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Marinated Vegan Bocconcini (Mozzarella Cheese)


  • Author: Heartful Table
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12-15 balls

Description

Soft, delicious and easy to make, these vegan bocconcini balls are perfect for when you need that cheesy addition to your platter, pizza, salad, pasta or simply to enjoy on their own.


Ingredients

Bocconcini

  • ½ cup / 70g raw cashews
  • ⅓ cup / 80ml unsweetened soy milk (or creamy oat milk)
  • ½ cup / 125g unsweetened dairy-free yoghurt* (I used natural coconut yoghurt)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour* (aka tapioca starch)
  • 2½ teaspoons agar agar powder

Marinade (option 1)

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli pepper, minced (or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Marinade (option 2)

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of half a lemon*
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1½ teaspoons peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Soak the cashews for 15 minutes in boiling water, then drain and rinse. This is done to soften them.
  2. To a high-speed blender, add the cashews, milk, yoghurt, salt, nutritional yeast, and apple cider vinegar and blend until smooth.
  3. Then add the tapioca starch and pulse until just incorporated. Set aside.
  4. To a small heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat, add ¾ cup / 180ml water and the agar agar powder (while the water is still cold) and mix continuously with a spatula until it comes to a gentle simmer and has thickened. It’s ready when the spatula is thickly coated when lifted. 
  5. Reduce the heat to low-medium, add the mix from the blender, and stir until it’s thick and stringy. This should take around 10 minutes. It will start to look like a really thick custard but stringy. Have patience here as the mixture needs time to thicken and get to the right consistency; otherwise, your balls will be too soft.
  6. Add water and some ice to a bowl to create an ice bath for dropping your bocconcini into.
  7. Using a spoon, scoop out the mixture, scrape it down swiftly with a finger into the ice bath, and leave for 10-15 minutes to firm up before transferring to brine or marinade.
  8. For the brine: The solution is 1 cup / 250ml of water (preferably filtered) and ½ teaspoon good quality salt. Mix well, and it’s ready for the cheese. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  9. For the marinade: Mix the chosen herbs in a bowl and add the cheese balls. Toss it gently. Transfer them to a jar and then top off with olive oil until it covers all the cheese. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Notes

Yoghurt: Use one that you like the taste of on its own.

Tapioca flour: If you want to swap it out, you could try another thickener like cornstarch, potato starch, or arrowroot flour. It won’t be as stretchy as tapioca but will act more like a thickener. I haven’t, however, tried the corn and arrowroot alternatives yet. Please let me know in the comments if you do!

Lemon zest: I like to peel the zest first, then remove any of the pith (white part) by sliding my knife along it. Then I slice it thinly on a diagonal. It looks quite pretty, and you get more zest that way. Alternatively, just zest it the way you usually do it.

  • Diet: Vegan