Sprouted Almond Feta Cheese Spread

IMG_3004     I made two different tofu feta recipes and did not like either one.  This recipe, however, is delicious and worthy of any buffet table or dinner party.  Although you have to plan ahead, it’s easy and doesn’t take much hands-on time.  I adapted and simplified my easy version from an Editors’ Pick from Vegetarian Times magazine.  I skipped the cheesecloth/chilling, which saves a bunch of time and trouble.  I skipped the herbed oil topping because it interfered with the tangy, cheesy flavor of this spread.  I also added a bit of mild white miso for more umami.  If you don’t care about a whiter appearance, you don’t have to blanch the almonds.    Note: I made this one time using an entire 6-ounce bag of Diamond Blanched Almonds, and it worked great (see photo below).

Almond Feta Cheese Spread

Serves:  10

1 Cup whole almonds
1/4 Cup lemon juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon mild white miso
1/2 Cup water (not the soaking water)

Place almonds in a quart glass jar and cover with 2 Cups of water.  Let soak 48 hours in refrigerator, changing the water at least once.  Drain and rinse well.  You will see that the almonds may have started to sprout a tiny bit.  Squeeze each almond between thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand and the brown skin should slide off pretty easily.

Puree lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, miso and the 1/2 Cup of fresh water in blender (or food processor) for up to 1 minute, until creamy.  Add almonds and blend for about 5 minutes.  You will probably have to finesse the blender several times–sliding a spoon down into it, and using the blender on lowest setting, and increasing speed slowly.

Spoon almond mixture into a ramekin or small casserole dish.  At this point, you can chill it and eat it raw on crackers, fold it into recipes, or whatever.  Or you can bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  Serve warm or chilled, on thin slices of buttered toasted baguette, or crackers, in Greek salad, etc.

Notes:  I did make this in my Vitamix, but I guess in lieu of that, i would try a food processor, unless you have a powerful blender, not sure.   This vegan feta can be used in a myriad of dishes, such as vegan Spanakopita, or my Greek Phyllo Squash Tart.  Or for a party, simply spooned into little store-bought phyllo cups and topped with something else in contrasting color and taste.  Here’s a YouTube video showing how to blanch almonds, or you can buy them already blanched.   You can also make this with rejuvelac if you’re so inclined.  I tried making it with almond meal but did not care for the slightly-pasty texture.  The original recipe calls for baking the cheese at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes, but I haven’t tried that yet.  Pier One has great larger ramekins for about $5 and they mimic the white ramekins from Cordon Bleu.

  I tried the original method before, but it didn’t make much of a difference to me, so since then, I’ve skipped it.

This bottom photo is using a six ounce bag of Diamond Blanched Almonds, so it’s quicker if you want to save the time.

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