Daily Vegan Lunch for 7 September, 2013: Vegan Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese Salad

What to do with so many end of summer tomatoes?  I made Miyoko Schinner’s brilliant buffalo mozzarella out of cashews!  You CANNOT tell the difference between it and real cheese.

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BUFFALO MOZZARELLA INGREDIENTS:

1 cup plain (unsweetened) almond yogurt or other plant-based yogurt such as coconut or soy
1 cup cashews, soaked for 8 hours and drained

1 cup water, divided

1.5 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons tapioca powder

1 tablespoon agar powder

 

Bowl of ice water

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 ripe tomato per serving
4 – 5 blobs of cheese

1 teaspoon olive oil plus 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar per serving
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Make the cheese base by combining soaked cashews, yogurt, and 1/2 cup water in a blender until very, very smooth and creamy.  If 1/2 cup isn’t enough water to get the cashews to blend, add water by 2 Tablespoonfuls at a time until it blends.  Scrape down the sides of the blender frequently during  the process.  Alternately, use cashew butter in the place of soaked cashews.

Scoop into a bowl and allow the mixture to ferment from anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.  It will thicken into cream cheese and you can stop right there if cream cheese is what you wanted.   Stir tapioca flour into the cashew mixture.

I did this: made a big double batch of 2 cups worth of cashews and yogurt, then fermented half for cream cheese (no tapioca flour) and half for buffalo mozzarella.  My blender blends large amounts better than it does small ones so this was a winning strategy.

In a small pot, heat reserved 1/2 cup of water and agar, bringing to a boil.  Once it boils, turn the heat to medium-high and simmer the agar water for 3 – 4 minutes.   Add the tapioca floured cream cheese.  Whisk in and stir continuously until the mixture thickens dramatically and takes on a glossy, stretchy texture.  When it seems as thick as it is going to get,  scoop out the mixture with an ice cream scoop into the ice water.

Allow the cheese balls to set up for about 20 minutes.

SALAD DIRECTIONS:

Assemble cheese balls, basil, and chopped fresh tomatoes on a plate, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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