I love cheese. I really do. With the exception of most blue cheeses that smell like stinky feet (eughhhh…) there are few that I don’t enjoy in some capacity.
However, cheese does not love me. Or more specifically, my body has a love/hate relationship with this delicious substance, to the point where sometimes I need a break from dairy and find substitutes to scratch my cheese itch. Hmmm, that sounded very wrong…O.o
When it comes to itch-scratching (again, ew.), this simple to make Cashew Spread does a pretty good job at keeping the cheese monkey off my back. Don’t get me wrong; this recipe is definitely NOT cheese, by both legal definition and flavour profile. However, as a vegan cream-cheese substitute for spreading on crackers or veggies it’s quite delicious! You can even make a delicious “cheeze” ball (revised recipe below); roll in crushed, toasted nuts or fresh minced herbs, surround with crackers and crudités, and have yourself a party!
Feel free to tweak the flavours to try something new, such as roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs or your favourite spices, hot sauce, vegan pesto, miso paste, curry powder, smoked salt, or a zillion other alternatives. This creamy spread should keep, covered in the fridge for about 5 days, if it lasts that long.
Vegan Cashew “Cheese” Spread
Yield: 12 servings (2 tbsp per serving) | Prep: 10 minutes (plus 8-12 hours soaking time) | Cook: none
Special Equipment: Blender
- 1 cup/260g/9oz raw unsalted cashews, soaked for 8 hours in the fridge, or overnight, drained of soaking water
- ¼ cup/60g/2oz water (distilled or filtered is best)
- ¼ cup/15g/0.5oz nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp/30mL/1fl.oz lemon juice, fresh
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp/30mL/1fl.oz apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp/16g/0.5oz Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- All all ingredients to a blender and blend until thick and creamy.
- Chill for at least 1 hour; it will firm up to the consistency of cream cheese.
- If making a “cheeze” ball, hold back half of the water from the original recipe when blending, roll paste into a log shape in plastic wrap and chill; when fully chilled, it should be firm enough to roll through your choice of toppings. Serve cold.