Open a deli in your own kitchen and start by serving this gouda melt made with vegan ham, smoky cashew cheese, and a sweet dijon mustard spread on your choice of a pretzel bun or brioche bun. Stack your favorite toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and stick a toothpick in the middle to hold your masterpiece together. This sandwich may look complex but it's simple to make and only requires ten minutes to prep and another ten minutes to cook. On that note, lunch is served!

"You’re going to be obsessed with this smoky Gouda cheese melt! The olive oil and spices give this cheese a rich, complex, savory flavor that is SO drool-worthy. Using the 5-minute tapioca method, this cheese comes together in 5 minutes flat when made with pre-soaked cashews. If you’re feeling extra, try this melt on a vegan pretzel bun!"
Prep Time:10 minutes

Cook Time:10 minutes

Smoky Gouda Melt

Yields 6 servings

Ingredients

Smoky Gouda Cheese

  • 11⁄4 cups (300 ml) water
  • 1⁄2 cup (80 g) raw cashews, soaked for 6+ hours or boiled for 10 minutes
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup (40 g) tapioca flour
  • 3 tbsp (26 g) nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp (4 g) smoked paprika
  • 3⁄4 + 1⁄8 tsp sea salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄8 tsp cayenne

For Serving

  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes
  • 12 slices of bread or 6 pretzel buns
  • 12 slices vegan ham (optional)
  • 6 tbsp (84 g) vegan butter
  • Pickle, sliced
  • 10 cups (2.5 L) soup of choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine the water, cashews, oil, tapioca flour, yeast, paprika, salt, onion powder, Dijon mustard, and cayenne in a high-powered blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. When the pan is very hot, pour the cheese mixture into it. Begin stirring right away with a wooden spoon. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. Stir and scrape constantly for 4 to 5 minutes. The cheese will get lumpy. Continue stirring quickly until all lumps disappear and the cheese is very gooey. Remove from the heat.
  3. Slice the tomatoes, discarding the watery seeds. Assemble the sandwiches with a thick layer of Gouda on your bread or bun. Press the tomato into the cheese and layer the vegan ham on top, if using. Top with bread, then butter the outsides. Put a griddle pan over medium heat.
  4. When the pan is hot, grill the sandwiches until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Serve right away, ideally with a sliced pickle and cup of soup.

Fresh Tip!
The stretchiness of the tapioca is activated by contact with a very hot pan. Preheating the saucepan before making this cheese is a crucial step. If the saucepan is not hot, the cheese will not get as stretchy. You should hear a loud sizzle when pouring the cashew mixture into the pan.

Reprinted with permission from Vegan YUM by Megan Sadd, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Megan Sadd