Going vegan doesn’t mean giving up your favorite cheese. So if you’re craving a good piece of Mexican cotija cheese right now, we have a wonderful plant-based alternative that you’re sure to love!
The classic queso cotija is a salty semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk and named after the Mexican town of Cotija in Michoacán. Its texture can range from dry grated cheese, similar to parmesan or ricotta salata, to a softer and fresher cheese akin to feta or queso fresco.
If you want to bring the taste of this delicious Mexican cheese to your table, we’ve designed our vegan recipe to be as close to the real thing as possible. You don’t need any fancy cheese making equipment, just a few simple ingredients you can find at the grocery store.
What makes cotija taste so good is the combination of salty, fatty, savory and sour notes. So we relied on nuts as the fat base for our cheese, then added salt and vinegar. Nutritional yeast balances the flavors with its “cheesy” flavor and adds valuable vitamin B12.
Cashews were our favorite nuts for this vegan cheese. They have a mild taste, and because they contain more saturated fats and starches, they naturally make the cheese creamy. Finally, we used agar agar powder to thicken the cotija.
Once the cheese is set, prepare to enjoy it. Nibble it on or add it to soups, tacos, burritos, and grilled corn—yum!