Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese Logs
We're often asked whether and what we actually cook for dinner since we already deal with food the whole day at work. In fact, the ambition to spend another hour at the stove is relatively low. The solution? Quick dishes, leftovers and, of course, the good old "Brotzeit" – a typical German dinner consisting of bread and a variety of spreads. As a child, this dish bored me at some point, and I would have preferred something warm. But nowadays, I totally understand the magic of an open-faced sandwich, even if it only comes with a thick layer of vegan cream cheese. Today, we'll show you three varieties of homemade cream cheese, and they're even shaped into beautiful cheese logs. And if you're confused right now about why I'm talking about bread when there's none seen in these photos – good job, Sherlock! The vegan cream cheese rolls are not only a great spread but also a fabulous centerpiece for a snack platter with crackers, dried fruit, nuts and fruit – as you can see in these photos.
The base of our homemade and rather firm plant-based cream cheese is cashews, which are blended with a few other ingredients to make a creamy paste. Depending on your blender, it's worth soaking the cashews in advance for at least a couple of hours or even overnight. Otherwise, you might have trouble processing them creamy. However, if you have a high-performance blender, it may even manage the preparation without any soaking time. The coconut oil firms up the logs in the fridge and the tofu also adds stability. After the mixture is formed into logs, you should refrigerate it again, preferably even overnight. The taste will be much more intense as the slightly sour flavors from the apple cider vinegar and plant-based yogurt develop after a few hours.
There's a lot of room for variation with this recipe. For one, you could customize the "cream cheese" by adding chopped herbs or even finely chopped jalapeños, scallions, tomatoes or bell pepper paste, to name a few ideas. On the other hand, you can also customize the toppings in which you roll the vegan cream cheese later. You could use finely diced smoked tofu for a hearty topping. Or how about an "Everything Bagel" version with toasted sesame, poppy seeds, salt, dried onion and garlic? Or maybe you're a fan of chives or want to try spice blends like za'atar. The cheese, uh, choice is yours.
Feel free to comment on your variations and whether the vegan cream cheese logs landed on your bread or crackers.
Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese Logs
For the vegan cream cheese:
- 225 g (8 oz) cashews
- 300 g (10.5 oz) tofu
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp plant-based yogurt
For the nut topping:
- approx. 50 g (1.75 oz) hazelnuts
- approx. 5 g (0.25 oz) parsley
- approx. 1 tbsp dried cranberries
For the herb topping:
- approx. 20 g (0.75 oz) fresh herbs of choice (e.g. parsley, chives or dill)
For the sesame topping:
- approx. 40 g (1.5 oz) light and dark sesame seeds
- vegan cracker
- dried cranberries
- lingonberry jam
Soak cashews in water, preferably overnight, so they become creamy when blended. If you only have a few hours to do this, give them as long as possible.
Add the soaked cashews, tofu, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and plant-based yogurt to a blender and puree until creamy. Add water if necessary until you reach the desired spreadable texture. Season the vegan cream cheese generously with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the vegan cream cheese into thirds and form each into thick rolls and wrap them in plastic wrap. It's best to refrigerate the "cream cheese" logs overnight or for at least 2 hours to firm them up.
Finely chop the ingredients for each topping (except sesame and salt) and spread each topping mixture on a large plate. Remove the vegan cream cheese logs from the foil and toss them in each topping until they're coated all around. Refrigerate again until serving.
Serve the vegan cream cheese logs with crackers, dried and fresh fruit, nuts, olives or other sides. Sealed airtight, the "cream cheese" will keep for several days in the fridge.