Dairy cream cheese is delicious, but the horrors of the dairy industry for me do not weigh up against its taste – especially when you can make a cream cheese that tastes just as amazing without all the suffering. Moreover, where store-bought vegan cream cheese usually costs a fortune, making it yourself is a lot more affordable. And the best thing, you only need one ingredient. What? Yes. The key is soy yoghurt. Although this type of yoghurt is usually quite watery (like any ‘normal’ yoghurt), when you strain it for some time it becomes a lot thicker, and a lot more like cream cheese.
For me, fighting food waste does not only mean fighting against direct waste by for example cooking with ‘wasted’ fruits and vegetables, but also going against the very foundations that make this waste possible – the capitalist system and consequently the exploitation of humans and non-human animals and the insane use of natural resources. Although for this recipe I used the cheapest soy yoghurt I could find (which costs only 1,49 at Albert Heijn and yields about 300 grams of cream cheese), I usually opt for an organic option which makes the cream cheese even more environmental friendly. But this time I used the cheapest to see if it also works (it does so perfectly) and to show that vegan cream cheese can be just as cheap as ‘normal’ cream cheese.
Ingredients and utensils
- Unsweetened soy yoghurt
- Cheese cloth or kitchen towel
- Big bowl
- Optional: chives, black pepper, garlic, or whatever you like to put in cream cheese
Note: This cream cheese can also be used like a crème fraiche, or like a sour cream if you add some extra lemon juice. I sometimes add it into Mexican wraps. Moreover, it is also perfect to make vegan tzatziki becomes it is so thick. Or serve it with some olive oil on top to make it like a vegan Labneh. The options are quite endless really. It can probably also be made with other types of yoghurt, like oat yoghurt or coconut yoghurt or rice yoghurt, so if you do not want to use soy or are allergic you can definitely give this a try!
- Suspend your strainer over a big bowl or pan (see photos), and line it with cheesecloth or a kitchen towel. There should be a few centimetres between the strainer and the bottom of the bowl/pan, so that the watery whey can drip out.
- Throw in all your soy yoghurt and briefly stir it, then fold the cloth/towel close.
- Let this sit in the fridge for around 18 hours. The longer you leave it, the thicker it will be. After a few hours it will already be quite thick and can be used perfectly as a substitute for sour cream or crème fraiche.
- When it has reached your desired thickness, put it into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix it to give it a uniform thickness and feel.
- You can now add anything you like. I love cream cheese with some more salt, pepper, garlic and chives. I find that you need to add quite a lot of salt to give it the same taste as dairy cream cheese, probably because dairy cream cheese is already saltier by nature. But it is sooo insanely creamy and thick and fresh!