This cheese was created for those who cannot or prefer not to eat dairy or who would like traditional recipes like tacos, but for religious reasons are bound from combining dairy and meat. This sharp cheese, which contains roughly the same fat and calories as real cheddar cheese, most closely resembles processed sharp cheese, almost cloning the taste of Velveeta.

It should shred easily by hand, but you may want to freeze it until very firm (but not solid) for easier handling, if you choose to use less agar. This recipe makes 3-4 cups (about a pound) of non-dairy cheddar. Ingredient substitutions for those avoiding nuts, soy, or nightshades follow the recipe.

Please note: the quality of agar varies widely from brand to brand, so you may have to adjust your amounts until you achieve the texture you’re seeking.


2 cups water
1-2 tbsp. agar powder (or 5 tbsp. agar flakes) – please note, brands of agar perform differently, and this amount needs to be altered to YOUR brand’s strength
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 1/2 cups blanched, slivered almonds *
1 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup white miso **
2 tbsp. Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
2 tbsp. pureed red peppers ***
1 lemon -flesh and juice only (NO seeds or skin)
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt


Oil, spray or grease a small rectangular container or loaf pan.

In a small saucepan, mix the agar powder and 1 1/2 cups of water and let sit for a few minutes. Bring to a boil on medium heat, adding the coconut oil. Let boil, stirring occasionally, for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of your food processor, blend the almonds. At first they will turn into almond meal and then will begin to turn into almond paste. Add the miso, flour and nutritional yeast and process until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl and turns a bit doughy. Add the tomato paste, lemon, onion powder and salt and blend until thoroughly combined.

At this point, the agar and coconut oil should be melted and bubbling like thick syrup or hot gelatin. Quickly pour into the food processor. Process the whole thing until smooth. This should be about the consistency of cake batter or smooth cheese sauce. Add a little water if necessary – up to 1 1/2 cups, if you find your mixture is too thick, and blend again.

Scrape into the prepared container and let cool uncovered, at least 3 hours or overnight, in the fridge. You may cover it after 3 hours. This will continue to flavor-meld and is better if left overnight. May be shredded or used anywhere cheddar is called for.

* Those avoiding nuts can use plain whole fat soy milk instead of the water in the recipe (omit the nuts entirely) OR may substitute raw hulled sunflower seeds instead. You should also increase the agar by 1 tbsp. ( 3 tbsp. of flakes) to thicken the body. This will yield a smoother, softer cheese.
** Those avoiding soy products can use tahini instead, and should also do one of the following:

  • Substitute 2 tbsp. ume plum vinegar for half of the lemon
  • Increase the onion powder by 1-2 tsp.

*** Tomato paste can be used instead of pureed red peppers. Those avoiding nightshades can use 1-2 tsp. ground annatto (American saffron) and a dash of turmeric instead