I have this thing about vegan cheeses. Most of them gross me out. I have an especially hard time swallowing those with titles like “cheeze” and “chreese.”
I feel like a bad vegan when I say things like that. Aren’t I supposed to love and embrace all things vegan?
I also feel like a bad vegan when I say that I don’t really like seitan and I can only handle tofu in small doses. But it’s true.
I try to give myself a break. I tell myself that just because I’m vegan doesn’t mean I have to love all animal-free products on the market. No one cares if you aren’t on the Daiya love train, Nikki.
But I find it easier to be understanding and accepting of others than it is to cut my own self some slack.
I think it’s because I’m always trying to get the people around me to try new things. I shove tempeh in their faces and demand that they eat up, and usually they do. But if you put some Teese Cheese in front of me and ask me to dig in, I’ll zip my lips and throw away the key, toddler temper tantrum style.
Anyway, back to the point of this post…
My friend at work told me that she made cashew cheese over the weekend and I was immediately both appalled and delighted. The word “cheese” triggered my internal gross-out alarm right away, but after hearing the list of simple ingredients and seeing how excited she was about it, I knew that I had to try it. My friend isn’t vegan or vegetarian, but she’s one of the healthiest eaters I know and she puts a lot of thought into the nutritional value of her choices and how food will affect her body. At the same time, she doesn’t sacrifice taste in her quest to eat well. So I knew that if she liked it, I would have to give it a try.
Plus, my husband and I went to our local cooking store to buy a spatula the other day and ended up walking out with a new food processor, so this was a wonderful excuse to christen our new baby.
This recipe is for a dip or spread. I used it as a dip, but I can see myself topping veggie burgers with it in the future. My friend used truffle oil in her cheese, but I chose to go with chipotle sauce instead.
Chipotle Cashew Cheese
- 2 1/2 cups soaked raw cashews (approx. 16 ounces dry)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small-medium garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon chipotle sauce
Soak your raw cashews overnight for the best results. Place around 16 ounces of raw cashews in a dish full of cold water, cover and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
I soaked mine for 12 hours because I got a lazy start the morning after and they turned out great.
This is our most health conscious kitty, Sebastian. He tries to steal every vegetable in sight.
Squeeze your lemon juice
Choose your prettiest little garlic clove and chop it into 6-8 pieces.
For the chipotle sauce, I couldn’t find a jar of sauce so instead I grabbed a can of chipotle peppers and spooned some sauce out of the can.
It worked out well and probably saved me a couple dollars in the end.
Throw all your ingredients into a food processor.
and blend until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides if necessary, and do a couple of taste tests in case you want to add more chipotle sauce.
If your cheese seems too dry, add one tablespoon of water at a time until you are happy with the consistency.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for 3-4 days if you keep it chilled.
The cashews blend into a cheesy texture that makes it perfect for dipping. I couldn’t believe how tasty it was! The chipotle sauce adds just enough zing.
This would be great for a Super Bowl party. It’s also great for meat lovers, cheese lovers and even chreese haters, like myself.