Someone recently mentioned longing for packaged string cheese as a child, and it got me thinking on coming up with a vegan version. Now I'm positive that prepackaged vegan cheese sticks are either out there somewhere (?) or in the works, but it's still nice to come up with a healthy homemade version (and this one happens to be soy-free to boot). This vegan "cheddar" is a recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan's subscription-only newsletter; it's made from a base of roasted red peppers and tahini, with magical gelling agents agar and carrageenan. I poured the warm mixture into an ice stick tray to create a cheese stick shape. I'm sure you could do the same with any of the vegan block cheese recipes out there, in books like Dairy-Free and Deliciousor The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.
Next to the cheese sticks are baby carrots and jicama, a kiwi fruit, and soy crisps. For dessert, two slices of dried mango are resting in a muffin cup next to the crisps.
Verdict: The sticks were softer than regular cheese, but still finger-foodable. These were much, much better than my last block cheese attempt -- more flavorful and without that overwhelming mustard taste, and oddly enough without an overwhelming red pepper flavor, either. Shmoo only ate one, though, and says he still prefers transfat-filled Tofutti slices. He liked the soy crisps, but I wonder what happened to plain old mini-rice cakes -- sometimes even a vegan wants a break from all that soy! 3 stars.
Update: Right after dinner shmoo asked, "Are there more of those cheese sticks?" and then proceeded to eat all the rest. "But I thought you didn't like them?!?" I exclaimed. "No, I decided they were good!" So hey, you just never know!