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Dairy-free cashew cheese anyone?!
After all the rage about cashew cheese, I tested it last week in my kitchen and am happy to share my own rendition with you all!
As I mentioned in my previous posts, Coptic Orthodox Lent is a wonderful opportunity to explore the parallel universe of veganism, and cashew cheese sounded so tempting.
For a candid opinion, I will list here all the pros and cons upon my attempt of making cashew cheese from scratch. Let us talk first about the pros:
- This vegan cheese dip is perfect for cocktail parties or for game food.
- Your dairy intolerant guests will fall in love with it.
- It is highly nutritious. Cashews are super rich in unsaturated fats. They’re also low in sugar and a good source of fiber. The other ingredients make the dip even more nutritious, as it has extra virgin olive oil and a bunch of fresh herbs packed with vitamins and antioxidants. In addition, cashews contain a significant amount of copper, a mineral essential for energy production, healthy brain development, and a strong immune system. They’re also a great source of magnesium and manganese, nutrients important for bone health.
The cons of this homemade vegan cheese are totally subjective:
- It is laborious: Making this cheese dip involves several steps, including soaking the cashews, blending, seasoning, and baking.
- It has a raw taste: This cheese has a pronounced raw taste that gets mitigated by baking.
- It is initially bland: The blended cashews yield a creamy consistency, yet lack personality. It is a bland, unctuous mass that begs for flavors, so adding herbs and spices is probably a must for those with a tuned palate.
Personally speaking, I found making this cheese worthy of my time, given how much my kids loved it. It is a great substitute for cheese and an excellent spread for breakfast. Also it makes a wholesome dip or a mid-day snack.
I would love to read your feedback in the comments!
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Dairy-Free Cashew Cheese
Serves 4-6 people
For soaking the cashews
- 1 cup raw cashew nuts (unfrosted and unsalted)
- Enough water to cover the cashews
For making the cashew cheese
- 1 cup mixed aromatic herbs: fresh parsley, mint, and cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, roasted and crushed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Soaking the nuts: Combine 1 cup of cashews and enough water to cover them in a deep pan and leave them overnight or no less than 9 hours. Past soaking time, drain the nuts and rinse them with fresh water. (See notes)
- Blend the cashews: Add the nuts to the bowl of food processor. Add water and blend until you reach a creamy consistency.
- Season the cashew cheese: Add the olive oil, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices and mix well.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350ºF for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to bubble and brown around the edges.
- Serve the cheese with crackers or slices of bread.
- Don’t skimp on the soaking time of the cashews as the softer they become, the creamier the cheese will be.