Take your dairy free cheese to the next level with this fermented vegan walnut thyme cheese.
You've heard me talk about how fabulous fermented foods are with my easy 5-step, 2-ingredients sauerkraut, but did you know that there's a much bigger world of fermented foods beyond kraut? You're probably aware that yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha are in this family, but it actually goes much beyond these items. You can even ferment nuts like in today's recipe for vegan walnut thyme cheese.
I have to admit that I didn't know that you could ferment dairy free cheese. Luckily for me I found Michelle Schoffro Cook who knows quite a bit about fermenting. Michelle is a board-certified doctor, herbalist and author of the new book, The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life. How can you read that title, and not want to check it out?!
Cook covers everything from dairy free yogurt, vegan cheese, and cultured vegetables to fruit cultures, homemade vinegar, and ice cream. Everything in her book is gluten free, dairy free, and vegan.
Fermenting helps make food more nutritious by making the ingredients more bioavailable and easily absorbed. Fermenting can also help increase the good bacteria in your gut, and since 70% of our immune system resides in the gut, you want to keep the gut happy. A happy gut leads to a happy immune system and overall better health.
Then there's the simple part about making your stomach happy with tasty food like this fermented vegan walnut thyme cheese. Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which you want for good brain health, mood stabilization and keeping inflammation low and the immune system balanced. There's also magnesium, potassium, and vitamins b6 and E in walnuts, so eat up.
I love the nutty taste of this vegan cheese. I think the fermentation adds a nice tang, and the overall flavor is savory and delicious.
This dairy-free cheese takes minutes of hands-on prep time, and then just some solo sit time to ferment. So add some new fermented foods to your diet for great health benefits and wonderful new tastes!
Fermented Vegan Walnut Thyme Cheese
Reprinted with Permission from The Cultured Cook by Michelle Schoffro Cook
Makes 1 small block
- 1 cup raw, unsalted walnuts
- ¼ cup filtered water
- 2 capsules probiotics or ½ teaspoon probiotic powder
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Three 2-inch sprigs fresh thyme, plus a few more for garnish (optional)
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- ½ cup coconut oil
- In a small glass or ceramic bowl, combine the walnuts and water. Empty the contents of the probiotic capsules (discarding the empty capsule shells) or the probiotic powder into the bowl, and stir to combine. Cover and let sit in a warm, undisturbed spot for two days.
- In a small frying pan over low to medium heat, sauté the olive oil and thyme until the sprigs are lightly crisped (about 3 to 5 minutes). Remove from the heat. Once cool, pull the thyme leaves off the sprigs, and sprinkle them across the base of a small glass dish.
- Pour the walnut mixture into a blender, add the salt and coconut oil, and blend until it is completely smooth; pour it into the glass dish coated in thyme leaves. Refrigerate, uncovered, until it is set (about four hours). Gently remove the cheese from the glass bowl, and serve upside down so the thyme leaves are on the top of the cheese. Garnish with thyme sprigs if desired. It keeps in the refrigerator, covered, for about one month.
I was given a copy of The Cultured Cook for review, but all of my opinions are my own.