Crisped up sourdough puffed up with sea-salted vegan butter, was doused in oozing Camembert, dribbling on plates. Laced with chilli flakes, and a dashing of olive oil, it clambered into open mouths, crumbs falling. For this was no ordinairy cheese, but vegan cheese, that slithered its way into simple vegan recipes. It would make a glorious vegan fakeaway night in. There would be an easy Italian salad smattered with Epic Mature Cheddar, and Original Flavour Grated, oozing with flavour. Homemade vegan cheese and garlic herb croutons would dance with stuffed green, and black olives amorously. And who could forget the sensual master Olive Oil, that swirled around the lettuce leaves, locking in Mediterrenean flavour?
The salad was just the tip of the (literal iceberg). Italian was one of A’s favourite cuisines, simple yet effect, but incredibly tantalizing. So what else but vegan cheese splattered spaghetti and meatballs would suffice? She sprinkled grated cheese with dramatic flair, her eyes widening as it sank into the rich tomato and wine sauce with ease. The meatballs perched precaciously atop a generous mound of spaghetti. Sprinkled with black pepper, and sea salt, she shaved mature cheddar into delectable flakes. And what about the third dish I hear you ask? It was a stunning vegan cheeseboard full of senseous surprises, waiting to be eaten. Berries tart and juicy, olives swimming in marinade, a singular Camembert oozing gracefully. Salted nuts, and chutneys too, a hodge-podge of picnic classics, crammed on two boards.
But she was getting ahead of herself. And so the story began, a tale of two hungry mouths that were giving vegan cheese a try. Sure A had tried vegan cheese before, but would Violife’s vegan recipes live up to the hype? Only time, taste, and smell would tell. It would be a sensory journey for the ages, one vegetarian, one meat eater, exploring the many wonders of vegan cheeses, and how it fit into their lives. The couple smiled grandly, the sun teetering between cloud, and open warmth.
Slowly, but surely they would fall in love, as they prepared the ultimate vegan feast. It would be a mix of two cultures, Italy vs France, a continiental explosion of deliciousness, that was begging to be tasted. First up on the chopping block? One of A’s personal favourites, a stunning spaghetti and meatballs combo, that would be slow-cooked in spiced red wine. It would be the first time that they had veganized the classic meatballs dish, often splattering it with red leicester, and vegetarian parmesan. After all, D, A’s partner was often hesitant about trying vegan cheeses, due to past experiences. Could A persuade him to take a bite? If only she could look into the future. He would take more than just a bite. D would surprise himself at just how much he enjoyed the vegan spaghetti and meatballs. After all, it was an example of easy vegan meals they could make when they wanted to batch cook for the week.
Where would she begin? Ah yes, the chunky simmered down Marinara sauce, a’la Faded Spring style. Humming under her breath, she breathed love and passion into it, watching the tomatoes mingle with garlic in a heady fusion. Shredded carrots plunged into red depths, as the sauce thickened, hubble bubble. She smiled, she loved the sound of good food bubbling away, as it danced with oregano and basil merrily. A’s favourite part of a good marinara though? The vegan red wine, that transformed meatballs into glorious creatures. It would be a Portuguese red ‘Reserva’ with a silky texture, that oozed rich flavours of black cherry and pepper. A juicy and forward red, the slow-cooked sauce was almost complete.
They sank vegan meatballs gingerily into witchcraft, sprinkling Original Flavour Grated and hunks of Epic Mature Cheddar Block, into its fold. Though vegan cheese had a reputation for not melting easily, A was nevertheless pleased. It wasn’t about oozing cheese in a meatball dish for A, but added flavour. She couldn’t wait to see what the cheeses brought to the table, but from the smell, it was something utterly glorious. Topped up with ground black pepper, Himalayan sea salt, and walnut shavings, the spaghetti and meatballs lay waiting for inspection. To serve, they added Viospread Light and Creamy Vegan Spread, watching it melt into twirling spaghetti flawlessly. The cherry on top? Shavings of Violife Prosociano wedge, that was scarily similar to parmesan.
A quick taste showed that her assumptions were true. Though Violife cheeses had a distinct coconutty taste, A did not mind. After all, A loved coconut, so the idea of a coconut based cheese did not bother her one bit. The grated vegan cheese tasted similar to Dairylea dunkers, in a decidedly retro fashion, that made her long for childhood nostalgia. The Epic mature on the other hand was eerily similar to the vegetarian cheddar that they normally brought. D couldn’t believe how realistic the mature cheddar tasted, stealing hunks of cheese when he thought A wasn’t looking. The naughty thief! The winner out of the two? Well, there was no clear winner, as both were equally delicious. As far as simple vegan recipes go, spaghetti and meatballs was a surefire classic.
She prepared the cheeseboard next, giggling in elation, as she theorized the cheesy concoction in her mind. The Violife Le Rond Camembert promised to be dreamy, and creamy, and A couldn’t wait to try her first vegan edition. With a normal camembert she would prick it, but as the vegan version did not have a rind it was needed. Carefully, she dribbled extra virgin olive oil in artistic splotches, melded with mixed chilli flakes, and fresh rosemary sprigs. It was utterly gorgeous to look at, punctuated with a dash of lemon oil for citric delight. She placed it in the oven with flair, concentrating on the sourdough next. It was a vegan black olive, and chilli sourdough, that was beautifully crunchy, yet soft in the middle. Again, the olive oil, and lemon concotion dribbled onto bread, baked with rosemary, garlic shavings, and a sprinkle of chilli.
As the camembert bubbled away, and the sourdough transformed, a magical delight was waiting to be essembled. The mother of all cheeseboards: the vegan reprisal. There were lime and chilli peanuts in a sea blue bowl, overlooking baked sourdough, crisped perfection. Juicy plump grapes thrown into ravenous mouths, the juices bursting. Salted olives, swimming in garlic and tomato olive oil, blueberries lurking horizontally. The camembert sat centre stage, imploring you to take a closer look, oozing slowly into delirious submission. What would they think? A and D were most skeptical about the camembert, a difficult cheese to recreate in vegan form. A was pleasantly surprised at the way it melted, but would have loved for it to have had a rind, for authentic taste. The cheese wasn’t the same granted, but it paired beautifully with sourdough, and salted crackers. D wasn’t quite as convinced, but his favourite would soon come into the picture.
Rosemary sprigs littered across the board, made way to Epic Mature Cheddar, expertly sliced into cheesy chunks, a glorious sight. Generously dusted with ground pepper, she paired it with a tomato and chilli chutney. She added it to the sourdough, for a camembert, and cheddar fusion, and it was surprisingly moerish. With a liberal sprinkling of chilli flakes, she bit into it with ecstacy. Oh what bliss. There were crackers too, and parmesan waiting, raspberries crawling onto the board, proving fruit and cheese was a winning combination.
On a smaller board there was original cheddar slices, and smoky cheddar slices in a sea of glorious yellow. The smoky cheddar slices lit a fire in A’s mouth, her personal favourite. She couldn’t believe how gorgeous the vegan smoky cheddar tasted, it was beautiful. The cheddar too was just as strong, stunning with marinated artichokes, that gave French picnic realness. The chilli chutney brought out the flavour of both slices, with a generous slathering of vegan butter swashed across sea salt crackers. As far as simple vegan recipes went, the cheeseboard was delectable, ideal with vegan red wine, sparkling water, or a vegan soft drink.
A set the table, humming under her breath, placing a colourful 70’s style floral printed tablecloth, in true Faded Spring fashion. The last piece of the puzzle piece needed to commence. Lo and behold, the simple Italian salad was prepared, wonderfully easy. There was no frills, bells or whistles here. Instead, there was a resoundingly delicious salad that complemented the vegan spaghetti and meatballs, and cheeseboard perfectly. Romaine lettuce shredded into olive oil, quartered tomatoes on a bed of olives. Thirst-quenching cucumber soaking up garlic and herb dressing, grated cheese sprinkled randomly in cheesy vegan fusion. It was easy as that, 1,2,3. A sprinkle there, a drizzle here, a smattering of sea salt and pepper in a seasoning crush. At last, they sat down and ate with reckless abandon. They ate for a long time, relishing the mouthfuls of vegan cheese that flooded their senses.
It was a symphony of taste, nothing too complex. Just simple vegan recipes that made their Sunday that extra bit special. A fusion of vegan cheeses that were layered with love. They ate and they ate until they could eat no more, until at last they were full. Their bellies pooched, and they sighed happily. A was always happiest when she ate food that made her feel good, and this fusion feast was no exception. A could never get enough of normal cheese, but now she had found vegan cheese that made her feel just as content. She waited for the day that Violife would make vegan brie a reality, and prayed for a time where vegan goats cheese was a thing. But for now she chomped down on smoky cheddar slices dotted with chilli chutney, sighing her eyes in placated contentment. Today, was a good day.
Cheesy Vegan Spaghetti And Meatballs
Cooking Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (it sounds like a long time- but we like to cook for longer)
Serves: 4-5 large portions
For The Marinara
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 Shallots, finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, diced
2 mixed peppers diced
4 walnuts shaved, and crushed
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 vegan beef stock cubes crushed
1/4 cup vegan red wine
1 can of crushed tomatoes
2 tsp oregano
2tsp red chilli flakes
Fresh basil leaves
2 packs of vegan meatballs
For the Spaghetti and Garnish
1 pack of spaghetti (to batch cook)
1/2 tsp of lemon oil
For The Marinara Sauce:
- Chop the garlic, shallots, and peppers (according to ingredients list), and set aside for the Marinara sauce. Put it into a mixing bowl, and add olive oil, oregano and
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes in their sauce, with the shallots, garlic cloves, olive oil, oregano and red pepper flakes .
- Put 2 vegan beef stock cubes into a jug with half a jug of boiling water, and dissolve mixture until completely mixed. Add the stock to the Marinara sauce, and boil it off.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of oil float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, and use a sturdy wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes again.
- We like to cook the sauce off until it is more of a stock (to reduce the acidity), but you can cook the sauce until it suits your needs.
For The Meatballs And Spaghetti
- Slow cook vegan meatballs in the Marinara mixture on low heat, so it captures the flavour of the sauce. We let it cook for 45mins- 1 hour depending on how much time we have. While this is cooking blend crushed walnuts in a blender, and add to the sauce to thicken. Add some vegan cheese of your choice to the sauce, and stir as neccessary.
- Add spaghetti into a pan of boiling water, infused with lemon oil, and cook until al-dente, or the texture you prefer. We cook for about 12-15 minutes depending on the spaghetti.
- Drain the spaghetti, add a dollop of vegan butter, and pepper to taste. Mix the vegan meatballs, and marinara sauce, and put a generous portion of vegan cheese. Voila tasty vegan spaghetti and meatballs!
Cooking Time & Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-5 people
1 cup of Lime and chilli peanuts
1/4 cup of blueberries
6 slices of Epic mature cheddar block
1 cup of tomato and garlic stuffed olives
1/4 cup of raspberries
4 bunches of green and red grapes
3/4 vegan sourdough loaf
1 cup of artichokes (marinated in olive oil and garlic)
1/4 pack of vegan crackers
5 smoky cheddar flavour slices
5 original flavour slices
Dollop of tomato and chilli chutney
6 rosemary branches (fresh)
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup of vegan parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
Drizzle of lemon oil
10 g of chilli flakes
1 cup of vegan parmesan
Desired amount of vegan butter
- Prepare the vegan Camembert with chilli flakes, olive oil, and rosemary sprigs. Bake in the oven for 3-5 minutes depending on the instructions.
- At the same time, prep the sourdough, and cut into chunky slices. Drizzle with olive oil, chilli flakes, and grated garlic, with some lemon oil. We like to cook it in the oven, but you can use a toaster. Bake for 3-5 minutes on each side.
- While the bread and vegan cheese are cooking, prep your vegan cheeseboard. To eat, we added vegan crackers, artichokes, smoky cheddar slices, cheddar slices, tomato and chilli chutney, mixed grapes, raspberries, marinated green olives stuffed with tomatoes and garlic, slices of epic mature cheddar, lime and chilli peanuts, and blueberries. We marinated the olives in olive oil, lemon oil, garlic, and mixed herbs like oregano, before stuffing them with sundried tomatoes.
- The bread and vegan cheese are ready so add to the board! To garnish add rosemary sprigs, a cup of vegan parmesan, a sprinkle of chilli flakes, sea salt, and add vegan butter to serve.
Simple Italian Vegan Salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4-5 people
1 Romaine Lettuce roughly shredded
50g of cherry tomatoes quartered
3/4 cucumber sliced roughly
1/2 a pack of vegan croutons
Handful of vegan original flavour grated cheese
20g shaved epic mature cheddar
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of vegan garlic and herb dressing
20 g of green stuffed olives quartered
- Shred romaine lettuce into a salad bowl. Cut tomatoes into quarters, and chop 3/4 of a cucumber into chunky slices.
- Add desired amount of green olives, and stuff with sundried tomatoes, or tomatoes of your choice. Put into a bowl with olive oil, grated garlic, lemon oil and chilli flakes, and marinate.
- Add olives into salad, and put 1/2 a pack of croutons on top of the salad. Grate large hunks of vegan cheddar, and add grated cheddar to salad.
- Garnish with olive oil, vegan garlic and herb dressing (you can make your own), and sprinkle sea salt and pepper to finish. Voila simple vegan recipes that won’t break the bank.
Do You Have Any Go To Simple Vegan Recipes That Are Cheese-Themed?
Please note this is a paid post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation. I paid for the Violife butter, and parmesan out of my pocket, as well as the remaining ingredients (excluding 5 vegan cheeses). These cheeses were the following: Original Flavour Grated, Epic Mature Cheddar Block, Original Flavour Slices, Smoky Cheddar Flavour Slices and Violife Le Rond Camembert Flavour. My personal favourite was the smoky cheddar flavour slices!