Cashew Vegan ‘Cheese’
What a fabulous option to put on the table for all your family and friends especially for those who are unable to tolerate lactose. These two recipes are easy to make though they do require a little planning because the cashews are soaked overnight and then fermented for up to a day.
Cashews are of course a wonderful protein source an are used extensively in vegan and raw food preparation. They are one of the lowest-fiber, highest carbohydrate nuts and grow on trees in the subtropics. They are brimming full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as vitamins E, K, and B-6, along with minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium, and of course, these are important for a variety of bodily functions. Here are just some of their benefits:
- Supports healthy heart function
- Lowers cardiovascular disease
- Reduces blood pressure and cholesterol
- Helps keep blood vessels, nerves, bones and the immune system healthy
- Supports eye health
- Helps manage weight
- Contains ‘good’ fat
I have been playing around with different ideas of what to do with the cashew cheese as well as using different nuts to make the cheese. Now it does make a pretty good spread on toast or as a dip but let’s not stop there as you will see in the next few posts to follow.
Classic Cashew ‘Cheese’
You will need cheesecloth, a sieve, and something to weigh the cheese down with. I use a small plate with a stone or two on top.
- 195 g of cashews (approx. 1 1/4cup)
- 250ml of water
- 1 probiotic capsule
- 100 – 125ml of organic virgin olive oil (more or less depending on how firm you want your ‘cheese’)
- 80ml of lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove – finely chopped (replace with 1 tsp nutritional yeast for FODMAP)
- 1 shallot – finely chopped (replace with 1 tsp nutritional yeast for FODMAP)
- 1/2 tsp of pink lake salt
- 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- Soak the cashews in the water overnight.
- Put the cashews and water into a blender or Vitamix and process until you have a smooth paste.
- Blend slowly at first then turn up the speed so you have a light consistency to your base.
- Break the probiotic capsule in half and add contents to the cashew mix.
- Blend on a slow speed for only 20 secs.
- Place the cheesecloth in a sieve resting in a bowl – make sure it is not on the bottom so the liquid can drain away freely.
- Scrap the cheese out of the blender and tie the cheesecloth up.
- Place a plate and a weight on top to help squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Set aside in a warm place for 15 hours to culture.
- The fermented cashew mix should have a dough like consistency with small air pockets. It should smell sweet and a little sour.
- If the mix is still runny or just smells sweet leave the mix for longer.
- When ready transfer mix to food processor and add the flavour ingredients.
- Refrigerate for 24 hours before enjoying.
Herb Cashew ‘Cheese’
Follow the instructions for making the base then add the following:
- 2 tsp of nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder (omit for FODMAP)
- 1/2 tsp Celtic salt
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 or 3 tbl nutritional yeast (adjust to your taste)
- 1 handful minced fresh herbs (chives, dill, coriander, parsley, basil)