We are gathered here today to experiment with the fine art and subtle science of the vegan wonder known as Cashew Cheese. As you long-time readers will know, I am not a vegan, but I do love vegan food for it inventive freshness and ability to make me eat an entire bowl of plants and not feel the slightest bit deprived.
One of the key things that makes vegan eating a bountiful experience is Cashew Cheese. For those unfamiliar with it, Cashew Cheese is a thick spread made of ground up cashews that, due to a little secret vegan ingredient, has that cheesy flavor so many people think they could not live without.
I've only every had this at vegan restaurants, but thought to myself, "If I could make this at home, I wouldn't have to spend $15 for a salad that really hits the spot. I could make one myself!" So I hit the internet, did some research, and then got to experimenting in my kitchen with what seemed like the most basic level of Cashew Cheese.
This isn't like a slicing cheese, it's more like cream cheese or soft goat cheese. It's delicious on everything from sandwiches, to bagels, to salads and is a game-changer for anyone trying to go vegan, or just eat more vegan meals.
Here is what you will need for my seriously easy Cashew Cheese Recipe:
2 Cups Raw Unsalted Cashews
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
About 1/4 Cup of Water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Oregano, Ground Sage, Fresh Basil, and Paprika as garnish
You'll also need either a high powered blender or a food processor for this one.
I'm legally obligated to tell you that if you click on and buy any of those products I get a small commission from Amazon. So go nuts! :-p
Okay, so now that you have your blender/food processor, you'll need to soak you cashews for at least 2 hrs. I soaked them overnight, but just a few hours submerged in water will do the trick.
Soak it up cashews!
Once your cashews are done soaking, measure out your two tablespoons of the secret ingredient, Nutritional Yeast!
Packed with B vitamins, Nutritional Yeast adds necessary vitamins and minerals to the dish while also making your cashew paste taste cheesy and delicious! It can be used for a whole host of things, but this is by far my favorite use.
Measure out your salt, pepper, and garlic powder and toss together with your nutritional yeast.
Drain the water from your cashews and put them into your food processor/high speed blender.
Add your mix of Nutritional Yeast, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. And blend it all up at the highest speed possible.
Once it turns into a thick paste, you'll want to slowly add your water until it's blending nicely again. You might not use the whole 1/4, just enough to smooth things out. Don't turn off your processor/blender to do this. Use the little chimney or hole in the lid to pour the water into the blending mixture. You can also add a few sprinkles of salt and pepper if you like!
You'll probably need to stop a few times and scrape down the sides to make sure you're getting the most out of your cashews!
Blend on high until it's smooth and everything is fully incorporated.
It should be the consistency of hummus
Give it a little taste and see if it needs more salt/pepper/Nutritional Yeast. It probably won't need more garlic powder, but then again, I don't know your life, so just make it taste delicious!
Once it is to your liking, scrape it out into a bowl and sprinkle with oregano, ground sage, paprika, and fresh basil!
You can serve it as is on a platter with crackers, bread, and veggies. Or, you can do what I did and store it in an airtight container in the fridge to keep for topping salads, toast, sandwiches, really anywhere you use a spreadable cheese!
So how do you like that? An easy as pie gluten free, vegan, healthy substitute for cheese! It's amazing how much this stuff will upgrade an otherwise lackluster salad or sandwich. I'm going to try and incorporate it into my old Sweet Potato Mac and "Cheese" soon as well.
Now get to cheesing my friends and let me know how it goes!!! I promise you will not be disappointed and you may just consider going fully vegan. Even I thought about it for a few minutes ;-)