One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to experiment making different kinds of vegan cheese. I’m always trying new recipes and culturing methods. Of all the sliceable vegan cheeses I’ve made so far, the fresh mozzarella on this vegan Caprese sandwich is by far the easiest and quickest. It doesn’t need to be cultured at all, so once the ingredients are combined, it simply just needs to set in the fridge before eating. One thing I will say is that this cheese does not melt, which is why it’s so well-suited for a Caprese recipe. That being said, this sandwich is certainly not your average Caprese recipe. Packed with earthy portobello mushrooms, creamy mozzarella, vibrant tomatoes, and fresh basil pesto, each element creates a symphony of flavors all layered on a crusty baguette.
Vegan Caprese Sandwich
with Roasted Portobello Mushrooms, Fresh Mozzarella, & Pesto Mayo
- 1 fresh baguette
- 8 small portobello mushrooms, washed and stems trimmed
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Homemade Fresh Mozzarella*
- 1 ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp white miso paste, or just another ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 2 tsp agar flakes
- ½ cup water
- Finely sliced tomato
- Pesto Mayo:
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
- ½ cup of vegan mayo
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1½ tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Balsamic Glaze:
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
- To make the Homemade Fresh Mozzarella: In a high-speed blender, add cashews, 1 cup water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, sea salt, miso, onion powder, and tapioca. Blend until completely smooth. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together 1/2 cup water and agar flakes. Bring to a boil, cover for 3-4 minutes, then check to see the agar flakes are fully dissolved. Add blender mixture, whisking quickly. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens significantly, becomes stretchy, and develops a slight sheen. Pour into a glass container, cover, and let set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- To make the Pesto Mayo: In a small food processor, add basil, vegan mayo, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse until fully combined and smooth. Set aside.
- To roast the Portobello Mushrooms: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the portobello mushrooms on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes; then remove from the oven, and set aside.
- To make the Balsamic Glaze: In a small pan, whisk together balsamic vinegar and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the glaze has noticeably thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before using.
- To assemble: Cut the baguette into four equal parts. Slice in half length-wise. Open up the bread and spread a layer of pesto on the bottom slice. Layer two portobello mushrooms on top of the pesto, then two slices of the vegan mozzarella. Drizzle the balsamic glaze, then layer tomato slices on top. Repeat the layering process for each sandwich.
*Note: You can also use store-bought vegan fresh mozzarella. Miyoko’s Kitchen makes a great packaged Fresh VeganMozz.12