Back in the Stone Age of my college years, my stomach was a bottomless pit. I was hungry all of the time – but especially so at about 7 or 8 pm at night. When this hunger struck, I could always convince my roommate or some of the other girls in my dorm to order food for delivery – either pizza (the dreaded “pizza-pizza” Little Caeser’s was the only place that delivered back then) or something from The Bagel & Deli Shop in Oxford, Ohio. Oh, how I loved and craved the bagels and cream cheese from The Bagel & Deli Shop! Their soft/crispy jumbo-sized bagels would arrive still warm to the touch and wrapped in layers of shiny, wrinkled foil. Peeling back the foil, a generous slab of melty, creamy cheese that had just the right amount of sour zing would ooze out from the split bagel. No matter how broke I (always) was, I could usually scrounge up the $1.50 needed for just such a late-night snack.
Since going vegan, I’ve avoided commercial plant-based cream cheese. The ingredient list doesn’t thrill me. As a result, I’ve really missed that perfect combination of chewy bagel and soft cream cheese. I came up with this simple cheese in the process of making something else entirely; one of those happy accidents. I really like the mildly sweet, nutty flavor that the coconut adds. Happily, I am now back in bagel business!
This cream cheese is the perfect complement to my Raw “Black Bread” and my Easy Pretzel Roll Bagels (pictured below). You’ll find an updated and perfected fresh herb cashew coconut cream cheese in my cookbook, Crave Eat Heal!
Oil-free Cashew Coconut Cream Cheese
- Total Time: 1440
- 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed, & drained
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, soaked for ~15 minutes, drained
- 1 Tbsp. sweet white miso (I use South River brand)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. agave nectar
- pinch sea salt
- Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth. You’ll need to stop the machine and scrape the sides every few minutes. This will get smooth – it just takes time and patience. I prefer a food processor here over a high-speed blender because it’s so much easier to scrape out the cheese once it’s smooth.
- Line a mini-loaf pan or other small/shallow dish with a couple of layers of cheese cloth. Scrape the cheese into the dish, pressing down so that the cheese gets into the corners. Press down the cheesecloth over the top, place in the refrigerator and place something heavy on top of the cheese/cheesecloth.
- Let the cheese rest in the fridge for 24+ hours.
- Carefully remove the cheese from the pan. Take off the cheesecloth and schemer a big schlab on a bagel!
Yummy Annie! I’ve been playing with cashew cream cheese lately too – so amazing! This sounds really amazing…love the miso in there. YUM!
Cashews seem to be an incredibly versatile nut. You must be very pleased with your bit of serendipity, but it’s all down to your creativity. The photos are gorgeous…that bagel – yum!
I’ve never eaten so many cashews in my life!
Boy, that bagel looks good! Your cream cheese looks like the perfect consistency. I find the commercial ones to be a bit too jelly like…can’t wait to try this Annie!!
You’re right, Poppy. There’s something off about the consistency. And if one is trying to avoid oil, it’s not possible with commercial vegan cheeses.
Yes, oil is always right at the top of the ingredients list 🙁
Mmmm, looks amazing! Bizarrely, I hated cream cheese pre-vegan but adore every nut based cheese I’ve tried now. Love the look of your bagels too!
Thanks, Emma! I only ever enjoyed cream cheese with bagels. Otherwise it just was too rich or something. But I’m with you – nut cheeses are SO much better!
Yummy, cream cheese and cashews and coconut? Great flavour combo 😀
Choc Chip Uru
I agree :-)!
That’s interesting that Little Caesar’s was one of the few places that delivered on your campus. I haven’t had Little Caesar’s in probably 15 years, but I’ve never been to one that delivered. I didn’t realize that they did it anywhere. When I was a kid, that was the regular place where we ordered pizza. I had so much of it that over time, it kind of made my stomach turn just thinking about it.
College was the time when I was introduced to bagels. Now it seems surprising that I’d never had one before! That creamy cool of the cream cheese against the hot chewy bagel was such a lovely match. At our local bagel place, they have hummus available, which is what I get on the rare occasions that I get a bagel. Your cashew cream cheese would be delightful! It looks beautiful!
I think it was that particular Little Caeser’s – they knew an opportunity when the saw it. Hungry teenagers. The best place in town to get pizza was Bruno’s, but they didn’t deliver. They did have 50-cent slices and a “walk-up” window, however…
And the curious cat in me really wants to know what you were TRYING to make that instead came out to be this recipe. 😀 It looks delicious!
What is the purpose of the cheesecloth wrap since nothing is squeezed out of it?
I was making a salad dressing! One thing led to another… The cheesecloth absorbs some of the moisture and makes for a firmer cheese. Plus it gives the cheese a pleasing pattern :-).
Mmm, I love me a good bagel and shmear. I use Tofutti vegan cream cheese because I’ve heard the best reviews, but I always need to add nutritional yeast or it doesn’t have enough salty, cheesy flavor. Do you find yourself add nutritional yeast to this recipe after the fact?
P.S. – You’re an adorable goy to incorporate some Yiddish into your bagel talk! But don’t use “shlab” if you want to sound authentic–it’s not a word 😉
I didn’t need to add nutritional yeast in this. For me, the rich miso adds enough of that salty/cheesy flavor. No offense meant with my made-up word schlab – it’s just me being silly.
No offense taken! Just sharing some knowledge. Now you’ll be ready to walk into a Jewish deli and talk like a native 😉
Ha! I’m ready!
What!? This looks amazing! Mind if I share on my blog http://www.stepsinstilettos.com ?
Thanks :-)! Sure! Please just credit and link back to An Unrefined Vegan.
Yum Yum Yum, Annie! What a lovely spread! 😉
Thanks, Sophie! Easy, too!
I’m with you on the plant based cream cheeses, they sadly just suck when it comes to the ingredients. Homemade is always better anyway, and man does this look good. I used to GET DOWN on bagels and cream cheese. I must make this, or stop by for a hunk or two.
Totally spazzing out over this!!! Why oh why do I not have any coconut in the house!
I was thinking about making a “Boursin” version – coated with herbs on the outside…mmmmm.
Oh goodness!!! Sounds incredible!!!
is that 1/4 cup of lemon juice? thanks for a lovely recipe — can’t wait to try it!
Oop – yes! Should be 1/4 cup. Thanks for catching that! Hope you like it!
This sounds so yum Annie! I love the miso in there!
This looks SO Good Annie! I’m drooling over those bagels!! I have been meaning to come up with a cream cheese too, since I haven’t had any since going vegan and I used to love it on bagels….. It’s on my forever to-do recipe list!
Looks and sounds dee-licious. I have also been missing cream cheese – who wouldn’t , right? Have also discovered that my teenager will eat miso soup with veggies in it for breakfast…. so more miso is needed as well. Thanks for this recipe!
Ride that miso train while you can :-)!
I’ve never made my own cashew cream cheese but I did try someone else’s once, and loved it. I bet yours is AMAZING!
Thanks, Barb! It’s crazy easy – why I never tried before…d’oh!
Why haven’t I tried it before either! It looks incredible, Annie! You’ve inspired me once again.
I soooo miss cream cheese. I’ve only used the store brands for sweet things since going vegan but man I’d love a crisp toasty bagel smothered in this cheeze ;p I’m wondering if it would work as the cheeze for my new ‘sausage’ bites? What a dreamy combo that would be?
I’m all verklempt just thinking about it ♥
Oh yeah!! Sounds like a perfect combination!!
Oh yum! I only buy vegan cream cheese occasionally, because it’s so processed. This recipe sounds like a great replacement.
And almost as easy as buying a package of cream cheese :-)!
I tried to leave a comment yesterday, but my computer froze up on me. Anyway, this bagel smear looks wonderful! I’ve been putting peanut butter on my bagels since going vegan, but this looks so much better. Will try this soon! Hope you’re having a great week! Celeste 🙂
Thanks, Celeste! I was quite pleased with how it turned out. xoxo
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Ok, so yesterday I was searching for a vegan cream cheese recipe. I gave up rather quickly. Then THIS. All ingredients already at hand — the texture of your photos looks amazing. Soaking the cashews now!! I hope my mini-processor is up for the job…
Ah, I love serendipity! It might take a bit longer in the mini-prep, but I’ll be it’ll get the job done. Hope you love it!
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OMG Annie!!! I just made this and it’s absolutely amazing! And sooooo easy too. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone opened a vegan bagel bakery and served yummy stuff like this. Celeste 🙂
Yay!! I’m so glad you liked it!
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I shall need to search around Sydney to see if various of these items can be bought … Agave nectar ? those coconut flakes ? Will put my head down next week and LOOK.
Hi, Margaret! Best of luck finding what you need – I think you’ll really like this recipe :-). Please let me know if you make it.
Okey dokey – with pleasure.
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Can I leave out the miso? I don’t have any and I’m trapped in the house from snow!!
Oh no! Hope you aren’t trapped for too long ;-)! Sure, leave out the miso. It adds a bit of mellowness to the cheez, but shouldn’t be too big of a deal.