The Cheesy Vegan

More Than 125 Plant-Based Recipes for Indulging in the World’s Ultimate Comfort Food


By John Schlimm

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Long regarded as the missing link in the plant-based world, vegan cheese has come home to Main Street! With more than 125 recipes for every cheesy craving, John Schlimm has you covered from breakfast to lunch to a hearty dinner with family and friends. From easy recipes for everyday cheeses (including Cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella) to ultimate comfort food like Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Cafe Broccoli & Parmesan Quiche, Triple Your Pleasure Fondue, and the Cheesecake Extravaganza, you can include in all your cheesy favorites . . . with none of the dairy.


praise for john schlimm


“The Cheesy Vegan proves the point that living a vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods. These recipes are good for the body and leave nothing to be desired—John Schlimm is the Bobby Flay of the vegan movement.

            —Eddy Lu, CEO and co-founder of Grubwithus

With The Cheesy Vegan, John Schlimm continues his unique brand of tasty activism. Once again, John uses an irresistible and family-friendly collection of plant-based dishes that everyone, vegan and carnivore alike, will devour to poignantly convey his unconditional love for all animals.”

            —Robin Ganzert, PhD, president and CEO of American Humane Association

“The Cheesy Vegan is a heavenly dose of cheese-filled recipes that will please any and every palate. Take one look at the mouthwatering photos and recipes and you’ll want to dive right in (to a pool of vegan cheesecake)!”

            —Christy Morgan, The Blissful Chef, author of Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet

It’s hard to count the number of people who’ve told me over the years, ‘I could never stop eating cheese!’ Well, John Schlimm is here to say you don’t have to! In The Cheesy Vegan, he’s got a plethora of homemade vegan cheeses and related recipes that you’re sure to love, and cows will love you for choosing them!

            —Paul Shapiro, vice president of Farm Animal Protection for The Humane Society of the United States and founder of Compassion Over Killing

John’s recipes are my go-to for inspiration and The Cheesy Vegan is no exception. He’s actually come up with the missing link to making vegan eating complete—a great tasting and easy recipe for vegan blue cheese. Don’t be surprised if you see that one on our menu!

            —Doron Petersan, founder of Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats and author of Sticky Fingers’ Sweets

The homemade vegan cheeses and other related recipes in this beautifully crafted book bring health and kindness to a luscious new level. Cheese was always the hardest for vegans to emulate, and the one thing most non-vegans crave the most, so with the publication of this new masterpiece, we see the handwriting on the wall: Veganville is getting closer every day. Highly recommended!

            —Will Tuttle, PhD, best-selling author of The World Peace Diet, recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award, co-founder of Veganpalooza and Circle of Compassion, and acclaimed pianist and composer

Cheese is one of life’s great treats and to have it when it’s ‘cruelty-free’ is the best thing for all! John . . . Thank you for making the world a tastier place with The Cheesy Vegan!!!

            —Cornelia Guest, designer, philanthropist, and author of Cornelia Guest’s Simple Pleasures

For the past 26 years, I have been on exactly the same pathway as John Schlimm. I have wanted to delight and do less harm . . . and to have fun doing that. I literally am a kindred spirit except for one small thing: He is at least one lap ahead of me in being vegan. I’m so convinced about the power of plant-based foods in my own life and work that it is high time for me to take a deep breath and plunge into The Cheesy Vegan and see if I can at least not fall further behind! Let’s join John—it seems to be a great way to enjoy the truly good life!

            —Graham Kerr, award-winning cookbook author, culinary consultant, and host of The Galloping Gourmet


Our love for John Schlimm knows no bounds. . . . The man knows his way around a theme, not to mention a barbecue. . . . Schlimm is an author we’d love to stand around the grill with—gabbing, drinking, and saving the world all at once.


A common-sense and fun book about grilling that even carnivores can enjoy.

            —Washington Post

Who knew you could have so much fun grilling everything from salads and sandwiches to desserts?! Grilling Vegan Style is more than a cookbook; it’s a go-to handbook for outdoor living, eating, and celebrating.

            —Rory Freedman, coauthor of the #1 New York Times best seller Skinny Bitch

With Grilling Vegan Style, John has shown you ways to bring out flavors and taste you never thought possible. John’s recipe for Party on South Peach Salsa especially is to die for and will go with almost anything.

            —Chef Paul Kirk, CWC, PhB, BSAS, Kansas City Baron of BBQ, and author of Championship Barbecue and America’s Best BBQ

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about a vegan grilling book. After all in my world it’s all about the meat. I might even be considered a nonvegan! But John’s book has opened my eyes to the concept and his recipes are outstanding.”

            —Ray Lampe a.k.a. Dr. BBQ, author of Ribs, Chops, Steaks, and Wings and Dr. BBQ’s Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook

Veggie backyard BBQ warriors and grill pan guerrillas; John Schlimm, your knight in tofu armor has arrived, also bearing Spiked Ruby Daiquiris and other sipping delights.”

            —Terry Hope Romero, author of Viva Vegan! and coauthor of Veganomicon

This cookbook ensures that the magic of a summer barbecue or a night around the campfire can ignite your taste buds all year long.



His recipes are often spot-on and don’t require too many arcane or hard-to-source ingredients. Moreover, the addition of alcohol to his dishes—Bottom’s Up VegeBean Stew employs a dark beer for added oomph, Triple Sec is added to a blueberry pie as well as homemade granola—truly serves a purpose other than novelty. . . . Schlimm’s efforts will pay off for vegans, as well as their omnivorous guests.

            —Publishers Weekly

With beautiful, vivid photography and a refreshingly lucid tone despite the focus on spirits, The Tipsy Vegan is already a winner, but with a cookbook, no matter how fun the novelty, the recipes are what it’s all about, of course. This cookbook does not disappoint. An efficient but muscular little book, the recipes featured here are largely variations on classics but full of fun, flavor, and spark.”


other books by john schlimm:

Grilling Vegan Style

The Tipsy Vegan

Stand Up!

Twang: a novel

The Seven Stars Cookbook

The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook

The Beer Lover’s Cookbook

The Pennsylvania Celebrities Cookbook

Straub Brewery

The Straub Beer Party Drinks Handbook

The Straub Beer Cookbook

Corresponding with History

                    Just maybe, the moon is really made of

                    vegan cheese . . .


We have officially entered the Age of Vegan Cheese!

With two dozen easy, homemade vegan cheese recipes and variations followed by more than one hundred recipes for dishes either using those cheeses or re-creating the unique flavor and texture of cheese, The Cheesy Vegan gives the power of cheese back to the people. Within these pages, cheese becomes accessible to everyone, whether you are a lifelong vegan, one of my more carnivorous pals at home, or merely curious and hungry.

Since before recorded history, cheese has been one of the most beloved and sought-after foods in the world. Sliced, cubed, shredded, and spread, it has dutifully marched through the annals of time, from the walls of Egyptian tombs, where it was celebrated as a go-to ancient treat, straight into pop culture, thanks to the cheese wedge hats that have become the ultimate expression of cheesy love and standard propaganda at tailgating parties.

Although the very first cheeses were a whole lot saltier and even sour compared to what’s enjoyed today, traditional, dairy-based cheese has always been the toast of cozy family dinners, party appetizers, and midnight snacks. For everyone except vegans, that is.

Smooth, creamy, dairy delights to the tune of Cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, Parmesan, Brie, and so many more, have long been an epic tease, tempting and taunting those of us who follow a plant-based lifestyle. But no longer, my friends. Because now, we get to indulge, too!

The Cheesy Vegan transforms vegan cheese into the Main Street party it’s meant to be, whether for a casual family meal at home, a romantic date for two, or a full-blown bash where cheese, wine, and beer each become a convenient excuse to indulge in the other.

To start, I help you get your Cheesy Vegan Pantry stocked with all the basics, many of which you probably already have on hand. Like my other cookbooks, The Cheesy Vegan is small-town friendly, meaning I use ingredients that my friends and neighbors in my small hometown can easily find in our grocery stores or online, just like my big city pals can in their larger supermarkets. Plus, I use basic equipment and easy techniques that are geared toward the everyday home cook, whether a beginner or pro, so you can whip up a cheesylicious feast anytime you want.

The Cheesy Vegan Pantry is followed by Chapter 1: The DIY Vegan Cheese Kitchen, which is full of inspired, nondairy alternatives for everyone’s favorite cheeses: from a basic Cheddar (with smoked and horseradish variations), to regular and smoked mozzarella, to Swiss, Brie, and much more. This library of cheese recipes will carry you throughout the book, no matter the occasion, the craving, or how much time you have (or don’t have). Also, some of the recipes go solo, relying on their own inventive combinations of everyday ingredients to magically convey that familiar cheesy flavor and texture in a dish.

Brunches, lunches, and family suppers become instantly warm and cozy when the menus include Sunrise Bruschetta with Ricotta, Powdered Sugar & Lemon Zest; Four-Alarm Grilled Cheese & Jalapeño Sandwiches; Brie & Tomato Pasta Shells; and Build Your Own Quesadilla. Or laid-back soups and salads, such as Smoky Mountain Tomato & Cheddar Soup, Swiss Meets French Onion Soup, Three Beans Steal the Scene Salad, and Picnic Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Feta Cheese. And if it’s ooey-gooey, eyes-rolled-back-in-your-head comfort you’re after, head straight to the buffet of mac ’n’ cheese dishes in Chapter 8, and dig in!

Also, get ready to make the most of quality snack time with family and friends by serving quick bites, such as Flying Buffalo Dip, Cheddar Pub Dip, the Dynamic Jalapeño Popper Duo, and Parmesan Popcorn.

Of course, dessert is always an exclamation point to a great meal. The cheesecake chapter has—you guessed it—an array of sweet cheesecake delights: the Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate, Blueberry, and Banana Cheesecake Extravaganza; Pecan-Crusted Cheesecake Bars; White Chocolate Cheesecake Petit Fours; Cheesecake Party Parfaits; and Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake Smoothies.

Finally, Chapter 10 offers vegan cheese pairings with your favorite wines, beers, cocktails, and more. Whether for a swanky party or a barefoot, backyard barbecue, these buzz-worthy pairings have you covered for many endless days and nights filled with good memories, laughter, and dancing on tabletops.

My friends, it’s our time to raise a slice, a scoop, or a forkful to the new Kingdom of Cheese, where our appetites for good food and fun can run wild once more!

the cheesy vegan pantry

It would be impossible to always have every ingredient on hand, but it is certainly helpful to have a pantry of basics close by whenever you’re craving a cheesy snack or feast. This chapter lays out many of the standard ingredients that either are used frequently throughout the book in various recipes or have a starring role in a homemade cheese or dish that you will likely return to on a regular basis.


Agar, or agar-agar, which comes in powder or flakes, is a natural vegetable gelatin additive made from various species of red algae. Often used to make such things as jelly, custards, puddings, and desserts, it is especially prized within plant-based cooking for its high gelling capabilities, and because true gelatin is made from animal products. Agar actually has higher gelling properties than traditional gelatin does, and it sets in just an hour at room temperature. Note that the same volume measurement of agar flakes is half the quantity of agar powder.

While agar is available in most natural food stores and large supermarkets, it may also be obtained online at such places as,,,,,,, and

For other vegan gelatin needs, Lieber’s Unflavored Jel is recommended and is available online at


Every attempt has been made to confirm that the alcohol used throughout this book is either inherently vegan or produced in vegan forms by various companies. For more information on vegan brands of alcohol, please visit

The alcohol used in a few of the cheese and food recipes includes:

         Beer (dark, stout)

         Port wine

         Rum (white)

         Vermouth (white)


         Wine (dry red, dry white, Madeira, Marsala)

For the cheese, wine, beer, and cocktail pairing chart, please refer to page 220.


Beans are a vegan’s best friend; well, one of them, anyway. It’s always nice to have a variety of beans in the pantry. For our purposes here, the following beans are used throughout the book:

         Black beans

         Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

         Green beans

         Kidney beans

         Hot chili beans

         Refried beans (see note)

         Yellow beans

Note: When using refried beans, be sure to check the can’s label, as many brands are made with lard.


The best berries are always those that are in season and fresh from a local fruit stand or farmers’ market, or picked by you. The following is a list of the berries that are used in making the cheesecakes in Chapter 9 and other recipes:


         Cranberries (dried)


Also, various companies make berry-flavored vegan syrups that can also be drizzled on the cheesecakes, such as the Raspberry Chocolate Syrup by Santa Cruz Organic ( In stores, read the label carefully to determine whether the syrup contains any non-vegan ingredients.

bread, vegan

Just as for all products, when shopping for bread, read the ingredient labels carefully to determine whether a certain brand of bread is vegan, or visit the brand’s website. Sometimes, bread will contain refined sugar, milk, butter, or honey. In addition, you can also find many vegan bread recipes online. For the recipes that follow, feel free to experiment with different bread types, including making your own, while still sticking close to the recipe.

A variety of different breads are used throughout the book, including:

         Bread crumbs





         Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)



         Slider buns



         Whole wheat

cheese, vegan

In addition to the cheese recipes in Chapter 1, vegan cheese is starting to become more widely available in stores and online. Unfortunately, not all nondairy cheese is created the same, taste-wise. Some reliable brands of vegan cheese are listed in the Store-Bought Vegan Cheese Resource Guide on page 233.

chocolate, vegan

Vegan chocolate is available from such online sites as and In stores, read the label carefully to determine whether the chocolate contains any dairy products; ideally, it has been manufactured in a dedicated milk-free environment. Here, both regular and white chocolate are used to make the cheesecake recipes in Chapter 9.

Also, Santa Cruz Organic Chocolate Syrup, which comes in various flavors, is perfect for drizzling on cheesecakes and is even available in different flavors (


Extracted from the endosperm of a corn kernel, cornstarch is basically the starch of the corn grain. Here in the cheese recipes, as in other cooking, it is used as a thickening agent.

egg replacers, vegan


  • Publishers Weekly (website), starred review, 9/23/13

    “Even omnivores may want to give John Schlimm's…latest vegan endeavor a look. Vegans who were cheese lovers in a former culinary life will likely find this to be nothing short of revelatory. Schlimm's cheeses are all approachable—even those who usually steer clear of the kitchen may take a gander. A terrific addition to any vegan's library.”, 10/17/13

    “Newer vegans or those who really really miss cheese will adore this cookbook.”

    Edible Charlotte, Winter issue

    “This cookbook offers recipes that you'll want to try, whether vegan or not.”, 11/24/13

    “Bake a cheesecake from the cookbook and take it to a party. You're sure to be a hit.”

    San Francisco Book Review, 2/3/14

    “Delightful…Get Ready to Indulge!”

    Energy Times, 3/28/14
    “Author John Schlimm…gets the party started.”

    Joplin Globe, 4/28/14
    “A helpful starting point.”

    Taste for Life, June 2014
    “Cheese is back on the table!”

    The Advocate, 7/7/14
    “Helps you go vegan without giving up the ultimate comfort food: cheese.”

On Sale
Oct 1, 2013
Page Count
256 pages

John Schlimm

About the Author

John Schlimm is a member of one of the oldest brewing families in the US. He is the international award-winning author of several books, including The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook (awarded the “Best Beer Book in the U.S.” and “Best Beer Book in the World” by the Gourmand Awards), Harrah’s Entertainment Presents . . . The Seven Stars Cookbook, Tipsy Vegan, and Grilling Vegan Style, among other titles. He holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University, and travels the country speaking about cooking, entertaining, and public relations. He lives in Pennsylvania.

Learn more about this author