Plant-Based Mozzarella Sticks

Next time you are looking for finger food to serve at your next gathering this plant-based appetizer is ideal. The mozzarella has a cashew butter base that is easy to make in the NutraMilk, mixed with a small amount of starches to give it consistency. You can make this recipe easily gluten-free by using GF breading. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

For cashew mozzarella:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours or overnight
  • 1 cup almond milk made with the NutraMilk
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp agar powder (add 1/4 tsp more for a more set cheese)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan butter (or evoo)
  • a generous pinch of onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper flakes (optional) 

For breading:

  • 1/4 cup flour

For breading wet:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxmeal
  • 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, salt, smoked paprika

For breading dry:

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp each of salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian herb blend (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary)

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the Mozzarella:

  • Add cashews to the NutraMilk and process until you get a butter consistency.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients under mozzarella and process into a smooth puree. Taste and adjust salt and tang if needed.

  • Pour into a pan and cook at medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning, for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is really thick and starts to leave the pan (or is at a soft lightly sticky dough stage).

  • Grease a small bread pan (I used 5.75 by 3-inch pan) or other pan with extra virgin olive oil and drop the mozzarella in it. Even it out using a spatula. Cool completely, cover the pan and let set in the refrigerator for an hour or more.

Set up the Breading station when ready to fry or Bake:

  • Keep flour in one plate.
  • Mix everything under Breading Wet in a bowl.
  • Mix everything under Breading Dry in another deep plate or bowl.

Make mozzarella bread sticks

  • Remove the cheese from the pan and Slice the Mozzarella into about 1/4 inch thin slices (The cheese will not be a shred-able hard cheese. It should just be set enough to slice). Keep the slices small since the breading is going to increase the size by 2 or 3 times. Roll each slice in flour. Then dip it in the wet mixture, then dip in the breadcrumbs to coat well. Place on parchment lined sheet. Bread all the slices and freeze for 10 minutes. Then fry or bake:

Fry:

  • Heat enough oil in a fryer or deep pan on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the sticks 2 or 3 at a time to fry. The oil should be hot enough that it takes only a minute to brown one side of the sticks. Flip and cook for another half or 1 minute depending on the heat and quantity of oil. Remove and serve immediately. Wait for a minute before adding the next batch so the oil can come back to a high temperature.

Bake:

  • If baking, then freeze the breaded mozzarella for 15 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Remove moxy sticks from freezer, spray oil or brush oil on the sticks. Bake for 4 minutes. Move the sheet to the top level of the oven and Broil for 1 minute or until the breading starts to brown. Remove and serve immediately with marinara, ranch or other favorite sauces.

 

Prepared and photographed by NutraMilk nutritionist, Florencia Tagliavini.

Recipe inspired by Vegan Richa.