Ah, good ol’ cashew cheese. It truly has become a phenomena, and I don’t think any of us are complaining… well, maybe the dairy industry, but they have a long list of debts to pay, so I’m not too concerned about their welfare!
Now, let’s get down to cashew cheese.
I first tried cashew cheese a few years ago from a local food store in town when it was first coming on the health food scene (as far as I knew, at least). I honestly couldn’t believe how delicious it was. I’m not even a huge cashew fan.
I know. You’ll get over it. I have.
Since I was still eating dairy cheese at the time, I really had no reason to purchase cashew cheese, aside from the fact that it was leagues healthier for me, but at that time in my life I didn’t think I was unhealthy. First step toward making a change is realizing there’s the need for one, of which I did not have. Ah, if only I’d been open to learning a bit more about the poison I was putting into my body… But that’s no fun, now is it?!…………
Fast-forward to veganism and last fall, when the absence of dairy cheese was as gaping as an empty stomach, and to re-discovering cashew cheese. It was a savior compared to what had become a disappointment in dairy cheese and the terrors behind it. Not only was cashew cheese superior when it came to health, having nothing that wasn’t excellent for you in it (if you’re thinking, ‘but they are the fattiest nut!’, get over it. All nuts are fatty, but it’s a totally different, healthier fat than the inherently deadly fats present in animal protein), but it was surprisingly delicious. I couldn’t believe how amazing it was, with fresh herbs and spices folded in, and just the right amount of ‘cheesiness’ which came from what I’d soon find out as being the nutritional yeast, or ‘nooch’ as it’s called in the vegan community. I was in heaven, and the next step after falling in love with this creamy goodness was, of course, trying my hand at making it myself.
After scouring recipe after recipe on Pinterest, testing and re-testing, I finally found the perfect base recipe on which to add my eclectic flare and make it my own (as usual). I do hope you try it, love it and share it with family and friends. Just please remember to credit me so I can gain a footing in the vegan food blog world. I love this recipe and actually sold a few packages of it earlier this year, so I’d really appreciate the love ❤ Thanks, y’all! ~L.
Garden Raw Cashew Cheese
A creamy, scrumptiously satisfying spread for toast points, crackers or anything else you can put this stuff on <em>or</em> in! My favorite cashew cheese recipe, now shared with you 😉
- 1 cup organic raw cashews (we buy Hoodie’s from Costco)
- water (for soaking cashews)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar*
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves**
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 4 large sun-dried tomatoes, diced fine***
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh shallot
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or scallions/green onion
- 1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For Presentation (choose some, all or none):
- sliced chives or scallions/green onion
- fresh basil
- cracked pepper
- lemon zest
- Soak raw cashews overnight in enough water to cover them 1 inch (I know some recipes say you can soak them for a few hours, but if you’re making this recipe, trust me. The longer you soak, the better. I actually soaked them for two nights once and it was the creamiest I’d ever made, so if you have 48 hours, get to soaking!) Drain and put in high-speed blender or food processor.
- Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, 2 Tbsp water, vinegar, lemon zest, garlic, salt & pepper. Process until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. If you’re using a high-power blender, it may take less time (my Vitamix only takes about 2 minutes to make this super creamy, while I’m using the blending tool to help).
- Scoop the cashew cream mixture into a large bowl, adding the sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, chives, basil & chili flakes. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, if desired. Garnish with paprika, basil & lemon zest, or any of the presentation items above, and dig in. ~Just a heads up: this stuff disappears much faster than you’d imagine, and guys absolutely love it. Hopefully you’ll memorize the recipe soon enough like I did! Bon Appetit – xox
- You can also use rice wine or white wine vinegar which are a bit more mild, but I like the tang of the apple cider vinegar.
- These are optional, as they add a bit of sweetness to the spread. Some people aren’t huge fans of sun-dried tomatoes, and they can be an acquired taste. Totally your dish, only use what you want!
** I love garlic, so if you don’t, maybe stick to 1 clove. My fiancé just assumes I have garlic breath sometimes. Luckily, chances are, so does he 😉
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