Chickpea and Hempseed Cheese-y Slices
There are suddenly lots of recipes for cheese-like slices and dips made from raw cashews. I have nothing against raw cashews (well, other than their calories) — but I thought I’d take the concept in a different direction by using chickpeas, which are cheaper and contain far less fat, ounce for ounce. Though this doesn’t really taste like cheese, it’s quite tasty and filled with nourishing ingredients, including hemp seeds for those valuable Omega-3 fatty acids, and nutritional yeast for highly usable vitamin B-12. Hemp seeds, nutritional yeast (I like Red Star), and agar flakes, which is what makes these wedges sliceable, can all be found at natural foods stores.
Makes 2 to 3 blocks depending on size of molds
- 1 1/2 cups cooked or or one 15- to 16 ounce can
(drained and rinsed) chickpeas
- 1 1/4 cups plain, unsweetened nondairy milk, divided
(rice milk, hemp milk, or almond milk work well)
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste), optional
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 cup agar flakes (see note)
Combine the chickpeas, 1/2 cup of the nondairy milk, hempseeds, nutritional yeast, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, optional tahini, and salt in a food processor. Process until as smooth as possible, pausing the machine regularly to scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining cup of nondairy milk with the agar flakes in a small saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, whisking frequently so that the agar doesn’t get clumpy. Once the mixture has come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the agar is dissolved and the liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the agar mixture to the food processor and process until smoothly blended with the other ingredients. Taste for lemon juice and salt and adjust if you’d like a more tangy or salty flavor.
Quickly transfer the mixture to 2 or 3 mold-type containers (I say quickly because it starts gelling pretty fast). Mini-loaf tins work well; in this photo, I’ve re-used containers from Daiya nondairy cheese wedges. or you can use a couple of small plastic storage containers.
Refrigerate for several hours, until completely cooled and firm to the touch. Cut into slices to serve.
Note: Agar flakes are derived from a seaweed, and are a common vegetable-based gelling agent, sometimes called carrageenan. You’ll find them near the other sea vegetables at the natural foods store.
Variation: Skip the agar and just use this as a delicious dip or spread.