"This tastes just like real goat cheese!" That's what my guests said when I served these fried goat cheese balls. All of them thought it was real cheese. So YES it is possible to veganize (does this word even exist?) everything, even cheese! Did you check out my Vegan Aged Camembert by the way?
Crispy on the outside, and soft, melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. PURE deliciousness.
I won't tell you that you can make these in no time because it's not the case. Making the cheese mixture takes about 3 days because it needs to ferment, that's what gives it this wonderful flavor that is so similar to goat cheese.
I have a confession to make, I'm not a fan of store-bought vegan cheese. Except a few brands, most of them are made with a million ingredients and almost always have "cheese flavor" in the list. That sounds fake to me and heavily processed.
The cheese here is made with only THREE ingredients: raw cashews, probiotics and a pinch of salt. THAT'S IT.
This recipe is really easy to make, you just soak the cashews overnight, and add them to your food processor with the probiotics and some water. Process and let ferment at room temperature for about one day. Place in the fridge for another day to let the mixture firm up a little bit and you are ready to make balls!
If you don't have probiotics, you can replace the water with some rejuvelac, the result will be approximately the same.
I advise you fry them just before serving, they will be crispier and the cheese inside will be very soft.
Serve these with a salad, some fresh cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar and you have a super decadent and hearty appetizer. Dressed to impress kind-of salad.
Feel free to let me know if you try this recipe and if you liked it!
Vegan Fried Goat Cheese Balls
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 4 capsules vegan probiotics Acidophilus
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon water
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- canola oil
- Soak the cashews in filtered water overnight.
- Drain the cashews, rinse them and place in the bowl of your food processor.
- Open the probiotic capsules and add the powder to the bowl.
- Add 3 tablespoon of water, salt and process for about 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides from time to time,
- The mixture should be smooth but really thick. If needed, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until smooth. Do not add too much water, you want to use as least as possible or you won't be able to form balls later.
- Transfer the mixture to a clean container, cover and let sit at room temperature for about one day to let it ferment.
- After one day, taste it to see if it's sharp enough for your taste and place in the fridge for another day. This step will make the cheese mixture firmer.
- Place the breadcrumbs in a large plate.
- Prepare the cheese balls by taking about ¼ cup of the cheese mixture with slightly wet hands, form balls. The cheese mixture will be softer at room temperature, I recommend you put it back in the fridge if it becomes too soft to make balls.
- Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs, tapping off excess breadcrumbs. Place the cheese balls on a plate.
- Heat about 3 inches of oil to 350°F in a deep pot. Set a large plate topped with some paper towels on the side.
- Using a spoon, lower a few cheese balls into the oil. Work in small batches (3-4 at a time).
- Remove from oil after about 1 minute, or until golden brown. Place the balls on the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining cheese balls.
- Serve warm with salad, rice, quinoa, etc.
The longer you let the cheese mixture in the fridge, the sharper and stronger the taste.
You can keep the cheese mixture in your fridge for easily one week, it will firm up a little bit more and it will be even easier to make balls.
These look amazing. I love cashew spread and these look perfect. Can't wait to try them soon. A quick question , can probiotic or rejeunelac be skipped completely. Does it aid fermentation ? Thank you . Pinning it .
Yes, probiotics/rejuvelac are really important for the fermentation, they add a nice tangy/sour flavor that is really similar to real fresh goat cheese. Without it the cashew mixture will not ferment.
Maybe you could try to add some lemon juice and a pinch of garlic powder, you won't get the exact same flavor but I think that would be pretty tasty.
I hope this helps!
What about vinegar?
It will add some tanginess, but won't yield the same flavor as the natural fermentation.
Wow! This looks great. I'm thinking this could be a good base for a vegan mozzarella-like the real kind they keep in water. Any thoughts on going about that?
I think that would work! Unfortunately it would not melt on pizza 😉
Let me know if you try it!
Unless Thomas has a recipe in the works, I can direct you to two fabulous Mozz recipes that are nice and melty.
I do not have a recipe for mozzarella in the works at this time 🙂
Hi Kourtnie could you send me the recipe for the mozzarella please.
I would love a mozzarella recipe as well!
i would be grateful for the mozz recipe as well. it's one of my favourite cheeses and one of the few things I miss since going plant based... many thanks in advance!
Could you please give me the information or links for the mozzarella recipes? I would greatly appreciate it!
Hi Thomas! I LOVE making vegan cheese with probiotics! Thanks for this awesome recipe 🙂
Thanks! I agree, probiotics really make tasty vegan cheeses! It's also easier than making your own rejuvelac.
Thank you for the recipes that you share!
Did you feel a real difference in cheeses made with probiotics vs rejuvelac ? Which one tastes more like "cheese" ?
Both have a slightly different taste but overall the results are very similar. I prefer to use probiotics because it's easier than making rejuvelac that can take a few days.
Just discovered your blog (found the Camembert on Pinterest and now I'm tumbling down the rabbit hole)- oh my goodness I'm already hooked. These look wonderful! Plus they only take days, not weeks- suits my patience level better haha.
As a side note, my husband is quite allergic to nuts (including cashews) but I've had excellent success trading cashews for unsalted raw sunflower seeds. They need soaking, but I've generally been able to make a direct volume swap previously- just in case you or any of your readers want to experiment. As soon as I hunt down some probiotic I'll be trying a batch of my own!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes.
Thanks for the tip! I never tried with other nuts but using sunflower seeds is a great idea, I will try to get my hands on some to test it.
Glad to hear you like the recipe!
Holy moly this was good! I used about half of the batch to make the fried balls and I used panko because I didn't have any breadcrumbs on hand and they turned out great. I used the other half of the batch and put it in the smoker for about a half hour and it turned out amazing. It got devoured in seconds by a group of non-vegans. Thanks for the recipe!
I'm really glad you liked them! I agree it makes a lot of cheese balls, but they keep really well in the refrigerator (without the breadcrumbs).
The smoker is a great idea by the way, I'm sure it adds even more flavor!
Thank you so much for the feedback! 😉
I AM SO DAMN PUMPED TO TRY THESE
Okay just made these.
Another perfect winning recipe.
You are a star - thank you!
Thanks for your feedback James! I'm so glad you liked them!
This looks really good and I can't wait to try ! I have acidophillus powder in a bottle, not in capsules. Do you happen to know how many mL or grams or oz does one capsule amount to ?
I measured 4 capsules and it equals about 1/2 a teaspoon full. Hope this helps you. My cashews are soaking. Going with this recipe first since it's less involved than the camembert or blue.
Many thanks ! It is much appreciated ! Good luck with your recipe 🙂
Hi Erika, I would replace the capsules with 3/4 teaspoon acidophilus powder (3ml).
Would baking work with these? Sometimes I pretend like frying foods is bad and look for alternatives to appease my conscience. My cashews are fermenting away as I type and I am excited to try these baked or fried.
I have also ordered the cultures for your Camembert and Bleu recipes and can't wait to get those going. Thank you so much for these amazing recipes!
I never tried baking them, but I don't think it would be as tasty as fried. Frying the cheese balls make them very crispy on the outside, I doubt you will get that texture with baking.
I don't make fried foods very often either, but once in a while it won't do you any harm 🙂
If you dont have an air fryer nows the time to splurge of you can. This is the best method for fried food and not feeling guilty about it. Amazon sells them. You could also check your local store maybe. But trying it this way youll never need to use oil again.
ok, mixture in the fridge and feeling super excited. Also can not wait to do the blue cheese one as soon as I can get my hands on some penicillin. Your recipes are really fresh and exciting for a vegetarian transitioning to veganism. Thanks a lot.
Thanks for the kind words Dana!
Hi there! Do you think I could substitute the cashews for walnuts? It may give it a more "earthier" taste but still stays true to the tart flavor. Feedback or thoughts? I guess I could just give it a go and see what pans out. Thank you for this recipe. I am very excited to give it a try.
I never tried but I doubt it would work well with walnuts unfortunately, taste and texture wise.
That looks amazing! One of my favorite vegetarian meals involves sweet potato noodles with fried sage topped with little gobs of goat cheese. Do you think the unfried cheese would make a good vegan substitute here? Or is the cooking integral to the taste?
Thanks! Sure you don't have to fry them, just make smaller pieces to top your noodles. Be aware it won't melt as much as real cheese.
By the way, it can take up to 48h to get a sharp taste in the winter, taste it to check if it's tangy enough after 24h, the texture should also be airy because of the fermentation.
Thomas, I too love your excellent recipes. I am brand new to veganism but a lifelong serious home cook and I so appreciate the complexity of your thinking about food. There are many very good vegan recipes out there but so far the ones I am finding tend to involve a fairly straightforward combining of flavors. This can make for delicious dishes, no doubt, but I have missed a sense of richness, flavors developing over time. That is what I have found with your recipes. Thank you for that!
And now for my question! I have just made my first batch of goat cheese balls, following the recipe at exactly. The mixture matured at room temperature for 24 hours and then in the fridge for 4 days--it seemed to take that long for the flavor to develop. I made the balls last night and while tasty they were in texture and color more like falafel. In your photos, the interior looks creamy and pale. Any advice on how to get closer to the texture you seem to have achieved?
Thanks for your kind words!
It all depends on the room temperature, in the spring/summer the cashew cream can ferment in 12-16 hours while it can take up to 48h in winter. Taste it from time to time until it tastes like fresh cheese and has a nice acidity. Flavors will develop a bit in the fridge, but not that much, the main flavor really develops at room temperature (I would say 65-70°F).
Yes the interior should be very pale, did you use raw cashews? I would also recommend covering the cashew cream with a clean towel so it doesn't dry out too much in contact with the air. Was the cashew cream at least pale in color before frying?
Regarding the texture, I think it's because you didn't blend it enough. If you don't have a very powerful food processor I would recommend using a blender and scraping the sides regularly until you get a thick and very smooth consistency. I hope this helps, and good luck for your next batch!
Thomas--I think you have nailed the problem--not quite a creamy enough to start with. Will get started on my next batch!
Thanks again, AY
I really wanted to love this but it just tasted like cashews. I left it out for 2 days with probiotic but the flavour didn't seem to change. What did I do wrong? Maybe the probiotic were too old?
Something definitely went wrong, it should not taste like cashews. The flavour should change and taste like fresh cheese with a tangy taste. I would recommend trying again with other probiotics, I hope it will work for you next time!
Hello, excited to try These, thank you. Do you think I Could I use the liquid from fermented vegetables as long as the flavours were fairly plain (no garlic ect) ?
I mean as a replacement to the probiotics?
Yes you can, like sauerkraut juice for example. Be aware it might change the flavor a bit.
Thank you, can't wait to try.
Leah The Vegan
Hi! I'm so excited to find your page, all your recipes look wonderful. Two questions: One, since I have probiotic powder - how much should I use in this recipe? Two, if I purchase the Roquefort bacteria for the Camembert cheese - are there any other recipes I can use that in? Thank you for the recipes and for being a super awesome vegan!!
I would recommend using a heaping 1/8 tsp, if after 48h your cashew cream is still not lemony, add some more.
Hope this helps!
This looks great! I have some Mesophilic culture that I used for your vegan camembert 9http://www.thecheesemaker.com/mesophilic-starter-series-md-88-89/). Can this be subbed in for the acidophilus?
Definitely! Use about 1/16 tsp of mesophilic and it should work 😉
Hi! Thanks for your recipes! I tried this recipe this weekend and ended up with light red spots on top of the cashew mixture after fermenting at room temperature. I'm wondering if you'd know what it might be and it's salvageable. Thanks so much!
If I only have children's probiotic capsules is the amount of 4 still the same? Also, if using sauerkraut juice or other fermented vegetable juice, what is the correct amount to add? Thanks a lot.
The capsules I'm using contain 500M microorganisms (acidophilus), so if yours contain less than that you should use a bit more. I always used 4 capsules but I'm almost sure it would work with less.
Regarding the fermented juices, just replace the 4 tbsp water with the sauerkraut juice or rejuvelac. I had the chance to try with quinoa rejuvelac and it worked, so I guess it will work with sauerkraut juice too. Good luck!
Nina Fernandez Bru
Are you referring to 500million?
I'm considering buying the acidophilus and I can buy them in capsules, but they have 4 billion organisms per capsule. Can you advise how much I should use? Do you think I can use 1 capsule of 4 billion? And will this result in different taste profile?
PS. After waiting for 2 weeks, today I'm finally going to smoke the Hickory cheese. I'm smoking it in our BBQ Super excited! On the other side, I'm soaking the cashews to start making Camembert for the first time.
As soon as they're picture worthy I will place them on your Instagram!
Yes, I'm referring to the 500M microorganisms. Depending on the brand of probiotics, it's very hard to tell what will work and what won't.
For your case, 1 capsule will be more than enough.
Hope you will like the Hickory Smoked Cheese!
Hi Thomas, I like your recipes ! But I'm the type that likes to use rejuvelac versus probiotic capsules. Could you give directions how to do that. In some recipes you hardly use any fluids, so I guess that woud be difficult as a substitute.
This is an awesome recipe! The second time I wanted to avoid oil and wheat, so I coated the balls with crumbed macadamia nuts and herbs and cooked them in the oven. They came out delicious. Thank you, Thomas, for all your creative and inspiring experiments!
Macadamia breadcrumbs sound great! Thanks for your feedback Lina!
I’d love to make these. I’m wondering if either the finished product would freeze week and then be warmed up in the oven. Christmas is coming and it would be great to cook them ahead?
I have never tried freezing it but if you do I would recommend freezing the balls without the breadcrumbs, then thaw in the refrigerator overnight and coat with breadcrumbs just before frying. I doubt freezing the balls after frying would give good results.
Hi Thomas and thank you for your delightful recipes! I am wondering in part 6 of making the goat cheese, do you cover it with something like cheese cloth or with a solid cover? Thanks!
You can cover it with plastic film to touch, or a damp clean cheese cloth.
Hello Thomas! I made this cheese, but used it to make my own ravioli and wow was it amazing! My boyfriend said it was restaurant quality. I made my dough, stuffed with the goat cheese as well as sauteed mushrooms and onions with some fresh herbs and then I froze the ravioli for a few days. When I cooked it tonight (straight from freezer), the cheese was so creamy inside and had a wonderful, sharp flavor. Your cheese freezes very well! Thanks for an awesome recipe.
Hey Sarah, thank you for sharing your recipe! Homemade ravioli with cashew cheese and mushrooms sound delicious! 🙂 Glad to hear you liked the cultured cashew cream!
I love this recipe! Worked great. The result I got were yummy, but I think my kitchen was too cool as I didn’t get the tanginess I had hoped for and think the cashews just didn’t ferment enough. I’m going to try again today and see if I can keep it a little warmer so that it ferments more.
Great! Glad to hear you liked it! 🙂
If your kitchen is not hot enough, you can just let it ferment longer (48-72H). The longer it ferments, the tangier it gets.
Thank you! I think you are absolutely right. It needed to ferment longer. I knew that when I stuck it in the fridge, but I was too excited to stop myself...lol. I have the ingredients coming for the butter and the Bleu cheese this week. I can’t wait to try that too!
I’m curious, have you ever fermented chickpeas and used them as the base for cheese?
I never tried with chickpeas but I doubt the result would be satisfying as they don't contain as much fat as nuts. That would probably make it a bit dry, but I could be wrong, it's always worth testing!
These are so good! I just fried up 3 and put them in a salad. I’m completely amazed. I was skeptical since vegan cheese is... well you know. Usually terrible. I wonder if freezing them before deep frying would work. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe!
Happy to hear you liked the cheese Jackie 🙂 Regarding the freezing option, I never tried but I think it should work.
Thanks for the rating!
I am very excited to have found your site and look forward to trying this recipe and many more. While my cashews are soaking, I was wondering can you substitute rejuvilac in this and other of your cheese recipes? Are the probiotics capsules in the health food stores the same as what you mention in these recipes? How long is the maximum time for nuts to soak? By that I mean I started soaking the nuts Monday morning but, got called into work fornthe next 3 days, should I scrap it and start over? Should I mix the nuts and probiotic blend. Can that sit and wait to be finished any ampuntnof tome? You probably have answered these questions before, however, there is a lot of information to read through in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you or the community soon. Thank you so much for all your hard work on your site.
Yes, you can use rejuvelac instead of probiotics. Just replace the water with rejuvelac.
There are many types of probiotics, the one I recommend are the ones I had the most success with. Some contain too many different types of microorganisms and that can make the cheeses turn bad.
Do not soak the nuts for more than 72 hours, so you should be good. Regarding the mixing, yes you blend everything together: the soaked cashews + rejuvelac (or the powder from the probiotic capsules).
Once blended, the cashew cream should not stay at room temperature for more than 4 days. I recommend 48H max.
Hope this helps!
Update. I made the cheese for this recipe and it came out perfect. Tonight I am going to fry some up and will.let you know how it goes. Renée
Update. I made the cheese for this recipe and it came out perfect. Tonight I am going to fry some up and will.let you know how it goes.
Awesome! Hope you liked them Renée!
Your blog is so perfect!
I found it by searching a recipe of blue cheese.
I'll try all of them!!!
I loved your way to teach and the format of the recipes.
Thank you so much for all the work and pacience.
Lots of vegan love!
Thank you so much for the kind words Beatrice! I'm happy to hear you like it, hope you will like the recipes 🙂
Hi Thomas, can't wait to try. Would it be possible to freeze the mix when it has the desire red taste or can you freeze the fried balls thanks
Hi Dot, it's better to freeze the cashew cheese. Then let thaw in the refrigerator and when it's soft you can make balls, coat in breadcrumbs and fry just before serving. I would not recommend freezing fried balls.
Can these be frozen pre or post frying.
Hey Dot, I just replied to your previous comment 😉
first of all, thank you so much for this recipe, I made it a few days ago and it was sooo good!
I liked the fermented cashew base so much that I was thinking about maybe trying to add some other ingredients to see how the flavor would change (like adding garlic, herbs or liquid smoke) and I was wondering if maybe you had already tried something like this and you had any suggestions? Not necessarily to fry it later, just to get different kinds of cheeses.
Thanks in advance!
Happy to hear it turned out great for you!
Sure, you can definitely add your favorite seasonings. Sometimes I add fresh basil, shallots, and a pinch of onion powder. Another tasty option is to roll the cheese balls in a mix of dried tomato powder, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and chives. Liquid smoke is another good idea! I plan to release a recipe based on these cheese balls so stay tuned!
Thank you for your reply, looking forward to your new recipe! 🙂
This recipe looks really wonderful, and I truly can't wait to try it out! Rather than deep fry, do you think these balls could be air fried? If so, what do you suppose the air fryer settings might be for that? .....Thanks so much for these great recipes, Thomas 🙂 !!
That is a good question! I have never used an air fryer so I have absolutely no idea, sorry...
I'm glad you like the recipes though!
I don't actually have an air fryer (lol), but have been (literally) chomping at the bit to get one! I do have a suspicion these balls would be great in the air fryer.... Thanks again for all your innovative recipes - and for responding so quickly! 🙂
If you get one I would love to know how it turns out in an air fryer!
Chua Jia Yan
Is it possible to make with plants milk?
I'm not sure what you mean.
Great recipe 🙂 I will try later on.
Do you know if we can we freeze it before frying?
I think that would work 😉
Merci pour cette recette - apparemment, le tempeh ajoute un goût de "chèvre" aux fromages végétaux..ce que j'ai testé et pas spécialement approuvé. Qu'en penses-tu? Que conseillerais-tu pour ajouter un arôme plus proche du chèvre et plus typique?
Car j'ai déjà fait cette recette et ça me fait plut^t penser à de la mozzarella panée !
Un gout de chèvre ? J'ai un peu de mal à y croire 🙂
As-tu bien laissé le crème de noix de cajou fermenter pendant au moins 24 heures ?
En ce qui concerne le gout de chèvre, la seule solution serait d'y ajouter du Geotrichum Candidum et de laisser les fromages s'affiner pendant 7-10 jours avant de les paner et les frire.
I don’t have a food processor. Is it the same directions for using a blender instead or do adjustments need to be made?
These cheese balls look totally appetizing!
Hi! While I’m waiting fir my Camembert to age (omg omg today the fluffy mold started showing up properly, I’m so psyched!), I decided to try this recipe!
Quick question, since I wanted to start fermenting tonight, is there a substitute for soaking the cashews overnight? Boiling them? Or would that interfere with the consistency / fermentation process?
This blog is a gift to the world, seriously!
Awesome! 🙂 Thanks for your kind words!
You could pour boiling water over the cashews and let it sit for an hour or two, it should work just as well.