Cookbook review and reader sweepstakes: Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner

Vegan Caprese Salad

Caprese salad with vegan buffalo mozzarella!

I can’t think of a more perfect way to end the Vegan Month of Food AND October Unprocessed than with this giveaway of Artisan Vegan Cheese: From Everyday to Gourmet. I found out about this cookbook by reading the cover story in VegNews last month, and introduced myself to Miyoko after trying two of her amazing recipes.

If you have thought about going vegan but didn’t think you could live without cheese… these cheeses will blow your mind. They’re rich, creamy, and complex. Miyoko has been making vegan cheese for more than a thirty years, but it was only in 2010 that she set out on a quest to make cheeses that would satisfy omnivores and vegans alike. After a full year of experimentation, she produced this book. If you’ve been doing the vegan or plant-based thing for a while, you’ve probably at least made cashew cream or “ricotta” like I used here in this vegan lasagna recipe.

How these cheeses differ is that they are cultured, either using a grain-based beverage called rejuvelac or non-dairy yogurt. They age from a few days to a week, depending on the type of cheese you are making. For some of the quick cheeses, like her Alfredo Sauce, dry white wine adds that cultured flavor (because wine is fermented). The book was edited by Jo Stepaniak, author of The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, reviewed in this post.

Pasta with alfredo sauce

Brown rice rotini smothered in alfredo sauce, topped with fresh garden tomatoes and chives. More please!

What I liked about the book: The book starts with an explanation of cheese-making in general, then segues into how the dairy substitutes work. Miyoko focuses on cultured cheeses, which take some time to age, thus providing that rich cheese-like flavor we crave. After testing four recipes I feel confident that her recipes are well worth the time and effort. The latter part of the book is filled with recipes that incorporate the cheeses, and provides lots of creative ideas. Note that I did have a recipe fail because I didn’t follow her instructions, so no renovating here!

I wasn’t so keen on: My only real complaint is that the book doesn’t have many color photos, and the light brown text and font choices make it hard to read without my reading glasses. I am willing to overlook those flaws as I’m so excited about the recipes.

I have tested four recipes from the book. I made Sharp Cheddar, which was so incredibly tasty I ate it plain and on sandwiches. The Fresh Mozzarella (shown in a caprese salad, above) was a tiny bit grainy but definitely had that rich creamy texture of fresh mozzarella and was also delicious on hot pasta. I loved the Alfredo Sauce: any time I am craving mac and cheese I will make it. The sauce was done long before the pasta was cooked, so it’s a meal in 20 minutes. I tried the Air-Dried Gouda, oversoaked the cashews, and had a mold problem. However, even with all that, it tasted freakin’ amazing so I will make it again and follow her instructions precisely. Totally my fault.

Vegan Smoked Gouda

A cautionary tale: no renovating! Don’t oversoak the cashews! And if an air-dried cheese cracks like this, it will mold inside the cracks. Very sad to put this in the compost, especially after tasting the edges.

Here’s this week’s question:

Which cheese do you miss the most (if you’re vegan) or would you miss the most (if you’re not)?

Sweepstakes Official Rules:

By leaving a comment below you are agreeing to the Official Rules, outlined here. SWEEPSTAKES IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to reader Michaela B!

  • Only U.S. residents over the age of 18 are eligible to enter.
  • Duration: Friday October 26 through Thursday November 1, 2012 at 5 PM Pacific Daylight Time. SWEEPSTAKES IS NOW CLOSED.
  • Leave a comment answering the question to enter: Which cheese do you miss the most (if you’re vegan) or would you miss the most (if you’re not)? You can receive up to 4 additional entries by doing the following and leaving one comment for each additional item.

1) Tweet about the sweepstakes. You can tweet up to 4 different days for 4 additional entries. (Leave a comment each time with the link to your tweet.)

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  • The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • Winner(s) will be selected by random number generator within one day of the sweepstakes closing. Winners have 48 hours to respond to their notification email to claim their prize. If they do not respond, another winner will be chosen by random number generator. All prizes will be awarded.
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  • We will obtain winners’ name and mailing addresses in the notification email. Once prize(s) have been mailed we will maintain that information for up to one year but will not use it for any other purpose.
  • This sweepstakes is sponsored by Book Publishing Company and Recipe Renovator, P.O. Box 34054, San Diego, CA 92163-4054. (619) 365-5065.
  • Prize description: One copy of Artisan Vegan Cheese plus one cheese-making bag, retail value of $19.95.

Want to see more about this book?


  1. Samantha Remington says

    It’s a 3 way tie between Sharp Cheddar, Brie, and Blue Cheese, depending on my mood :)

  2. Leah says

    I went vegan at age 16, so there are a lot of cheeses I just never got to try. A vegan Romano would be something I’d like to try.

  3. Emily says

    Long time vegan & I don’t miss any cheese specifically. But, I’ve been really enjoying the vegan cheese renaissance of late & have been itching to try making my own. I’m really looking forward to checking out this book.

  4. says

    I miss Brie cheese. Haven’t had it in years, and when hubby and I were in France this summer they had some delicious looking cheeses. Oh well, this book looks like it can satisfy me :)

  5. Courtney says

    Totally brie cheese…I still miss it after 12 years, lol! This giveaway makes me wish I were on Twitter so I could increase my chances…darn.

  6. Barbara says

    Sorry, I don’t “tweet.” I miss mozzarella and feta. I have never used Daiya – can’t even buy it in my area. Although there are some vegan substitutes out there, I would really love to find something a little more authentically cheesy for special occasions, because I’m not into substituting one fat for another. But special occasions need just a little adjustments to make them special… Have actually had this on my list of wanting to buy, but still haven’t gotten around to it!

  7. says

    i miss oozy gooey stinky cheeses…. :-) although tofu misozuke has been a lifesaver in that department! maybe not terribly gooey, but pungent for sure. yum!

  8. says

    What a wonderful blog!
    As a vegan, I really don’t miss the cheese… but I wouldn’t mind being able to add a little pecorino or parmigiano reggiano to my homemade pesto, for old time’s sake.
    Since I love animals, I’ll settle for nutritional yeast flakes. I’d like to try my hand at making some delicious, cruelty-free artisan vegan cheese!

  9. says

    I’m not a vegan, and while it’s difficult to choose from all the cheese I currently have in my fridge, I definitely have to say goat cheese is my favorite.

  10. Chely says

    I loved sharp cheddar, aged Dutch cheese, and gorgonzola cheese. BTW, I just subscribed to your newsletter. I am so excited about this giveaway. Hope I win!

  11. says

    Cottage cheese. I’d have it for breakfast with fruits or compote, bake it into soft, dense cakes and use it to top pancakes, rice and waffles.. Oh dear this is bad.

  12. Debbie E. says

    I miss mozzarella but not much since it’s full of sodium and makes my eyes and hands puffy! I can live without it, really.

  13. Bonnie K says

    I would miss the sharp cheddar and English cheddar the most. The vegan cheeses look really good. I’ve tried the vegan queso and found it to be tasty.

  14. Beth says

    I miss mozzarella! Like the kind in your pic with a caprese salad…. makes me want the book even more!

  15. Lizzie says

    I tried a two of the recipes featured in VegNews, and didn’t have great success, but I am sometimes not so great at following recipes exactly, and these are probably ones where I should be more careful. I would definitely love to give some of the other recipes a try – especially that air-dried gouda, as smoked gouda is something I miss a great deal!

  16. Erin says

    I want this book so much. This isn’t a question I’ve really thought about much. I probably miss basic cheddar the most — and Daiya really doesn’t do it for me — but the recipes in this book sound amazing.