This baked vegan "goat cheese" with spiced cranberry spread is essentially this recipe all dressed up in a fancy holiday outfit.
During my vegetarian days, whenever someone would ask me if I'd considered going vegan, I'd quickly retort that I could never be vegan because I loved cheese too much. My oh my, how time changes us and opens our minds to new possibilities. Like the
possibility reality that vegan cheese is delicious and so, well, cheese-like. From stretchy to creamy to spreadable to melt-able, non-dairy cheese delivers. My vegetarian self is off cringing in a moment of cheese-indulgence past, but let her cringe and bring on the vegan cheese.
For this recipe, I took my previous cheese recipe, stripped away the garlic and herbs, added in a bit more tang, and baked it. The result is a tangy, spreadable or even slice-able (if you bake it long enough), creamy cheese that will make you feel all fancy at your holiday parties. Soaking and baking time aside, this cheese is super simple to prepare. Seriously! It's as simple as adding a short list of ingredients to your food processor, processing for a few minutes, and turning the cheese out into a baking dish.
Then, you'll bake the cheese at a low temperature for anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on how firm you want it to be. The cheese in the photos was baked for the full 2 hours, so it's on the firmer side, yet still spreadable.
If the spiced cranberry sauce is giving you déjà vu, it's probably because you saw it in this recipe just last week. It, too, is incredibly simple to make requiring just a casual-cool toss of ingredients into a pan, 15-20 minutes of simmering and the occasional stir, and a swift transfer into a cutesy mason jar. The sweet, tangy flavor of the cranberry sauce balances the richness of the cheese and adds holiday flare.
This is a straightforward and undeniably tasty solution to those holiday cheese cravings. Go get your cheese on.
Baked Vegan "Goat Cheese" with Spiced Cranberry Spread
For the Baked Goat Cheese
- 1 ½ cup raw cashews
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
For the Spiced Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Sliced baguette
- Seeded crackers
- Pita chips
To Make the Baked Goat Cheese
- Soak the cashews for at least two hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 225F.
- Add the soaked cashews, apple cider vinegar (adjust amount to desired level of tang), lemon juice, olive oil, water, and sea salt to a food processor. Pulse a few times and then process for 4-5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Transfer the cheese to a 6-inch cast iron skillet or small oven-safe baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 45 minutes for a softer cheese and for up to 2 hours for a firmer, slice-able cheese. The cheese in the photographs was baked for 2 hours.
- Serve alongside the spiced cranberry sauce.
To Make the Spiced Cranberry Sauce
- Add the cranberries, maple syrup, water, cinnamon, and cardamom to a large sauce pan. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the cranberries have burst and broken down into a chunky sauce, stirring occasionally.
- Let cool and transfer to a glass jar.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.