LET’S MAKE MAGICAL MOZZARELLA CHEESE, VEGAN OF COURSE!
Easy Caprese Salad with Cashew Buffalo Mozzarella and Broccoli Pesto Recipe Revealed! Today’s #LunchBreakLIVE guest chef Linda Soper-Kolton, Director of Culinary Arts, Compassionate Cuisine Catskill Animal Sanctuary, creates this Summertime favorite, made with fresh, juicy tomatoes and layered with pesto and thick slices of creamy plant-based Buffalo Mozzarella…wait what? You’re vegan and you thought you had to give up this summer favorite because you don’t eat cheese? Well then, you should continue reading because Chef Linda shows how to make the easiest, creamiest Buffalo Mozzarella ever so you can enjoy this salad all season long!
ALWAYS FUN IN THE VEGAN KITCHEN
Linda Soper-Kolton came to Catskill Animal Sanctuary in 2012 as a guest chef, intending to teach Compassionate Cuisine cooking classes for a season and then return to her vegetarian and vegan café in Fairfield, Connecticut. Lured by the magic of the sanctuary and the urgency of the mission, Linda stayed to lead and grow the culinary program, inspiring and educating with love, patience, and delicious food. Six years later, she continues to cook, teach, write, and kiss pigs.
Unlike many chefs, Linda did not grow up at the knee of a family matriarch in the kitchen. Instead, her early memories of mealtime included mashed potatoes made with milk powder and potato flakes, Friday’s clean-out-the-fridge “spaghetti surprise,” and a lot of liver. Linda learned to cook out of sheer necessity. In the humble kitchen of her first apartment, Linda spent nights baking, roasting, and simmering for roommates, co-workers, and anyone else she could find. With “food is love” as her mantra, cooking and feeding became her way of nurturing and connecting with others.
In midlife, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a chef when she graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute chef’s training program. Combining her chef’s training with certification as a holistic health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and certification in plant-based nutrition from the Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell, Linda is driven to love and influence others through compassionate, plant-based eating. When she’s not in the kitchen creating, she’s probably looking for her glasses.
YES, YOU CAN MAKE VEGAN MOUTH-WATERING BUFFALO MOZZARELLA CHEESE
Being vegan doesn’t mean you can no longer have cheese. Cashews are one of the magical ingredients in making vegan cheese and are also used for making vegan Buffalo Mozzarella. Cashews can be made into a creamy base, making them the perfect ingredient for cheese. In the above video, Linda showed us how to make this delectable cheese which she then uses to make a delicious Caprese Salad which is perfect for the hot summer months. This dish would make a beautiful appetizer for a summer evening in the garden for dinner, or bring it to a party and impress all your friends. Either way, the dish is sure to be a big hit!
Vegan Buffalo Mozzarella
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water for about an hour
- ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil melted
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon mellow/white miso
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more for brine
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon agar powder
- Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with about 50% cold water and 50% ice and a few good pinches of salt. Set aside.
- Drain cashews and discard water. Place the cashews, milk, coconut oil, tapioca starch, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt to a blender or food processor. Blend on high for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is completely smooth (a food processor may take a little longer than a blender). Set aside.
- Add the water to a small pot on low-medium heat. Whisk in the agar powder. Continue to whisk well for 2 to 3 minutes until the agar and water become thick and gel-like. Transfer the cashew mixture from the blender to the pot with the agar and stir well. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously with a spatula. The mixture will become very thick and somewhat stretchy and start to pull away from the side of the pot and form a ball as it cooks. Remove from heat.
- Carefully, use the desired size ice cream scoop or spoon to portion the mixture into balls and place in the ice water. Cover and place the bowl in the fridge for several hours. Serve chilled in slices or in your favorite recipe.
Special Ingredients: Agar powder can be purchased online or occasionally found in health stores
ALWAYS A TREAT WITH CHEF LINDA
What an awesome episode of #LunchBreakLIVE! I am so excited to make me some Buffalo Mozzarella! My pre-vegan years were cheese-loving years…and guess what…my vegan years are following suit! It’s easy to eat cheese as a vegan. The stores have so many options for delicious vegan cheeses, or you can make your own at home as Linda showed us. So give it a try! If you are looking for more easy vegan recipes to cook up, be sure to stop by the #LunchBreakLIVE page, where we have a ton to choose from. Until next time…keep cookin’!