This vegan mascarpone cheese recipe is delicious. It's so creamy and rich, without any dairy. And the best part? Its light flavor won't overpower the other ingredients in your dish. This vegan mascarpone is versatile, whether you're craving a sweet dessert or a savory spread.
What Is Mascarpone
Traditional mascarpone is a thick, creamy Italian cheese made from cream and a coagulant like citric acid or lemon juice. The result is a delicious combination of a rich, buttery flavor complemented by a gentle tang. It's not sweet, but it is still a common ingredient in Italian desserts, particularly tiramisu. Its smooth texture makes it ideal for folding into whipped cream, spreading on toast, or dolloping on fresh fruit.
Known as "Italian cream cheese," mascarpone originates from Lombardy, Italy. Though it shares a creamy, soft texture with American cream cheese, the two differ in taste but can still be used interchangeably in recipes.
This vegan mascarpone is a dairy-free way to enjoy the rich flavors and texture of mascarpone, perfect for those who desire the same indulgence without dairy.
I played around with about a dozen recipes to achieve a taste I remember in the tiramisu that I used to eat long ago. It was all about finding the right balance of tanginess with a touch of sweetness and a creamy yet firm consistency.
I find this recipe to be reminiscent of the mascarpone I remember. It's versatile, so I can utilize its creamy taste and texture in desserts like vegan tiramisu and this Grilled Peaches with Vegan Mascarpone recipe by introducing more sweetness. Yet, it can also be used for savory dishes such as pasta or as a spread on an English muffin. Moreover, the ingredients are readily available and easy to make.
This vegan mascarpone transforms into a lusciously thick consistency, perfect as a dip if chilled. Chilling it for only a little while yields a thinner consistency suitable for parfaits or toppings. So, without further ado, let's look at an overview.
This is an overview of the ingredients. See the recipe card for quantities.
- raw cashews: soaked overnight or in hot water for 90 minutes See the post Guide to Soaking Cashews for quicker methods.
- full-fat coconut cream - only use the solid fat at the top of the can
- lemon juice: for that touch of tanginess.
- maple syrup: optional but recommended...it adds a hint of sweetness
- vanilla extract: optional for sweeter dishes
- pinch of salt
Soak cashews for at least 90 minutes in hot water or overnight in the refrigerator for the creamiest texture.
You can refrigerate the can of coconut cream to easily separate the solidified cream from the watery part, but it's unnecessary. Just make sure to take the solid cream at the top only.
After prepping those ingredients, the rest is simple:
Prepare Cashews: Drain and rinse the soaked cashews thoroughly. Dry them a little to lessen the amount of moisture in this recipe.
Scoop Coconut Cream: Scoop out the solid cream at the top, leaving the liquid behind. You'll need about ½ cup of solid coconut cream.
Blend: In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine the cashews, coconut cream, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract (if using), and a pinch of salt. Blend on high until completely smooth. You might have to scrape down the sides a few times to incorporate everything well.
Taste and Adjust: Try a small amount and adjust the flavor to your liking. Need more tang? Add a bit more lemon. Want it sweeter? A touch more syrup. If the mascarpone is not smooth enough, continue processing until you reach your desired consistency.
Chill: Transfer the mixture to a container and refrigerate it for at least 3-4 hours or until it thickens to your preferred consistency. You can also freeze the mascarpone for about 45 minutes to one hour to enhance the thickness more quickly.
You can experiment with different ingredients to match your preferences, dietary needs, or simply what you have in your pantry. Check out these ingredient swaps below:
Cashews: Almonds or macadamia nuts can be a good substitute if soaked and blended. Try soaked sunflower seeds or a box of silken tofu for nut-free options.
Coconut Cream: Half a box of silken tofu blended with a couple of tablespoons of refined coconut oil will work for coconut cream. Full-fat oat cream or other plant-based creams might also work, but the result may be a bit runny.
Lemon Juice: White wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for tanginess, but use a little less as they can be stronger.
Maple Syrup (if used for sweetness): Any liquid sweetener like date syrup, agave, rice malt syrup, or even organic cane sugar will work.
Vanilla Extract (if used for a dessert version): A dash of almond extract can add a different but complementary flavor.
Here's a collection of exciting twists you can try out for both savory and sweet dishes:
- Chocolate Mascarpone: Blend in some cocoa powder and extra sweetener for a rich chocolate variation that can be used in desserts or as a fruit dip.
- Spiced Mascarpone: Incorporate ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg for a warmly spiced version that pairs beautifully with fall flavors.
- Garlic Mascarpone: Add roasted garlic. Perfect as a base for pasta sauces or a spread on crusty bread.
- Berry-Swirled Mascarpone: Swirl in some blended berries for a fruit-infused version. This could be a lovely filling for crepes or layered in parfaits.
With countless ways to incorporate it into your recipes, let's dive into this never-ending list of deliciousness!
Sweet Mascarpone Serving Suggestions
By adding a little more maple syrup or sweetener to your mascarpone you can make some delicious treats. Here are just a few.
- Layered Parfait: Alternate layers of vegan mascarpone with granola and fruit for a tasty and decadent breakfast or dessert parfait.
- Vegan Tiramisu: Use vegan mascarpone as a key ingredient in a dairy-free version of this classic Italian dessert.
- Stuffed Crepes: Whip up some vegan crepes and fill them with vegan mascarpone, fresh berries, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
- Fruit Dip: Serve it chilled as a dip for fresh fruit. Add a little vanilla or cinnamon for extra flavor.
- Muffin or Cupcake Frosting: Sweetened a bit more, it can be a delicious frosting for vegan muffins or cupcakes.
- With Grilled Peaches: Serve it with grilled peaches and a drizzle of maple syrup for a summer dessert.
- Pancakes and Waffles: Top your vegan pancakes or waffles with a dollop of sweet mascarpone for a creamy and luscious treat. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with chopped nuts or fresh berries.
Savory Mascarpone Serving Suggestions
- Pasta Sauce Base: Blend with sautéed garlic, nutritional yeast, and herbs to create a creamy pasta sauce.
- Stuffed Tomatoes or Peppers: Mix with quinoa, herbs, and roasted vegetables, and use the mixture to stuff tomatoes or peppers before baking.
- Vegan Sushi Rolls: Incorporate it into a vegan sushi roll with avocado, cucumber, and other favorite fillings.
- Grilled Flatbread or Wrap: Spread it on grilled flatbread and top with roasted vegetables, herbs, and a balsamic glaze.
- Bagel or English muffin Spread: Mix vegan mascarpone with chopped chives, salt, and pepper for a savory spread that pairs perfectly with bagels.
High-Speed Blender or Food Processor: This is essential for achieving a silky smooth texture. A high-speed blender like a Vitamix can break down cashews to a creamy consistency without any grittiness. A good food processor can also work, though it might require more patience and scraping down the sides.
- Container: Store the vegan mascarpone in an airtight container. This helps to prevent it from absorbing other flavors in the fridge and keeps it moist.
- Shelf Life: Generally, it should last about 5 to 7 days in the fridge.
- Freezer-Safe Container: Vegan mascarpone can be frozen if you want to store it longer. Use a freezer-safe container or a resealable freezer bag.
- Thawing: To use after freezing, thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a few hours. You might want to stir it or a quick blend to restore the creamy texture.
- Freezer Life: Properly stored, it can last in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Use a High-Speed Blender: This ensures that cashews are fully broken down without any graininess.
- Soak Nuts Properly: Soaking them adequately helps soften them, making blending much smoother. Check out Guide to Soaking Cashews for ways to get the perfect soak.
- Chill in the fridge or freezer: The longer it chills, the more it will thicken.
Mascarpone is a cheese or spread that can mingle well in sweet and savory dishes. When you come across mascarpone in desserts, like the classic tiramisu, it's usually sweetened with added sugars, whipped cream, or other ingredients. But traditionally? Nope, it's not sweet. Think of it as a blank canvas ready for your culinary creativity.
This could be due to under-soaking the nuts or using a less powerful blender. Blending longer, soaking the nuts properly, or straining the mixture can help achieve a smoother texture.
A high-speed blender is preferred, but a good food processor or immersion blender can also work. The texture might be less smooth, and it might require more blending and scraping down.
Vegan mascarpone can be considered a healthy option as it contains plant-based ingredients. However, it's essential to consider individual dietary needs and preferences, as it is still high in fat because of the nuts and coconut cream.
Generally, yes! Vegan mascarpone can often be substituted in traditional recipes, though there might be some variations in flavor and texture.
There's a hint of coconut flavor in this vegan mascarpone recipe. But I will say that the intensity of this coconut taste can vary depending on the brand of coconut cream used and its concentration. When combined with the cashews, the coconut flavor also mellows out.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup full-fat coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or one lemon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or other sweetener
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional for a sweeter mascarpone)
- pinch of salt
- Soak the cashews overnight, or see Guide to Soaking Cashews for quicker methods.
Making the Marscopone
- Drain, and rinse the soaked cashews thoroughly.
- Open the can of coconut cream and scoop out the solid part at the top, leaving the liquid behind. You'll need about ½ cup of solid coconut cream.
- Combine the cashews, coconut cream, lemon juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend on high until completely smooth. You might have to scrape down the sides a few times to incorporate everything well.
- Try a small amount and adjust the flavor to your liking. Need more tang? Add a bit more lemon. More sweetness? Add more maple syrup or sweetener.
- Transfer the mixture to a container and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or until it thickens to your desired consistency. You can also place it in the freezer for about 45 minutes to chill quickly.
Before chilling, the mascarpone is slightly thin. Make sure to place it in the fridge to chill for a few hours or in the freezer for a quicker chill to thicken it up.
Mascarpone is a creamy cheese and is not meant to be sweet. Generally, however, I like a slight sweetness and add a tablespoon of maple syrup. Depending on what I'm making, I adjust the sweetness level according to what tastes best for that dish. Some recipes call for a lot of sweetness, some none at all. The base of cashews, coconut cream, and lemon are there, so try to find the right balance of sweetness for the intended use.
This mascarpone is perfect for vegans and vegetarians and should fit the bill for anyone on a gluten-free diet.
Nutritional information is only an estimation. Use a nutritional app like Cronometer to get information on the exact ingredients and amounts you are using.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Freeze or Refrigerate: 45 minutes
- Category: Condiment
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: Italian-Inspired
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Calories: 53
- Sugar: 1.1 g
- Sodium: 118.3 mg
- Fat: 4.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.1 g
- Protein: 1.1 g
- Cholesterol: 3.4 mg
Keywords: gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, cashews, coconut cream, fall, autumn
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