Choosing a vegan lifestyle means being dairy-free, but it does not mean you have to give up on cheesy recipes. The more information people have on healthy diets and environmentally sound food sources, the more they value brands that are sustainable and made from whole plant foods, which means more and more options arise each year for vegetarian and vegan food alternatives. There are premade products for vegan shredded cheese, vegan sour cream, vegan cream cheese, and, though it's currently difficult to find in stores, vegan cottage cheese can be easily made at home. We have five recipes with different ingredients so you can find the source and consistency that's right for you.
Cottage Cheese vs. Vegan Cottage Cheese
Dairy cottage cheese is believed to be the first cheese that was made in America. First, the curds (cheese) are separated from the whey (the watery milky part that gives us whey protein products). The name "cottage cheese" came into popular use in the mid-1800s and is still sold today either plain or flavored with herbs or fruit.
Vegan cottage cheese, of course, has nothing to do with animal milk, so what is it made of? Vegan recipes for cottage cheese use firm, soft, or silken tofu, cashews, premade vegan cheeses, nutritional yeast, and more. We have the specifics below with unique vegan cottage cheese recipes you can make at home.
How to Make Homemade Vegan Cottage Cheese: Top 5 Recipes
Here are some of the best vegan cottage cheese recipes to get the flavor and consistency you want without dairy in your diet.
Easily served on a leaf of lettuce, a slice of tomato, or as a sandwich spread, this vegan cottage cheese takes your meal to the next level of yum.
- Use firm tofu, mashed or crumbled, and mix it with chopped chives, dill weed, and parsley, and then set it all to the side.
- Next, combine silken tofu with lemon juice, vinegar, and oil until it's creamy.
- Mixing the mash into the creamy base gives you that familiar cottage cheese consistency, plus you can add savory flavorings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, and/or onion powder to taste.
This vegan version of cottage cheese has more or less the same tofu base as the recipe above, but with different nutritional additives to lend it that tangy, sour flavor of the real thing. The instructions call for blending silken tofu with:
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Crumble some firm tofu into the soft tofu mixture in a medium bowl, stir, and enjoy.
The prep time is the same as the total time, a mere 10 minutes before you're enjoying vegan cottage cheese as a delicious dip or as part of a fruit parfait.
Cashews and coconut cream form the basis of this vegan cottage cheese recipe.
- Blend up soaked cashews with water, white vinegar, lemon juice, coconut cream, salt, nutritional yeast, and a teaspoon of garlic and onion powder until it's smooth.
- Next, crumble in more tofu to mimic the curds and add in chopped chives if you choose.
- Once you let it firm up in the fridge for an hour or so, you can enjoy it as an appetizer spread or as a snack.
Again, it's crumbled tofu for the non-dairy curds, but this recipe includes a sauce made of pretty much all of the above: soaked cashews, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, and...almond milk. If you want the simplest recipe, maybe this one isn't for you, but if you want one with a dense and diverse nutritional profile, it may be perfect, offering you the best of everything.
Soy milk could also be subbed into your blender or food processor if that's the kind of milk alternative you keep in your kitchen.
5. Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Hack
This is an especially easy vegan cottage cheese recipe, mostly because it comes premade. Now, it won't be exactly the same as regular cottage cheese, because one of the main differences between ricotta and cottage cheese, even among dairy products, is that ricotta is finer and smoother while cottage cheese has larger lumpier curds. That being said, they can still be used pretty much interchangeably as veggie dips or even in lasagna, and the same is true for vegan versions too. If you want an approximation of cottage cheese but don't want to make it yourself, look around for vegan brands of ricotta cheese and see if that doesn't do the trick.
You may have noticed that while all of the previous links are to gluten-free recipes, they're not necessarily allergen-free, as they are full of soy products, nut products, or both. While vegan dishes are often some of the best ways to avoid allergen-causing foods or adhere to dietary restrictions, when it comes to cottage cheese approximations, it's one or the other: soy or nuts.
If you're allergic to both, there are cheese recipes like this provolone one from The Hidden Veggies, which uses coconut milk, nutritional yeast, agar agar powder, and tapioca powder, but it's hard to get the texture of cottage cheese without tofu chunks, and some may be allergic to tapioca, algae products like agar agar, or nutritional yeast. Proceed with caution, and do your own substituting and experimenting with ingredients you know you can trust.
A Cottage Industry
When you choose a vegan lifestyle, you take a proactive stance when it comes to your food, refusing foods with animal ingredients and embracing a DIY attitude when it comes to making your own delicious alternatives. New recipes are developed every day by people trying to find a better way to go vegan, so keep searching for ideas and stay creative in your kitchen until you find the best recipes for your needs.