I Tried a Vegan 'Cheese' Recipe Made From Sauerkraut (Yes, You Read That Correctly)
I'm not vegan, but I've always enjoyed eating plant-based foods.
And after completing two rounds of Whole 30 in the past year, I really had a chance to explore extensive vegan options. The program allows you to eat meat (which I totally admit loving), but dairy is forbidden—and since my first time completing the challenge, I've eliminated all dairy products from my day-to-day diet.
While I cannot stand soy-based vegan cheese (or anything soy-based, really), nut-based cheeses are absolutely delicious. Only problem is they're incredibly difficult to make from home (believe me, I've tried—and failed). Not only that, but they take forever, including some overnight processes.
Bottom line: I've given up on making any form of vegan cheese from home… until I read an article on The Takeout about making a Cheez Whiz-like substance solely from combining sauerkraut and nutritional yeast, suggesting that the combo of "the complex richness of nutritional yeast with the funky juices of salty cabbage kraut" is a foolproof alternative to the real thing.
After scouring the web for similar recipes, I had to double-check the date the article was written to make sure it wasn't on April Fools' Day, because I couldn't find any similar listings elsewhere. After accepting that the site was indeed presenting this bizarre combo as the real deal, I immediately purchased a can of sauerkraut and retrieved the trusty tub of nutritional yeast from my spice cabinet.
I headed into work today, and just before lunchtime, I assembled my concoction. I measured out the 1/4 cup of sauerkraut into a glass jar, and mixed in the 1 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast. I let it sit for a little bit, tightened up the jar and threw it into my book bag for wherever I'd go next for lunch.
The website suggests spreading the mixture onto a slice of bread or "turning a basic, dry, veggie burger into an umami paradise." I was still on the fence, but the prep and cleanup is incredibly quick, and this didn't break the bank by any means, so I didn't really see any harm. I wasn't necessarily planning to eat a burger for lunch, but Mendocino Farms, across the street from my office, makes a mean, lettuce-wrapped Impossible Burger, so I guess all signs were pointing to go!
My burger looked absolutely delicious when it was ready. I couldn't wait to dive in. The plan was to spread the "cheese replacement" onto the meat patty and dive on in. Luckily, I stopped myself. If it was gross, that would be a wasted $13 and then there's the process of getting back in line again and placing a fresh order. So, instead, I took my fork and scooped up a generous helping of the mixture and shoved it into my mouth.
Gross. All I can say is thank goodness I tried the "cheese" before ruining my perfectly crafted Impossible Burger. I am completely convinced that The Takeout's recipe was a huge prank to see who'd actually fall for it. Welp! Consider me a sucker. That mixture was the grossest thing I've tasted in a very long time. Sauerkraut is, well, you know what that tastes like. And even though nutritional yeast is used in a slew of vegan recipes, by itself it's kinda gross, and its smell has always reminded me of fish food. Yuck.
I don't recommend this to anyone—but if you want to play an April Fools' Day prank on someone, we've got you covered for next year!
In the mood for food that's actually guaranteed to taste good? Check out our definitive ranking of the most popular White Castle sliders HERE!