Vegan Cashew Cheese

vegan-cashew-cheese.jpg

Without cheese, wine may not really be your cup of tea (pardon the pun), but before finding yourself in the rut of a pining, craving vegan, it might be worth dishing out some other options–as an homage to fromage, of course.

But this is no culinary doppelganger. There have been numerous attempts at making vegan cheese, and while many have gotten blasted for venturing off in this territory, I daresay this wannabe is a happy winner.

Although it’s dairy-free, it takes after the cheddar-y sharpness and chewy texture of its milky muse. It pairs well with crackers, dried fruits, salads, and walnuts. Non-vegans who have tried it have also enjoyed it as a palatable addition to the cheeseboard.

And to the orthorexic’s delight, this cashew cheese comes brimming with nutritional value. The main source? Cashews, of course, along with the numerous benefits of nutritional yeast.

vegan-cashew-cheeseball.jpg

 

 

A quick word on cashews: First of all,  a common misconception about cashews is their classification as nuts–which they are not. “Cashew” is actually the name of an apple that yields those crescent shaped large seeds we tend to mistakenly dub as nuts!

What’s so special about cashews besides their creamy texture is their immense health benefits? For one thing, they have a high content of proanthocyanidins, which are a class of flavonols that deter tumor cells from growing–and the cashew seed has been especially helpful in preventing many cancers, specifically colon cancer. Cashews are also rich in heart-healthy oleic acid and magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure, contributes to bone health, and relaxes nerves and muscles. Moreover, cashews have been proven to reduce the possibility of formation of gallstones by 25%.

And as for the gloriously good-for-you nutritional yeast, the secret “cheesy” ingredient, in many vegan cheese recipes, you can tell how rich in B-complex vitamins it is from its deep yellow color. Nutritional yeast also boasts a chockful of selenium and potassium, and is considered a complete protein, providing all 9 essential amino acids.

 

What you need is the following:

  • 1 cup unroasted cashews, soaked overnight
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari, for the gluten-free version)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • a pinch of ground sea salt (or himalayan salt)
  • black pepper, to taste
  • water, just enough to ensure a firm, creamy mixture in the blender
  • dried thyme, oregano, or chili flakes (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Mix all ingredients in the blender for a few minutes, until you have a thick, creamy paste.
  2. Strain the mix on a cheesecloth and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Divide the mix into 2 rolls.

IMG_7728.JPG4. Bake for around 30-40 minutes at 250 degrees celsius.

5. allow to cool and refrigerate until you want to serve it.

Enjoy!

Roula 🙂

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Tags:

Categories: Vegan

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