Vegan Cream Cheese made with Butter Beans is a great plant-based spread to use in place of conventional cream cheese. It’s surprising how delicious it is.
Vegan Cream Cheese Using Butter Beans
You’d never guess what’s in this vegan cream cheese if it wasn’t in the title of the recipe. This doesn’t taste like beans. It’s thick, creamy, tangy, and spreadable.
What Are Butter Beans and How Do They Turn Into Cream Cheese??
Here’s the scoop on butter beans. They’re actually mature lima beans. Here in the US, we tend to find most lima beans in the green and immature stage. This means the beans are picked when they’re still green and pliable. In Europe, limas are usually eaten when mature. That means the beans are allowed to fully ripen, turn brown, dry on the vine, and are then cooked like any other dried beans. It’s kind of like the difference between edamame and mature soybeans.
These are dry, white butter beans. You can cook these like any dried beans and use them in this recipe or just use the canned version.
That was way TMI about butter beans. And here’s more. Beans are actually a great base to make cream cheese. They’re dense, blend well, and are full of protein. The combination of the dense protein of the beans and some thickeners and oil equals a pretty tasty reasonable facsimile for cream cheese.
The process is really easy. Just blend the beans and other ingredients in a high-speed blender until very smooth and creamy and then gently simmer in a pot on the stove until thickened, which only takes a few minutes. The photo above is the cooking in a pot part.
Instant oats give this cream cheese a kind of silky creaminess and also is adding some volume without a whole lot of calories (if calories are something you like to consider … if you don’t that’s cool and please disregard this!). In fact, this whole recipe is far less calorically dense than most vegan cream cheeses and way better than dairy cream cheese!
Vegan Lactic Acid
An ingredient you may not have yet is Lactic Acid. I highly recommend this for any vegan cheese making. Despite the name, it’s not a milk product and is vegan. It’s made from fermented sugars. It’s great in so many things. I use it, along with Psyllium husk powder, to get a good texture and flavor in vegan, gluten-free pizza crusts like this one. In breads it can give a sourdough sort of flavor and aroma.
But in cheese, that’s where lactic acid really shines. It adds a tang that’s hard to achieve any other way.
Citric acid can be used in addition to lactic acid and in place of lemon juice, but if you don’t have any just use lemon juice.
And finally, this isn’t rocket surgery, You can omit the lactic acid if you must. Just use salt and lemon juice to get the flavor, It won’t be quite the same, but it should still be creamy and tasty.
Using and Storing Vegan Cream Cheese
This can be used as a spread or a thick dip. I thinned it for a sauce for tacos. It’s versatile. I haven’t tried it for cheesecake, though, but will do that soon … I think it has possibilities!
Store this in a covered container in the fridge for up to a couple of days. It makes about 2 cups.
Cost of Home-Made Plant-Based Cream Cheese
This is relatively inexpensive, especially when a small tub of vegan cream cheese can be anywhere from $3 to $6. This entire batch that made about 16 ounces cost about $1.50 in ingredients.
Let me know if you try this! Would love to hear how it turns out! XO Lisa
- 15 oz canned butter beans, with liquid
- 1/2 cup instant oats
- 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil (the kind that doesn't smell like coconut).
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
- 1/2 teaspoon lactic acid powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid powder
- Place everything in a high-speed blender and puree until very smooth and creamy. This will take about 3-4 minutes in a Vitamix. If the mixture gets too difficult to blend, add a little water when necessary. Blend until the mix is super smooth any lumps or bumps are gone.
- Pour the mixture into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Over medium heat and stirring constantly, simmer the mixture gently until the mixture has thickened and turned smooth and glossy.
- Keep in mind it can get clumpy at first. Just continue stirring until it smooths out and thickens.
- Pour into a lightly greased glass (or other) container and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Then place in the refrigerator for another 30-40 minutes or so, until chilled.
- Store leftovers in the fridge, covered, for up to a few days.
Use refined coconut oil, which has no odor or taste. The unrefined will taste and smell strongly of coconut!
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Nature’s Path Instant Oats, Healthy, Organic & Sugar Free, 1 Canister, 18 Ounces (Pack of 6)
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 2-Quart Saucepan with Cover
Mezzoni Foods Lactic Acid Food Grade 10 Ounce – Natural Preservative, pH Reducer, Vegan Cheese Powder and Flavoring Agent – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO and Kosher
Eden Organic Butter Beans, 15 Oz
Serving Size:2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40
Hello! I’m Lisa, a vegan artist, photographer, author, Vegan Life Coach Educator, and RYT 200 yoga teacher. I love showing others how simple and delicious a plant-based diet can be. I draw and paint, cook, write, take lots of pics, eat lots of chocolate, and practice gratitude daily.