Since adopting a plant-based diet almost 6 months ago I recently stumbled across something called cashew cheese. It’s also called cashew cream.
It’s has a soft cheese-like consistency (think hummus or pub cheese) and depending on how you season it can lend itself well in mexican (topping a taco), italian (cashew ricotta anyone?) dishes or used as a spread on a vegan burger or grilled portobello mushroom.
Apparently, there’s a whole plant-based cheese movement going on and you can find recipes for the basic cheese that I make online. This recipe I found at http://www.thefullhelping.com/go-to-cashew-cheese-recipe/. I’ve also seen more classically flavored cheeses like blue or cheddar. This Cheese is Nuts! is a newer cookbook that I’ve heard about but still haven’t dived deep into.
Again, you can buy non-dairy cheeses at the store but making your own eliminates the processing part of the equation. You make it, you know what’s in there. It’s why if you like cookies and cakes, homemade is always the better option. You control the ingredients.
Cashew Cheese Spread
- 1 generous cup raw cashews, soak over night in water to cover them
- 2 T lemon juice (less or more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. Garlic powder, Chili Powder (skip the Chili Powder if using for italian)
- 1 tsp salt
- Water (1/8 to /1/4 cup)
- 2t Nutritional Yeast (gives it a cheesy taste and yellow color) I buy it at Safeway, near Bob’s Redmill stuff or in bulk at Whole Foods or at Trader Joe’s
- Drain the soaking cashews (soaking them softens and plumps them).
- Add all ingredients to the food processor or blender (I have a Ninja).
- Blend, scrape the sides as needed, until you get a hummus-like consistency.
- Be patient, you want it to be smooth, blending and scraping takes about 5 or 7 minutes.
- Taste. Add more spices if you like.
- Move to a bowl with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. It lasts 4 or 5 days.
Use it as you would any other cheese spread. To thin it out for use as a cheese sauce on anything such as roasted veggies, warm up a few tablespoons of water, add a few tablespoons of the cheese and mix. Viola.
Now go run!