coconut (finely shredded, flaked, etc).), a measured amount could vary. If you do not have a kitchen scale to measure grams, use about ¾ cup of shredded coconut – just be sure NOT to pack it. I tend to use kitchen scales for many recipes, as I feel that they are more accurate and provide consistent results. They are available for as little as $10-15 at common stores such as Walmart.

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