If you're looking for a nut-free vegan cheese that's soft, creamy, and perfect for pizza, lasagna, or a refreshing caprese salad, this oil-free tofu mozzarella is for you!
Before we get to the recipe, I have a little announcement to make.
This little ol' blog you're now reading is moving forward with a (hilarious, immature, easy to remember) new name. Please say hello to The Throbbing Eggplant!
*techno music pumping*
*eggplant wearing a glittery speedo,
*me, chugging cheap champagne and furiously petting a cat*
Ok, now that that part is out of the way, let's move on to this glorious tofu mozzarella.
Ah, cheese. The hardest animal product for 90%* of vegans (or people just trying to eat a more health-conscious diet) to give up.
*Not a fact-based statistic. Just me pulling a number out of my ass based on my experience and that of others.
Cheese is creamy and melty and just adds that extra somethin' to SO MANY meals. Pizza, enchiladas, nachos, lasagna...
Sure, you can use some packaged faux-cheese, but the ingredients are sometimes sketchy (I'm lookin' at you, carrageenan), the nutritional value is unimpressive, and, well, they're fucking expensive for the most part.
...and most of them aren't even that good.
Homemade vegan cheeses and cheesy sauces are where it's at.
This nut-free vegan tofu cheese was inspired by the magical cheese goddess Miyoko's buffalo mozzarella recipe published in the Fall 2012 issue of VegNews Magazine. I've been making it several times a year for almost ten years (!!!), tweaking it a bit more each time.
Now, since I've been trying to lose all the extra blubber that came along with trying to make a low-carb vegan diet work for for two painful years (that's a story for another day... and I'm finally back down to a healthy weight because carbs are life), I've been trying to cut out unnecessary calories where I can. I still love my nuts (I mean, not *my* nuts, but *eating* nuts), but if I can lower the calories and keep the nutrition up in a recipe without compromising flavor or texture, you bet your sweet ass I'm going to go for it.
So that's exactly what I did with this gloriously low-calorie nut-free vegan cheese right here.
(And if you need a healthified pizza crust to go with your tofu cheese, this easy oat flour pizza crust is perfect!)
Let's talk about the recipe!
- This tofu mozzarella recipe is oil-free and nut-free.
- It's inexpensive to make and the "specialty" ingredients can be found at Asian markets, health food stores, or on Amazon for a reasonable price.
- A high speed blender is not required. I use my favorite little $20 blender (affiliate link) to make this every time!
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here's a quick look at the ingredients you'll need to make your very own tofu mozzarella.
- extra firm silken tofu (the kind in the cardboard/aseptic package)
- canned coconut milk, for creaminess (you can't taste it!)
- tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
- lemon juice
- white or yellow miso
- apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- agar powder (see the FAQ below for more info on this ingredient)
First, blend the tofu, coconut milk, ¼ cup water, tapioca flour, lemon juice, miso, salt, and vinegar until smooth.
Next, combine the ½ cup cold water and agar powder and heat it until it's nice and thick.
Now whisk the tofu mixture into the agar mixture and stir, stir, stir! It will start to look chunky and gross, but keep stirring! It will turn smooth and glossy and thick.
After that, use a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to scoop up the mixture and drop it into an ice bath.
Finally, refrigerate the bowl o' balls until they're nice and firm (lolololol, why can't I be mature about this?), then use them wherever you'd use cheese.
I've really been loving it sliced and placed on top of whole grain sourdough with tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of salt and pepper, but if we're being honest, I usually just eat the cheese straight out of the fridge. It's that good.
Substitutions and Variations
I haven't made this recipe using any substitutions, but you are welcome to try. Here's what I think *might* work (but I'm not making any promises).
The coconut milk adds fat and makes the cheese creamy, but if you can't have coconut, another plant milk can be used (with less-creamy results).
Shaun actually put a few of the finished mozzarella balls in his Traeger smoker and they were... incredible. Next time I make these, I'll have him smoke a few and pay attention to the time and temperature so I can share that.
For a fun smoked mozzarella variation without a fancy smoker, you can add ½ teaspoon liquid smoke to the ingredients in your blender.
- When your agar mixture is thickened, be sure to whisk CONSTANTLY while pouring the tofu mixture in. If you stop before the mixture is fully combined, you can end up with gelatinous chunks in your cheese. It tastes fine, but totally messes up that creamy, smooth texture you're going for.
- While you're stirring the mixture and waiting for it to become thick and stretchy, it will look curdled and lumpy at some point. Don't freak out! This is normal. Just keep stirring.Eventually it will turn smooth and glossy.
Agar powder (also called agar-agar powder) is a vegan alternative to gelatin and is made out of algae/seaweed.
I've found Telephone brand agar powder at my local Asian market for around $2 a packet. You can also buy it on amazon.
Can I freeze tofu mozzarella?
I don't recommend freezing this. The texture changes A LOT. It loses the smooth creaminess and becomes spongy. However, it still tastes good, so you can freeze some if you made too much and don't want it to go to waste. Just know it will be a completely different cheese after freezing.
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out! Leave a rating and comment below, and share a picture on Instagram so I can drool all over my phone.
Michelle McClintock says
What does it actually taste like? Wouldn’t something be missing without nutritional yeast that’s supposed to give a cheese-like flavor?
Michelle McClintock says
I went through it too fast to notice that it DOES have nutritional yeast (sorry about that). But what does it taste like?
Amber Asakura says
Hi Michelle! It doesn't have nutritional yeast in it. I had tested it with nutritional yeast, but didn't like the flavor it added, so I removed it from the ingredients but forgot to take it out of the recipe steps. Sorry about that!
The mozzarella is creamy and slightly tangy from the lemon juice and vinegar, with a little bit of salty umami from the miso. I hope you'll try it and let me know what you think!