Prep Time: 12 hour soak, plus a few to chill
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Something a lot of new vegans struggle with most, is adapting to a life without dairy. We know dairy is not the best thing for us, or the animals, so we endure and learn to look forward to natural and wholesome foods. But what if I told you that you can have your cheese after all? And the best part, is that you can make it yourself. And, it's super fun! I mean, have a recipe for feta that will just blow your palate.
For this one, all you need are some cashews, olive oil, salt, seasoning, and the patience to wait out an overnight soak. Trust me when I say, it's so worth it! As long as you plan for the cashew soak, and a few hours to chill, this is a pretty straight forward and convenient recipe. The buttery cashews give the “cheese” it's rich, creamy-crumbly texture and baking adds a savory toastiness. I also added in nutritional yeast to give it that rich, earthy zip! If you opt out of baking the cheese, it stays smooth and spreadable, very much like cream cheese. Either way, it's soooo delicious and I just know that you all will love it too! I have not tried it with other nuts yet, but I image that several nuts, or even seeds like sesame or sunflower could work nicely too.
(Makes 10-oz. round)
- 1 cup cashews
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1. Put the cashews in a medium bowl, cover with three inches cold water and let soak twelve hours. Drain the liquid, rinse cashews under cold running water, then go ahead and drain again.
2. Next purée the cashews, lemon juice, 3 Tbs. oil, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, and 1/2 cup cold water in food processor or until very smooth and creamy, about six minutes.
3. Put a large strainer lined with triple layer of cheesecloth over bowl. Spoon cashew puree into the cheesecloth. Once it's all in, bring the corners and sides of the cloth together and twist it around the mixture to form a ball. Liquid will be squeezed out of the almond mixture. Keep squeezing to extract as much moisture as you can. Then secure with a rubber band or kitchen twine. Chill for a few hours, or overnight. Discard excess liquid. *Now you have the option of baking the cheese. If you don’t want to bake, then just skip step four!
4. Preheat oven to 200°F. Unwrap the cheese (it will be soft), and transfer it from the cheesecloth to a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Flatten your cheese ball into a 6-inch round disk about 3/4-inch thick.
5. Bake 40 minutes, or until top is slightly firm.
6. Cool, then chill. Serve. (Keep it refrigerated.) Enjoy!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.