While I was staying in Brooklyn for the Peaceful Dumpling event over the weekend, I took full advantage of the opportunity to indulge in the variety of food establishments NYC has to offer. I didn’t have to walk far from wherever I was to find a good vegan spot or a place that had at least one meat-free meal. After a few days of eating beautiful macro bowls, raw pad Thai, juices, and smoothies, the one food that I went home craving again was a bagel. I don’t know if this was just one of those New York bagels that everyone is so obsessed with or if I just haven’t had a bagel in so long I forgot how much I once loved them, but I vow to never break up with bagels again.
What initially turned me off from bagels was the slabs of cream cheese that came with them, sometimes spread two inches thick. I know this can easily be replaced with Tofutti or Daiya’s cream cheese, but both of these taste like chalk blended with soybeans to me. Most bagels also contain milk and egg, so replacing the cream cheese alone isn’t enough to make it vegan. If you have never made bread or bagels before, the process is easier than it seems, and the majority of the prep time is waiting for the dough to rise and then bake. There is also a high chance you already have 99% of the ingredients on hand in your cabinet.
This recipe uses cashews as the base for the cream cheese substitute. Nutritional yeast is added to give it a cheesy flavor and the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar give the cheese a tangy kick. The result is a spread that is high in magnesium, B vitamins, iron, and fiber. You can add in any other fresh herbs and flavors that you would like to adapt this to your own taste buds. If I had scallions on hand I would have definitely added them to my cream cheese. You can also experiment with the spices and seeds you use to sprinkle on top of your bagels.
Vegan Bagels and Cashew Cream Cheese
Prep Time: 1 hr, 10 min
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr, 45 minutes
Yield: 8-10 bagels + 1 cup cream cheese
For the Bagels:
3 1/2 cups organic, unbleached flour
4 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. sea salt
3 tbsp. cane sugar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
fresh ground black pepper
Himalayan sea salt
raw hemp hearts
For the Cashew Cream Cheese:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for an hour
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. sea salt
For the Bagels:
1. Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add the water and use the paddle attachment to beat the mixture. After a ball of dough has formed, switch to the dough hook attachment and knead for about 5 minutes.
2. Place a damp dish towel over the bowl and let the dough rise for about an hour. (This is the same hour I used to soak my cashews)
3. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve.
4. Break the risen dough into 8-10 pieces and roll them into balls. Stick your thumb through the center of each ball and use this to shape the dough into a bagel shape, coating your hands in flour before handling each. This is important because the dough is sticky and wet and your floured hands will make it easier to work with.
5. Once the bagel shapes are created, drop each one into the boiling water for a minute each, flipping at the 30 second mark. I dropped 2-3 bagels in at a time. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on the baking sheet. While they are still wet, sprinkle with the rosemary, black pepper, sea salt, and hemp hearts. You can sprinkle these with really any spices and seeds you like.
6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Be sure not to over bake because you don’t want them to burn when you toast them later!
7. Remove from oven, let cool, and store in a cool, dry place for up to a week. You can freeze these for later use too.
For the Cashew Cream Cheese:
1. Drain the cashews.
2. Add all cashew cream ingredients to blender.
3. Blend until smooth.
I topped my bagel with the cashew cream cheese and added tomatoes to make it a sandwich but you can modify this recipe in so many ways to fit your personal taste preferences! The cashew spread can also be eaten as a veggie dip, spread on crackers, or used in wraps.
More recipes by Lauren: Vegan Summer Squash Socca
More delicious breakfast ideas: Best Tofu Scramble Recipe
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Photo: Lauren Sacerdote