Before becoming vegan, fresh chèvre is what ignited my passion for cheese. That statement in and of itself is what got me my first job as a fromagier. Later on, my stepdaughter and I started experimenting with making our own chèvre, which we called "shoestring cheese," because we hung the cheesecloth full of curdled milk (Yuck!) with a shoestring. The whole concept of consuming milk from another species thoroughly grosses me out now, but when I became vegan, I really thought I was going to miss my goat cheese.
It's quite the opposite, in fact, and not only do I not miss it at all, but I don't really even remember what it tastes like. So many other wonderful tastes and flavors have come into my life since becoming vegan (so much more than I "gave up") that my tastebuds have replaced that memory. I'm fine with not remembering what it tastes like. When people say "This tastes nothing like 'the real thing'," I'm pretty thankful that it doesn't! I am constantly impressed at how the natural flavors of plant-based foods can stand alone and taste (in my opinion) far superior to anything that comes from an animal.
I actually created this "chèvre" in an attempt to mimic a tofu goat cheese at one of my favorite restaurants, Madaleine Bistro. They make a Red Beet Tartare, which sits atop a tofu "goat cheese" crouton (which is actually flat and about 3 inches in diameter). As I said before, other flavors have replaced old memories of how things taste, and this tofu "goat cheese" not only replaced, but surpassed all memories of the flavor of goat cheese. I once asked my waitress if I could have one the size of a birthday cake, and she told me to come back on my birthday. I winked (no, I didn't) and said "I'll be seeing you in July." Unfortunately, that waitress no longer works there and now I don't know what I'm going to do for a birthday cake.
My first trials of this chèvre were more crouton-like, but it has beautifully evolved to this final product which I'm very happy with. It works well in many applications (stay tuned for more recipes!) and tastes incredible on its own (It's okay for the chef to lick every one of her fingers clean, right?). It may not taste exactly like the "real thing," but I'm more than satisfied with my tofu chèvre .
- 1 package of extra firm tofu
- 1 1/2 T white miso
- 1 T olive oil
- 1/2 T tahini
- 1/2 T lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- At least 1 day ahead, you need to press your tofu. The less moisture, the better it will turn out. My preferred method is to lay a clean kitchen towel on a plate and place the tofu on the kitchen towel. Cover the tofu with another clean kitchen towel, place a heavy book or pan on top of that, and then place 2-3 14oz. cans on top of that. Refrigerate overnight.
- Once the tofu is sufficiently pressed, break it into pieces and place in the bowl of your food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until a smooth ball forms. If it isn't coming together, add olive oil by the 1/2 tsp. You will need to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl a few times to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
- Remove the tofu mixture and place it on a large piece of plastic wrap. Form it into a basic log shape, then wrap the plastic wrap around it. You can then roll the log and perfect its shape a little more. Place the log in the refrigerator and chill for at least 3-4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with lightly vegan non-stick spray (optional). Remove the log from the plastic wrap and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when the log is slightly tan on the outside, but still creamy. Place baking sheet on a cooling rack and let it cool. If not using immediately, store the log in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. It will last about 3 days. Enjoy!
Stay tuned for more recipes involving this delicious chèvre (UPDATED 5/9/12: recipes like this, this, or this!). It's time to replace some of those tastebud memories!
Photography by Kristy Turner
CJ at Food Stories
Never thought of tofu chevré before but I do know that tofu is very flexible. Glad you found something you like. When I was vegan, cheese was the hardest thing for me to cut out.
Thanks, CJ! We just used the last of the chevré and I'm finding myself craving it! It's a great replacement and it's so much healthier for you as well.
Your tofu chevré looks absolutely beautiful! I can't wait to try this one. We don't do it that often, but my husband and I enjoy having a dinner of nibbles with a variety of finger foods. This would fit wonderfully.
I agree that when I'm eating plant-based cheeses or meats, I don't need or want them to taste exactly like the animal-based version. It can be handy as a frame of reference to say, oh, this is chicken-style seitan or apple sage sausages since it gives people an idea of the style of food or what spices or flavors might pair with it. I enjoy all kinds of plant-based foods, and it's not because they're perfectly mimicking animal-based foods. I like them because of what they bring on their own.
I'm sure you could find many other amazing things at Madeleine Bistro once your birthday comes around! They had talked for a while about changing locations. Do you know if there's been any movement on that? And hey, I'm a July baby too! Are you a Cancer or a Leo?
The chevre would be perfect for a plate of nibbles! It would be great, spread on a little crostini. Mmmm...
I am never disappointed at Madaleine Bistro. I don't know that they are still talking about changing locations, but they are in the early planning stages of opening an ice cream shop. They gave us free samples of various ice creams the last time we were there- 2 were homeruns, the other 2 still need work (in case you were wondering).
Why am I not surprised that we were born the same month? 😉 I am a cancer (7/1). How about you?
Chèvre and crostini? Absolutely yes. It's a plan.
That's interesting that they're thinking of adding an ice cream shop. They're in such a strange area. It would seem like moving to an area that gets more foot traffic would be a boon to business, especially for an ice cream shop.
The first is a good day for me too! That's my wedding anniversary. I'm a Leo. July 26th.
I think there was mention of the ice cream shop being in Westwood, but I do agree- Tarzana is a weird location for their restaurant, and they're only open for dinner on Saturday/Sunday, and brunch on Sunday. They must do a lot of catering because I really don't know how it stays open (I am sooo glad it does, though!).
What a coinkydink! And our anniversary is a week later, on the 7th. Crazy, crazy, crazy world! 🙂
I'm dying to try this. I used to love chevre and I would be thrilled to find a substitute!
Oh, I'm so glad! It's so yummy! If you try it, let me know how it goes! 🙂
Lisa is Raw on $10 a Day (or Less)
This looks great, and sounds pretty easy to make, too!
Thank you, Lisa!
Wow - can't believe you were able to create a vegan version of goat cheese. Fascinating. I have not gone 100% dairy free but have basically eliminated all cheese products from my diet and really am excited to try this recipe !
Oh Vicky, I'm so glad! Please, let me know how it goes! 🙂
Love that crumbly texture. i have a similar taste process too.. i dislike some of the non vegan tastes now. i'd rather make it taste fresher, and tastier and just similar enough to not make much of difference to others.
This looks perfect!
I am having an auction fundraiser for an amazing cause. do drop by if you have a minute!:) thanks
Thank you so much, Richa! I will definitely check out the fundraiser too! 🙂
Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake
This sounds delicious! I would love to try some, I know I could go without cheese if it was replaced by deliciousness like this!
You're so sweet! Thank you, Amy!
despite the fact that I am not vegan I cannot wait to try this recipe! thanks for sharing it!
I hope you like it! Thanks!
Looks great!! I usually make almond feta....love that so I can't wait to try this....
My bday is july 6...I knew there was a reason I liked ya 🙂
Mine is the 1st! Cancers rule!
What almond feta recipe do you use?
this one...My first taste was on Seabirds Truck (you know the Vegan food truck in So. Cal that was on the food truck race on tv... so I looked for recipes.. and this is good!
Thank you! Now I have 2 things to try: Almond Feta and the Seabirds Truck. I feel like Seabirds is one of those LA vegan things you need to try, right up there with Flore or Madaleine Bistro, but we've never ended up in the same place at the same time. I need to track them down!
I love Seabirds luckily they are usually close to my work or home ...that's where I discovered jackfruit tacos!!
I have yet to go to Flore or Madaleine Bistro....its a drive for me...
I go to LA to eat at street tho! I've always loved Susan Feigner... and now she's got great Vegan options 🙂 if gas we're cheaper and weekends were longer haha
I haven't eaten at Street yet, either, but I've heard the vegan options are great!
Oh my ... I tried this and it was sooo good. No wait.. it was the greatest fantabulous awesomeness that I ever conjure in my kitchen. And I'm not even a vegan, or a vegetarian even(am on my way tho, 90 percent there)! Ever since we moved to Indonesia, exotic cheeses like goat cheese has become an unaffordable luxury. But tofu is a dime a dozen over here. So I thought maybe I'd try to look for tofu-based "cheese" recipe online, and found yours. Oh Lordy... I am seriously considering a drastic change to adopting vegan lifestyle after a bite of these! I substituted tahini with mirin, and white miso with tauco (miso's chunkier, browner cousin, easily found at local traditional markets here), and it still tasted out of this world. I owe you my life for opening the door to such dining ecstasy.
Oh my goodness! What a wonderful message to wake up to find! Felicia, you have just made my day! I am so glad you liked the tofu chevre and I'm even happier you took the time to let me know that you liked it. You are just so sweet, Felicia!
Used it on my pesto toast, eggplant gratin, and as paneer substitute in palak / saag paneer. All turned out great!
Eggplant gratin?!?! Can I come over for dinner? Yum! 🙂
Hop on your kayak and come on over! We'll have the eggplant gratin with your fabulous chevre ready for you. Cya at dinner!
My goodness, this recipe is amazing! In fact, I make it quite a lot since discovering it a month or two ago.
Here is a link to my post about it: http://veganatalye.tumblr.com/post/26136939244/tofu-chevre
Thanks for posting this; I can't wait to try out some of your other recipes (my boyfriend and I have been drooling over a few of them).
Oh my gosh! I am so flattered! This totally makes it all worthwhile, Natalye. 🙂
Does the T stand for teaspoon or tablespoon?
Sorry- I always use 'T' for tablespoon and 'tsp' for teaspoon.
Oh, the power of tofu! This vegan chevre looks amazing! I can't wait to try the recipe 🙂
Thanks, Ria! It's one of my favorites- I make it about once a month. 🙂
I made it today and could not resist the temptation, I ate it warm and straight from the oven, it was like eating a cheese soufflé!! : )
Wow! Thank you so much! I'm so pleased that you liked it! 🙂
this recipe is sooooo good. can't wait to make more thanks for the recipe
Love this. Thank you!!!
Has anyone tried freezing the tofu chevre? I really want to try this- but if it only stays good for 3 days in the fridge I'm scared I will waste a ton of it. Thanks!!
I have not tried freezing it, but I've kept it for longer than 3 days before. I've kept it up to 5 days, but it rarely lasts that long. One recipe doesn't make a ton so if you add it to sandwiches or top some salads with it, you'll probably go through it pretty quickly too. 🙂
i'm going to try making this today. can't wait.
but when you say '1 pkg' of tofu, what does that mean? how many ounce package?
Sorry about that- it's one 12 to 14 ounce package of extra-firm tofu.
I am always a little suspicious with vegan imitations of non vegan food, but this recipe is a great exception of mock goat cheese! The taste and texture are very interesting, if a little too salted compaired to the real thing. So delicious in a beets salad and over spaghetti squash!
The recipe makes a huge quantity, so I will have to try freezing some.
This is amazing! It's so nice to find a vegan cheese that's not made form nuts- nuts are a little too pricey for me! This just makes me love tofu more and more. Next time I might try adding dried herbs. Just had this for lunch on a grilled sandwich with tomato and fresh basil - perfection!
Thanks so much.
Hi Kristy! I tried making this from the recipe in your book, and I'm not sure it turned out the way it's supposed to. All I can taste is tofu. I haven't had dairy cheese in 5 years so I'm not comparing it to goat cheese, it just tastes like tofu! In the food processor, it never became a "ball" but smooth, almost whipped. I added more olive oil but it didn't help. Comparing what mine looks like to the photos here, I think mine is far creamier, while yours looks like it could crumble like goat cheese. Do you know what went wrong? Is there something I should've added more of to keep it from only tasting like tofu?
Thank you for your guidance!
Hi Shannon, I'm sorry that the recipe didn't turn out as planned. Do you think that the tofu was pressed enough? That's the only thing I can think of. Did you refrigerate until cold after baking it?
I'm also not sure about the tofu taste. There is a little bit of a tofu taste because it is tofu, but the lemon juice and miso tend to help the flavor out a lot. I wish I could be of more help!
Thanks for getting back to me! I pressed the tofu for two hours, and it seemed dry when I crumbled it. It's been chilling for two days, and while it still tastes like puréed tofu, the texture has improved a bit, so that's a good sign. Maybe I just needed to use a little more miso, it's definitely missing some tang. I might bake part of it for a little longer and see if that helps dry it out any. I have big plans for your roasted corn quesadillas, so I'm not giving up on it yet!
Many thanks for helping me try to problem solve, I really appreciate it.
Yeah, I would add more miso or other flavor enhancers (herbs or spices) to help mask the flavor of the tofu, if it's too strong for you. You can definitely use the creamy tofu in the quesadillas and be fine, though. 🙂 Enjoy!
Had to come back and say the quesadillas were perfect! They tasted great, and the cheese seems to be tasting better the longer it sits. Thanks for your help (and delightful recipes)!
I had the same problem where it would become a ball no matter how much oil I put it. However came out super creamy and delicious with no overpowering tofu taste. It's in the fridge now and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed 🤞🏼
*not become a ball
Hi! I'm gonna try this for new years and was wondering, how much tofu is in 1 package of extra firm tofu? (I'm writing from Sweden and I'm guessing we don't have the same standard packages 🙂 )
It's 12 ounces, I believe, though I'm not certain and I don't have access to a package at the moment.
I make this all the time from your cookbook and it's always a crowd pleaser. I usually add a bit more miso and lemon juice to make some of the tofu taste. For New Years, I had a vegan meat a cheese party, where this was the center of the meal. Topped it with some olive oil and capers. Yum!
I cannot get over how absolutely delicious this is! Straight from the oven on some sourdough bread....oh my!! I would recommend tasting the batter before baking to adjust to your level of sour...I wanted it a bit more biting so added more lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes to give a more cheesy taste...it is so creamy...I cannot stop eating it on everything! Try it dotted on cauliflower pizza crust with a little garlic and tomato..almost lost my mind 🙂 THANK YOU!
I originally found this recipe in your cookbook (which I’m really excited about, by the way!), but ran into a bit of a snag. When you say “process” do you mean pulsing? Because after about 10 seconds of letting it run I just had a smooth paste, which I’m not sure was right. I tried adding oil as directed, but it just became a smoother paste. Got tips as to what went wrong? Many thanks!
Sorry for the delayed response on this. 10 seconds may've been too long, but it's still salvageable. It's just a matter of shaping the smooth paste into the right shape for baking.
No worries, and many thanks! Been on a sourdough kick lately, and this sounds like it would go with that really well.
I'm so glad I found this recipe. I am trying to go vegan (for my health) but I am also not ingesting oil (for heart reasons). Do you think I could make it without the oil. I'm okay with it being crumbly.