Ladies and Gentlemen – it’s first recipe time.
Does this sound familiar?
“Oh, you’re vegan? Wow, I could never do that. Don’t you miss cheese?!”
The taste? Yes. Do I miss eating the hardened baby calf growth hormone juice that gives me bad stomach and intestinal pain? NOPE. Sorry not sorry.
(There goes a few people who just closed the window because they hated that. Whoops!)
Anyway. So, I set out to make a cheese that was nutritious, tasted similar, and was delicious. Done. Boom.
It’s honestly SO easy. The thing that takes the longest is soaking the cashews overnight. Let’s be honest here, pretty sure at night is when you’re thinking about cheese, so this should be easy to remember. Don’t try to tell me I’m wrong. We all know I’m right. #nightcheese
I love this recipe because it’s got a LOT of nutritional value! Between all the nuts and seeds, it’s pretty jam-packed! They have zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium – all important minerals! And a some good vitamins too – E, B1, K, and B6! And has complete protein, omegas, fibre and antioxidants to boot! Nutritional yeast is rich in B complex vitamins and is a complete protein (to name a couple benefits)! And… it tastes like cheese. Mmm. And I don’t think that I have to tell you that garlic is good for you! You already knew that.
So, if you’re having a party – or if you want to be the life of the party (or at least the most-liked one there, even if you’re sitting in the corner petting a dog, like me): bring cheese. Nut cheese, that is. Or if you wanna eat it at 10pm in your pj’s on the couch, I won’t judge. I’ll probably join you. It’s all gouda. (THIRD POST IN A ROW WITH A PUN. There goes another four people who clicked away because they hate laughing and happiness.)
Those of you that stayed. You’re the real deal. If you can sit through the truth and the bad jokes, we are pretty much already friends. Such friends, in fact – that I will share my super-secret cheese recipe with you. I only share recipes with friends. Well… and the whole internet now, apparently.
Herbed Cashew Cheese
total prep time: 9 hours (includes soaking and fridge time)
yields about 4 cups
* denotes a comment in the note section below
1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold filtered water
4 lemons, juice and zest
1 cup raw hemp hearts, shelled
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, shelled
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1.5 cup nutritional yeast
8-10 cloves of raw or roasted garlic*
2 TBSP prepared yellow mustard or yellow mustard powder*
2 TSP fine sea salt
2 TSP fresh cracked pepper
1 cup cold filtered water
2/3 packed cup of fresh herbs* (I used dill and parsley)
1) Soak the raw cashews overnight in cold water in a covered bowl. Cashews will be swollen and soft once you have soaked them for at least 8 hours, and are ready to use. You can use the quick-soak method (soak in boiled water for one hour covered) if you like, but I find that it doesn’t yield as smooth a texture. You can also roast your garlic now (if you wanna roast it, that is! See the notes section for more on this.)! Or later. Whatevs.
2) Put cashews, lemon juice and lemon zest in the blender. Pulse a few times to break down the cashews a bit. Add the hemp, sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the blender. (Maybe only a little bit at a time, if your blender looks like it’s trying to die a slow and painful death.) Pulse a few times, then blend on high for about one minute. Scrape down the sides once done.
4) Add nutritional yeast, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and water. Blend again for about a minute on medium until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides again once done.
5) Add herbs. Add more water if necessary, if you find it is too thick a mixture for what you would like. Blend again for another minute on high, or until everything is smooth and fully broken down and mixed. At this point you can taste the mixture to see if you would like to adjust the seasonings or add-ins at all, and blend again if need be. Put cheese into the fridge for at least 30 minutes (I recommend overnight) for optimal taste and texture.
Store the cashew cheese in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks. I haven’t tried freezing this, but who freezes cheese, anyway? It’s usually gone quicker than it would take to freeze. (Jokes. Or maybe not.) It tastes best cold and also the day after being made, as it gives it more time for the flavours to meld together as it sits and chills. Cool.
Serve with… anything. It’s cheese. Gluten-free bread or crackers? Yes. Carrot sticks? Sure. A spoon? Heck yeah!
Did you try this recipe? Did you put your own spin on it? Got any questions or recipe requests for me?
Let me know in the comments below!
*Herbs: Use whatever herbs you like! I used parsley and dill because they are two of my favourite fresh herbs and always have them on hand. Chives and cheese are such a classic combination! Cilantro would be a great one to add, I’m sure (even though it tastes like soap-weed to me)! And I could see basil being really yummy in this! Because basil is yummy on everything. Almost.
*Garlic: I have made this recipe with both raw and roasted garlic, and both got equally rave reviews! If you want a more sharp, bright and lingering taste – go for raw. And if you’d rather roasted – for it’s more mellow, sweet and not-as-lingering taste – go for it! Either will be great. Just remember: you can always add more garlic, but it’s a hard taste to make simmer down. If you aren’t as huge a garlic fan as me, add less and work your way up to where your tastebuds are happy! I like the idea of leaving the garlic raw, as it makes this a completely raw recipe – and the benefits of raw food? Amazing.
*Mustard: I have made this recipe with both prepared mustard or yellow mustard powder, and the same comment as above! Both are great! Just use whatever you prefer or already have on hand. I noticed less of a difference with this change than the garlic. The one thing I noticed is that the powder tasted a bit more tame, while the prepared tasted sharper and more noticeable. Totally a preference thing!