Monday, February 14, 2011

Dairy-free Cheese w/ Rosemary Garlic Olive Oil

A few months ago, I found out I was allergic to dairy (casein). I felt like I was eating the best dairy - mostly goat's or pasture fed cow's milk, and only raw cheeses-- but, alas, that makes no difference when you are allergic! Since giving up dairy completely, I have had fewer headaches and my morning sore throats are a thing of the past. But the cravings for ice cream, frozen yogurt, and cheese still haunt me from time to time. My craving for cheese was the driving force behind this recipe.

Boursin, a soft french cheese that comes in different herb flavors, was one of my favorite treats to have before going dairy-free. So I set out to make a dairy-free cheese that can rival it...and it got my husbands seal of approval (and he grew up on Boursin so I took that as a great success of a recipe!).

Feel free to play around with this recipe. The basic components of a raw nut cheese are nuts and lemon juice. Next time I make this, I will try adding the herbs and garlic (powder maybe) directly to the nuts and lemon juice in the blender. Also, my husband suggested finely chopped olives might be nice in the cheese as well.

Raw, Dairy-Free Cheese

Ingredients and Materials

For the cheese:

- 1 cup raw nuts (I used blanched almonds and soaked them the night before, but this is not completely necessary- just makes a slightly creamier cheese. I found raw blanched almonds @ Trader Joes, for more info on where to find nuts check out this post)

- 3 lemons, juiced (or about 3 oz of lemon juice)

- ½ tsp Celtic sea salt, fine ground

- 2 bowls, one big, one smaller and heavy

- 1 colander

- Cheese cloth

For the Herbed Oil added once the cheese is finished:

- 1/3 cup olive oil

- 1 clove garlic, mashed

- 1 Tbsp rosemary- must be fresh (you can also play around with other herbs you like too!)

- salt and pepper to taste


- Blend the herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil together and let sit, covered (I like to keep some of this on hand to go with lots of things, like fresh bread from this post)

- Blend the first three ingredients for the cheese on high (can be done in a food processor or high powered blender). If you need to add water (1-2 Tbsp) at this point to make the cheese a finer texture, that’s OK. The excess water will be strained out in the next few steps.

- The mixture should be kind of thick. Set up your bowl and colander like so, with the cheese cloth then over the colander.

- Then form the cheese, squeezing tightly, and wrapping it in the cheese cloth.

- Let it sit this way, with a heavy bowl placed on top so that the cheese is pressed. I let mine sit over night out on the table (not in fridge). This is how it develops its tangy-ness. You can be done here and use your cheese as a spreadable one (like cream-cheese consistency), or, if you prefer, you can go on to the next step if you want to make a firmer cheese (like feta consistency). Just mix with the herbed olive oil to your liking.

- When the cheese is done pressing, preheat the oven to 175°. Then shape the cheese on a parchment lined sheet pan (I’m not using unbleached parchment paper in the pic below, but I should be!) to about 5-6” circle.

- Put the cheese in the oven and cut the oven off comptletely. (This is what I do because I don't have a dehydrator, but if you have one feel free to use it too!) Let it firm up around the edges and top, about 35-45 minutes in the closed oven. Then plate and enjoy with some of these yummy organic, raw, gluten-free Italian crackers! They are a bit on the pricey side, but a nice treat every now and then and go great with this cheese.

(I know, I took a lot of pictures of my cheese plate, it was just so pretty :)

This post is a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday @ Simply Sugar and Gluten Free (check out more healthy recipes every Tuesday @ Amy's SS&GF )

You may also want to try these Cracker recipes if you want to make your own to go with the cheese:
Grain-free crackers @ Elena's Pantry
Pumpkin seed crackers @ Life as a Plate


  1. Errrryyynnnn. Can I place an order for this next time I come to your house. LOOKS AMAZING. :)

  2. I have bookmarked this - I love that you've made cheese that is not full of things I can't pronounce or soy! I'm looking forward to trying it myself!

  3. You made the dish looks so delicious and pretty. I'm sure it tasts just as wonderfu. Thanks for sharing.



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