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This vegan queso cotija is crumbly, salty, and tangy. There’s absolutely no dairy in it and it’s delicious. It is perfect for topping sopes, chilaquiles, enchiladas, gorditas, salads, and pastas.

This vegan queso cotija is crumbly, salty, and tangy. There’s absolutely no dairy in it and it’s delicious. It is perfect for topping sopes, chilaquiles, enchiladas, gorditas, salads, and pastas.

If you are new to veganism I just want to let you know that I get it, I miss cheese too. I loved cheese, all kinds of cheese! This is why I detest processed vegan cheese, because it just doesn’t taste like the original. (I haven’t had the privilege of tasting Miyokos vegan cheese, they say it’s a game changer though.) There are exceptions to this, like this vegan cotija cheese which is made from almonds. It of course is not like the original, but let’s just say it evokes the sensation and taste of cotija cheese.

This vegan queso cotija is crumbly, salty, and tangy. There’s absolutely no dairy in it and it’s delicious. It is perfect for topping sopes, chilaquiles, enchiladas, gorditas, salads, and pastas.

This vegan queso cotija is crumbly, salty, and tangy. There’s absolutely no dairy in it and it’s delicious. It is perfect for topping sopes, chilaquiles, enchiladas, gorditas, salads, and pastas.

Cotija is actually a small town in the mountains of the state of Michoacan. The cheese is said to have originated more than 400 years ago. It was made by the local people to keep milk from spoiling by turning it into aged cheese. The cheese is aged for about 3 months and is available in large rounds. I visited Cotija, many years ago, and I remember being blown away by the sight of the huge cheese rounds in the local shops and restaurants.

This vegan queso cotija is crumbly, salty, and tangy. There’s absolutely no dairy in it and it’s delicious. It is perfect for topping sopes, chilaquiles, enchiladas, gorditas, salads, and pastas.

You must be wondering why I’m talking about the actual cheese making. Well, this blog is all about making traditional Mexican food vegan, but also about preserving our Mexican food traditions and food culture as much as possible. So, it’s important to look into the history a little bit. Plus, I’m a total food nerd.

This vegan queso cotija is crumbly, salty, and tangy. There’s absolutely no dairy in it and it’s delicious. It is perfect for topping sopes, chilaquiles, enchiladas, gorditas, salads, and pastas.

The Recipe: Vegan Queso Cotija

I got the idea of using almonds for this cheese from Eddie Garza’s book Salud, Vegan Mexican and from this recipe from Veggies Don’t Bite. I’ve put my own spin on it.

  • Use slivered almonds, do not soak them.
  • You can also use lime juice instead of lemon juice.
This vegan queso cotija is crumbly, salty, and tangy. There’s absolutely no dairy in it and it’s delicious. It is perfect for topping sopes, chilaquiles, enchiladas, gorditas, salads, and pastas.

Vegan Queso Cotija

This vegan queso cotija is crumbly, salty, and tangy. There’s absolutely no dairy in it and it’s delicious. It is perfect for topping sopes, chilaquiles, enchiladas, gorditas, salads, and pastas.
4.2 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cotija, vegan cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 23 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 day
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Dora S.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp. Lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Brine from a jar of manzanilla olives
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Place the almonds. Lemon juice, brine, and salt in a food processor.
  • Process until you get a crumbly mixture resembling cheese, about 4-5 minutes. Be careful not over process or you’ll end up with almond butter.
  • Place mixture in a cheese cloth or nut bag and twist tight to close and squeeze all of the excess liquid out.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 24 hrs.
  • Remove cheese from cloth and crumble.

Video

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Notes

You can also use lime juice. Recipe adapted from Veggies Don’t bite
If you eat nutritional yeast, add 1 tsp. to the recipe before processing.

I never liked atole as a child, probably because we would have those artificially flavored packets of Maizena atole. This almond atole is something completely different. Almond milk, ground almonds, cinnamon. piloncillo, and masa harina combine to make this a warm, comforting, and sweet beverage.

Atole is a drink from pre-hispanic times that can be sweet or savory depending on the region in Mexico where you are. It was drank by the indigenous people of Mexico for breakfast or sometimes as a meal in itself. It was also used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Traditionally, it is made by dissolving ground dried corn in milk or water, and adding fruits or different flavorings to it. It is available all year, but is especially popular in the winter months.

Currently, atole is also made with cornstarch, rice flour, oat flour, or barley. Its consistency ranges from thin and milky, to very thick.  It is drank on special occasions like the Day of the Dead, Christmas, baptism, first communions, weddings, and feast days. Tamales and atole is classic pairing and one you should definitely try.

While doing research on atole I happened to find that almond atole is a favorite of my home state, Coahuila. I had never tried it before, so I decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was, and nothing like the packaged version of atole that you can find at Mexican grocery stores. Like always, I made way too much of it, and saved what we didn’t drink in the fridge. The next day I served it to the kids for breakfast, almost like a porridge, and they ate it all up.

The Recipe: Almond Atole (Atole Almendrado)

I have used masa harina or maseca for this recipe. but if you have access to fresh masa I would recommend you use that instead. You can buy fresh masa at some tortillerias or Mexican groceries. Also make sure the cinnamon stick is a true ceylon cinnamon (also known as Mexican cinnamon). You can use whatever sweetener you like, I used piloncillo, but brown sugar would also work well. I haven’t made this recipe too sweet, so feel free to sweeten it up. ¡Enjoy!

This almond atole combines almond milk, ground almonds, cinnamon. piloncillo, and masa harina to make a warm, comforting, and sweet beverage.

Almond Atole (Atole Almendrado)

This almond atole combines almond milk, ground almonds, cinnamon. piloncillo, and masa harina to make a warm, comforting, and sweet beverage
3.88 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Total Time: 25 minutes
Author: Dora S.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 stick Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 cup Masa harina, maseca
  • 1 ½ cups Raw Almonds or (1 2/3 cup almond meal)
  • ½-3/4 cup Piloncillo, brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. Ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Heat almond milk in a medium sauce pot, bring to a simmer.
  • While the milk comes to a simmer, grind the almonds in your blender until they resemble a powder. Set aside.
  • Dissolve the masa harina in a little bit of water.
  • Add the masa harina to the almond milk, and mix well.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the ground almonds, cinnamon, and piloncillo to the saucepot. Simmer at very low heat for 15 minutes. Stir well.
  • Serve hot. As it cools it will thicken, so add more almond milk if necessary.

Notes

I have used masa harina or maseca for this recipe. but if you have access to fresh masa I would recommend you use that instead. Also make sure the cinnamon stick is a true ceylon cinnamon (also known as Mexican cinnamon). You can use whatever sweetener you like, I used piloncillo, but brown sugar would also work well.