When I told my family that I was going vegan, my brother told me that there was no way I would last because I loved cheese too much. Six years later, I am not looking back. This Cashew Cheese has become a staple in my diet as a dairy alternative. It’s a softer cheese and immensely versatile.
There has been a rise of vegan friendly cheese options and I’m not talking about Daiya. I’m a label slob first and always look at the nutrition label looking for the fewest ingredients and ones that I can pronounce. Treeline, Miyoko’s, and Fauxmaggio are some of my favorite brands. The downside is that they don’t have that super melty ability of a traditional cheese. But I can certainly capture the creaminess and touch of flavor with my Cashew Cheese.
This recipe is super adaptable for a soft cashew cheese. You can add more water for more of a sauce or keep it a bit thick for a soft cream cheese thickness.
I’ve used it as a ricotta for pizza and lasagna, to make an alfredo and vodka sauce, and as a mayonnaise alternative for potato salad and Chickpea Tuna Salad. Add a ton of nutritional yeast for more of a Mac n Cheese flavor.
Cashews are a great nut for cheese because they are soft. I usually am lazy and use right from the bag as my Vitamix will purée anything. Soaking them in advance is a great option if you don’t have a powerful blender.
The lemon juice and mustard work to add some of the acid for a bite. I typically use lemon juice, but if I forget to buy any or want a mustard flavor it works great. The raw garlic and onion also contribute to a sharper taste and can be cut or reduced.
Nutritional Yeast (aka nooch) gives the cream a parmesan cheesy like flavor. No, it’s not an exact match, but it’s close. As a vegan, the fortified version helps supply me with B12, which I don’t get from anywhere else in my diet.
- 8 oz raw cashews (soaked or not)
- juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 – 2 Tablespoons of mustard
- 1 – 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 shallot or onion of approximate size (~1/8 cup)
- Nutritional yeast (optional – more for a stronger cheese flavor)
- Tumeric (optional- for an orange cheesy look)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients in a blender with about 3/4 cup of water. Purée.
- Add more water if needed. You may need to stop and mix the ingredients by hand.
- Taste and adjust ingredients. (You may need more lemon juice.
- Soak the cashews for 20-90 minutes in advance. Drain and rinse before using. This softens the nuts for easier blending.
- The cashew cream will keep for about 1 week in the fridge.
- Add dulse to increase the amount of iodine or for a seafood flavor.
- Use like a ricotta on pizza or lasagna, as an alfredo sauce, as a cheese sauce, as a mayonnaise, or however else you like.
Watch How to Make Cashew Cheese with Kate
Kate Hamm combines her 15+ years of experience in the fitness industry and high-end resort program development into sought after wellness coaching and adventures at AnamBliss. Visit www.anambliss.com for more information on coaching services and future retreat dates and locations.