A salty, tangy delicious vegan cotija cheese that’s easy to make and goes with just about everything. Four ingredients is all you need for this dairy free alternative!
I love adding this vegan cotjia into a big bowl of loaded guacamole. Give me some chips and call it dinner!
This post was originally published on October 16, 2017.
This post was sponsored by Casabella but the content and opinions expressed are fully my own.
This is as simple and delicious as my reader favorite vegan Parmesan cheese. I keep both in the fridge to use at all times!
Cotija is a crumbly Mexican cheese with a salty flavor. It’s used to add wonderful flavor to so many dishes including tacos, burritos, salads, and bowls! I knew I needed to create a dairy free cotija cheese substitute, and this recipe was born!
Here are the incredibly simple ingredients you need for this cotija cheese recipe:
How to Make Vegan Cotija Cheese
- Place dry cashews in a food processor.
- Blend just until they resemble a fine crumble.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until incorporated, if you don’t want to shape it you can use it right away at this point!
- To make a wheel keep blending until it’s more smooth.
- Press the cotija into a wheel and refrigerate overnight.
- Use with everything!
- Be cautious while blending the cashews, if you over blend you will get cashew butter!
- You can use your hands to shape the cheese. Or, place the crumbly mixture in the middle of a sheet of plastic wrap, gather the plastic around it and twist to close, then you can press it in the plastic into a wheel.
- White vinegar is used to achieve the right sharpness and tanginess. If you use a different vinegar the flavor will change.
- Chill the wheel in the refrigerator overnight. It will be ready to use in the morning, but if you can’t wait keep checking for hardness every few hours.
- If you use plastic wrap to shape the cheese, simply keep it sealed in the plastic wrap.
- You can also store this vegan cotija in an airtight container.
- Crumbled cotija will harden more as it sits in the fridge.
- Keep cheese cold in the fridge until ready to use. It will soften and not crumble well if left out.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
- You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
How to Use Vegan Cotija Cheese
You can really use this dairy free cotija cheese alternative in so many ways! Obviously, I use it mostly for Mexican themed recipes, but you can really add it to anything you want! Here are some ways we love to use it:
- Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas
- Vegan Chorizo Tacos
- Vegan Tortilla Soup
- Vegan Taquitos
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
One of my favorite ways to use this vegan Mexican cheese is when making a loaded guacamole. It adds the perfect tang and flavor!
I use my Casabella Clip N Strip Shears to chop some cilantro, then I use the 4 ‘n 1 Avocado Tool to scoop out the avocado. Mix in all the ingredients and top with vegan cotija cheese! If you have any leftovers, which is doubtful, you can use the Guac-Lock to save it and keep it fresh.
All you need is chips and it’s a full fledged meal. Here are the measurements of what I use whenever I make my loaded guacamole:
- 3 avocados
- 1 cup finely chopped tomato
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (about 5 cloves)
- 1-2 teaspoons finely chopped Serrano chiles
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Cotija is a Mexican cheese that crumbles easily, named for the town it was created in! It is usually made from cow’s milk and aged to achieve different flavors. You can easily make a homemade vegan cotija with cashews instead of milk.
The flavor is salty, a bit tangy, and can range from mild to bold depending on how long it is aged. It’s similar to feta or Parmesan.
If dairy isn’t an issue you can try queso fresca, feta, or Parmesan cheese. If you need a vegan substitute for cheese, make your own cotija cheese vegan style! All you need are cashews, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt!
More Dairy Free Cheese Recipes
When it comes to vegan cheese you can never have enough! Try all of these easy plant based recipes:
- Sharp White Cheese Sauce
- Easy Vegan Cream Cheese
- Vegan Feta Cheese
- Homemade Vegan Ricotta
- Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
Easy 4 Ingredient Vegan Cotija Cheese
- Place dry cashews in a food processor and blend until they are a fine crumble. Do not over blend or it will make cashew butter.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until incorporated. Stop here if you prefer not to shape this into a wheel but simply use it in crumbled form. If you are shaping it into a wheel, then you can keep blending until smooth. It should come together into a ball, almost soft and dough like.
- Shape into a wheel and refrigerate overnight. You can use plastic wrap to store it in or shape with your hands and store in an airtight container. It will be ready to use in the morning, but if you can’t wait keep checking for hardness every few hours. This also stores very well in the freezer if you know you won’t use it all within 7 days.
- Use with everything!
- Keep cheese cold in the fridge until ready to use. It will soften and not crumble well if left out. It also stores very well in the freezer for extended periods of time.
- The white vinegar is what gives this recipe the sharpness and tanginess of Parmesan. If you sub it then you will not get the same flavor.
- You can also just use this crumbled straight from the food processor or store crumbled in the fridge if you don’t want to grate it. If you simply store it crumbled, it will harden as crumbles in the fridge.
- This makes 1 wheel about 5 inches by one inch, or a little over 1 ¼ cup grated. Serving size is 1 tablespoon.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.