Brace yourself for these homemade vegan cheese stuffed breadsticks! Fresh out of the oven the smell of this pillowy soft garlic bread will have you weak in the knees. But that's not all. There's melted homemade vegan cheese inside! These cheesy breadsticks are oil-free, or if you're into it, drizzle them with melted vegan garlic butter.
Truly, these vegan breadsticks could appear in the dictionary as the definition of irresistible. Sure, they're not even remotely photogenic, and I've now awarded them the title "Most Difficult Food to Photograph." But on flavor, texture, and aroma? TRUST ME.
I made four test batches to get the moisture level and flavor of the cheese just right, and every single time I ended up eating WAY more than I wanted to. I mean, fresh bread + garlic + herbs. Ugh, I'm powerless to it.
If you're feeling intimidated by making your own dough, I'm here to hold your hand and cheer you on because you really can do this!
Inspired by my Vegan Stuffed Crust Pizza, this breadstick dough is essentially a pizza dough, but with less kneading because we want the breadsticks to remain soft and fluffy.
The cheese we're using today is also similar to the stuffed crust pizza recipe, but minus the oil (because it 100% doesn't need it), and with less water. Here's the trick to getting these breadsticks just right:
You want enough water so the cheese is moist and soft when warm but not so much that there's excess steam trapped inside the breadsticks. Because as they get hot that steam needs somewhere to go, so it busts holes in the bread leading to a cheese escape!
And for this reason, it's probably not a good idea to substitute a different vegan cheese recipe, though store-bought shreds should work.
Make sense? Okay, let's take a look at the process.
How to Make Stuffed Vegan Breadsticks
For complete instructions be sure to scroll down to the recipe. If you're new to making dough and vegan cheese use these step-by-step photos as a guide.
Make the dough
Begin by combining yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and dried herbs.
Once the yeast mixture is foamy (about 5 minutes), add it to the dry ingredients, and stir to form a shaggy dough.
Next, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, then place the ball of dough in a large clean bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dish towel, and set aside to proof for one hour. *For the best flavor and texture, don't skip this step!
While the dough is rising, make the cheese.
Make the cheese
Blend all cheese ingredients until smooth. A high-speed blender makes this easy, but soaking the nuts overnight helps if using a standard blender.
Pour into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisking constantly, cook the cheese for 3 to 4 minutes or until it has thickened (photo above left).
NOTE: if NOT using the optional agar, your cheese won't look quite as thick at this stage. It will still thicken thanks to the tapioca, just not quite as much.
Immediately remove from heat and scoop the cheese onto a plate. Loosely shape it into a rectangle about 5 by 7 inches. This doesn't need to be perfect. Alternatively, if you have a small Pyrex storage container like the one pictured above, that works, too.
Refrigerate the cheese uncovered until cool and set, which will be right around the same time the dough has doubled in size.
Stuff the breadsticks
Shape the dough into a thick disc, then cut into 6 equal pieces.
Use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into an oval approximately 7 inches long by 4 ½ inches wide. Cut a slice of cheese and place in the center of the oval.
You won't quite use the whole batch of cheese. Refrigerate the rest to snack on later.
Fold one side of the dough over the cheese, pressing down on the dough to seal the cheese inside.
Tuck in the ends of the dough, and finish rolling it into a log. Pinch the dough along the seams to make sure it's well sealed.
Arrange breadsticks 2 to 3 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with a tea towel, and set aside for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bake the breadsticks for 11 to 13 minutes, keeping a VERY close eye on them after the ten minute mark.
The dough will be pale when they're done, and you might feel tempted to bake them longer. But be forewarned, the cheese WILL bust free at some point. So the key is to pull the breadsticks from the oven just before that happens.
Usually you'll see one breadstick beginning to bulge in the middle. This means they're done, and it's almost time to eat!
Tips and Options
- I've tested both raw cashews and blanched slivered almonds in this cheese recipe. Both are great, so use your favorite.
- Agar agar helps the cheese set more firmly, making it easier to handle when slicing and placing in the dough, but isn't critical to the recipe. It is a handy ingredient to have on hand for making a variety of vegan cheeses and desserts like strawberry jell-o.
- When rolling out the dough, it certainly doesn't need to be perfect, but try not to roll it too thin in any spots. This helps contain cheese during baking.
- The recipe makes just 6 large breadsticks, which is perfect for 2 or 3 people. If you're cooking for a crowd, simply tap/click on the "2X" or "3X" buttons in the recipe card below to automatically adjust the ingredient amounts.
- Ideally, breadsticks should be enjoyed when hot and fresh, but I found the leftovers to reheat surprisingly well! See the Notes section in the recipe.
- Hot tip! If you include oil in your diet, don't skip the melted garlic butter. These breadsticks are fantastic without it, but with it? Wowsa.
I hope you love these Vegan Cheese Filled Breadsticks as much as we do! If you try the recipe be sure to leave a comment below to let everyone know how they turned out. Happy baking!
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Vegan Cheese Stuffed Breadsticks
For the dough:
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (or one .25 oz packet)
- 1 teaspoon organic cane sugar
- ⅔ cup lukewarm water It should not feel hot to the touch, just warm.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley, optional
- ½ teaspoon dried chives, optional
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, optional
For the cheese:
- ½ cup raw cashews or scant ½ cup blanched slivered almonds If not using a high-speed blender, soak nuts overnight, then drain well.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons agar agar powder, optional This helps the cheese set and makes it easier to work with but can be omitted.
- 1 ⅛ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic, zested or minced
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl. Stir gently, and let rest 5 minutes. The mixture should become foamy; if it doesn't the yeast might not be fresh.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt, garlic powder, and dried herbs. Add the yeast mixture, and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, turning it over on itself just 15 times, or so.
- Place the ball of dough in a large clean bowl (I like to rinse and dry the mixing bowl just used), and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Set aside in a warm place, if possible, for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- While the dough rises, make the cheese. In a blender combine all cheese ingredients. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Pour cheese mixture into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisking constantly, cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened.
- Scoop the cheese onto a plate to cool, forming it into a rectangle about 5 inches by 7 inches, or use a similarly sized glass storage dish. Refrigerate cheese until cool and set, which will be about the same time the dough has finished proofing.
- The dough will be sticky. Sprinkle the work surface with flour, and shape the dough into a thick disc. Use a knife or bench scraper to divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Use a rolling pin to roll out each piece of dough into an oval roughly 7 inches by 4 ½ inches. See photos.
- Cut a slice of cheese and place in the center of the oval. Fold one side of the dough over the cheese, pressing down on the dough to seal the cheese inside. Fold in the ends of the dough, and finish rolling it into a log. Pinch the dough along all seams to make sure it's well sealed. *You won't quite use the whole batch of cheese. Snack on the remainder or refrigerate for later.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange breadsticks 2 to 3 inches apart. Cover with a tea towel, and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). Bake breadsticks 11 to 13 minutes; keep a close eye on them after the ten minute mark. The dough will be pale even when they're done. If one or more breadsticks begin to bulge on the sidesthat means the cheese is hot, and the breadsticks are done.
- Let stand 5 minutes, then serve as-is, with marinara sauce, or with melted garlic butter. See Notes for storage and re-heating tips.
- In a small bowl stir together melted butter, olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. Brush or pour onto hot breadsticks.