by Buffy Ellen
The festive season is coming up, and I know you want to bring the best platter to the party. But, have you ever contemplated bring the best VEGAN CHEESE platter? This is your time! Haloumi, feta, mozzarella balls, ricotta, it’s all here – and could all be making an appearance on your next platter too.
Confession – my platters didn’t always look this pretty. In a past life I would’ve just thrown some dips on a board, awkwardly strewn a few crackers on the side, then squeezed in some raw crudités for good measure. Ever done that too, but been less than pleased with the aesthetic result? I’ve been there. Well, after a bit of researching, and lots of platter-eating-practice, I’ve put together a 6-step foolproof formula, on how you can make your Ultimate Vegan Cheese Platter too. That tastes good, and is totally pic-worthy!
Yes, this platter is…
If you’ve eyed up those nut cheeses in the whole food store, but couldn't bare to part with $15 for a round, you are going to love this recipe (PS - you’ll need to buy a little kit for this, but it is SO worth it).
Let’s get cheese making…
1. Make your own homemade nut cheese
One, two, three, four, the choice is yours here in terms of how many types of cheese you make. Until recently, I had mainly made this Classic Cashew Cheese recipe when a platter was called for, or occasionally my own fermented and dehydrated cheese rounds. I recently though discovered Mad Millie here in NZ have created their very own bespoke Vegan Cheese Kit, so you can make your own vegan cheeses at home and it’s SO easy!
When I first opened my kit, I was expecting to just see one type of cheese in there (perhaps an easy version of my aforementioned camembert rounds). But no, with the single kit you can make – marinated feta, ricotta, firm mozzarella, soft stretchy mozzarella, cream cheese, mascarpone, and even... haloumi!
I kid you not. The two cheeses I most miss in my plant-based life are feta, and haloumi. Could this be even real (thinks my cheese-loving mind) that haloumi could be made from nuts? Well, it can, and it's ridiculously good. Of the four cheeses I made for these platters, the haloumi was hands down the one that Tony, Mila and I gobbled down first.
So – benefits of getting one of these kits and making your own cheese?
(a) It’s much cheaper than store-bought dairy-free cheese,
(b) All you have to add is your choice of nut (I used cashews and macadamias, though you could try watermelon seeds for a nut-free alternative),
(c) You know exactly what’s gone into your cheese (i.e. no preservatives or additives), and
(d) you don’t need any fancy equipment – just a simple saucepan, your nuts, and the kit does the rest (enough to make 3.6kg of cheese in total!).
Even as someone who actually enjoys the process of making things from scratch, I would totally recommend getting one of these kits - it just sets you up for such success as it's all in there! I got a bit excited with my cheese kit, so made four different cheeses for this platter:
But really, all you need is 1 or 2 for a beautiful and delicious spread. Place these in the centre of your platter, then move onto step 2…
2. Throw in some dips
Seen as you’ve now been incredibly awesome and made your own homemade nut cheese, you are entirely permitted to outsource things in the dips department. Think:
Or any other dip of your choosing. If you're feeling extra adventurous, feel free to throw in a homemade selection here too (if so I highly recommend my Roasted Garlic Hummus and this delicious Basil and Kale Pesto). Scatter 1-2 of these around the outside of your platter the onto step 3.
3. Go crazy with crackers
Again, while you could make crackers from scratch, feel free to outsource these as well - there are so many delicious healthy whole food crackers around these days. I used the following for my platter:
Crackers are a great way to keep your platter filling and meal-worthy, as well as being the perfect vessels for all that cheese, of course.
Of course, a healthy recipe wouldn’t be complete unless there was a solid dose of vege in there. So – pick a rainbow from the following:
Or whatever else your heart desires. If you can’t get baby versions, just use the regular versions and chop them up into sticks. Use the rocket to pad out around the cheeses and dips. Then place the rest of the vege in little groupings in odd spots around your platter. You'll see I've also popped a little dish of sauerkraut on the side as well, for some tangy probiotic colourful goodness.
5. Add a dash of sweetness with fruit
The Kim to our Kanye – fruit! Choose a selection of fresh and/or dried, including for example:
Or again, anything else that's in season that you enjoy. The world is your vegan-oyster! As long as you have lots of colours going on, your platter will be a winner. Slice the pomegranates or figs in half, the pears into slices, then the grapes and berries simply drape around the sides of your platter.
6. Finally, go lux with dark chocolate and nuts
Finally - dessert. The great thing about this platter is it serves as both dinner AND dessert. Thanks to the fruit, ricotta, nuts and dark chocolate, you can fill yourself a savoury plate from this spread, then come back for a dessert version to follow. Any dark chocolate will work here, just make sure it’s a high percentage (>60%), and that it’s free from dairy. I’m personally loving these three right now:
For nuts, I used activated almonds and cashews, but walnuts, pecans or brazils would also be great. (You can get pre-activated nuts here, or you can use my instructions on how to activate your own here).
That’s it! Serve up with a good glass of kombucha (this one here is my current fav), and dinner (and dessert) is served.
Would love to see your Ultimate Vegan Cheese Platter, tag me if you try out this same 6-step process! Would love to hear what you think of the homemade nut cheese too – I’m in love. Tag me on Insta with @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics, so I can come check out your goodness and share you in my stories.
Off to enjoy above said platter for an outdoor picnic tonight. It’s averaging 23-25 degrees right now here in Auckland, so summer is definitely here!
Have a great week, and see you back here, same time, same place, in exactly 7 days time. Til then, stay happy and well.
PS If you like this recipe, I’d love you to pin it on Pinterest, share it on Facebook, post your recreation on Instagram (tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics), or share it with your family and friends. Also, if you're not already subscribed to my weekly recipe emails, be sure to do that here, and don't miss my next recipe video by signing up to my YouTube here.
Buffy is the founder of Be Good Organics, and loves creating delicious yet simple plant-based whole foods recipes.
Buffy also oversees our Be Good Organics online store, full of plant based goodies that she personally uses and loves. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to receive her weekly recipes.
by Buffy Ellen
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I'm Buffy, a food obsessed nutrition nerd, former financial research analyst and investment banker, and now - full time blogger, nutritionist and soon to be naturopath. I live in Auckland, New Zealand with my partner Tony, our two cats Zeus and Luna, and our cute-as-pie little girl Mila. Can't wait to share some healthy recipes with you! READ MORE HERE...
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