Vegan recipes: How to make creamy buffalo mozzarella
- Americans love their cheese. In fact, more than 230 million Americans ate cheese, particularly American cheese, last year. In 2019, experts also reported that the average American consumed a staggering 40 pounds of cheese.
Cheese has titillated our taste buds for thousands of years. Animal milk has been used to make cheese in nearly every corner of the world, culminating in more than 1,700 distinct varieties today. Some of the more popular cheese varieties include sharp Cheddar, buttery Gouda, mild paneer, holey Swiss, creamy Brie and stringy mozzarella.
But cheese — as delicious and versatile as it is — is chock-full of saturated fat and sodium, both of which can cause a variety of health problems when consumed in large amounts, including weight gain and heart disease. According to recent studies, cheese may also be as dangerously addictive as commonly abused drugs like opium or heroin.
If you’re hesitant about giving up cheese, consider switching to a healthier alternative: cashew cheese.
Cashew nuts as a vegan alternative to cheese
Nut cheese is often made from cashew nuts, which are dense and creamy when blended. Cashew nuts don’t need a ton of thickeners, which is why they’re commonly used in vegan alternatives to dairy.
Cheese made from cashew nuts is often mellow in flavor. But it can also be made to taste sharp using zesty ingredients, or sweet using dried fruits. In terms of texture, cashew cheese is soft and crumbly.
But it’s not just the taste and texture of cashew cheese that cheese-loving vegans are after. Cashew nuts are rich in nutrients, including soluble and insoluble fibers, heart-healthy fats and protein.
In the gut, soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel, making you feel full for longer. It also helps reduce your body’s ability to absorb cholesterol and sugar into your bloodstream. High blood levels of cholesterol and sugar are bad news for your heart and blood vessels.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, doesn’t dissolve in water. It keeps food moving through the gut instead, promoting bowel regularity and preventing constipation.
Meanwhile, the unsaturated fats in cashew nuts are good for your heart. They can reduce cholesterol levels and minimize your risk of developing heart disease. Nuts like cashew nuts are also among the few plant-based sources of unsaturated fats, so consider adding cashew nuts to your diet if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian.
Cashew nuts are also a healthy plant-based source of protein, the building block of your muscles, skin, bones and organs.
How to make vegan buffalo mozzarella
Buffalo mozzarella, the gold standard in Italian cheese, is made from the milk of Italian water buffalos. It’s best known for its creamy texture and slightly sour flavor – a combination adored by many Italians.
This vegan recipe for buffalo mozzarella will have you making smooth balls of cheese, leaving the buffalo alone. It’s also a really fun recipe to make. Using thermal shock, you’ll craft a mixture and set it quickly in ice-cold water. After a few minutes of chilling, the mixture will firm up into a ball of mozzarella that you can then use for cooking. Try it in a classic Mediterranean salad or enjoy it sliced over homemade pizza.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
- 1 cup blanched unsalted cashew nuts
- 1 cup almond milk
- 3 tablespoons tapioca
- 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- Ice cubes
- Fill a large bowl with water. Add ice cubes and set aside.
- Add all the remaining ingredients to a blender. Blend at full speed until smooth and combined.
- Pour the mixture into a pan. Cook it over medium heat for 2 minutes or until it thickens.
- Remove pan from heat. Using a spoon, scoop out balls of the mixture and place them in the ice water.
- Leave the balls in the ice water for 5 minutes or until firm. They should be rubbery when ready.
- Remove the balls from the water using a slotted spoon and use them as needed. Place any leftover balls in an airtight container. If kept in the refrigerator, they will last for up to three days.
If you want to enjoy cheese minus the health risks, try making your own cheese at home using the recipe above.