Creamy Vegan Cashew Cheese

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It seems like there are thousands of cashew recipes out there to choose from, but I have my own of course. My first experience with making cashew cheese of my own was when I worked as a cook at a vegan restaurant where we made two variations of cashew cheese, one traditional and one with chipotles. We would spread it on sandwiches or put it on the inside of quesadillas. If we served nachos, we would just water it down and warm it up. The same can be done with this recipe. We also used it in conjunction with Daiya and Follow your Heart cheeses.

I was at a new vegan comfort food restaurant the other day called Vertical Diner  in Portland and I had their breakfast burrito. It was fabulous! It was filled with black beans, rice, a delicious tofu scramble and vegan sausage all wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla with cheese sauce, red sauce and guacamole. This recipe is very similar to their cheese sauce as far as flavor but it’s just thicker. It’s very much a sauce when you first make it but it thickens after you refrigerate it and it can be used as a spread.

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As soon as I made it, I steamed some broccoli that I needed to use up and lathered it in this cheese. The next day when I made a burrito bowl I put a dollop on top of the bowl and it added a creamy consistency that you would normally get from sour cream or a highly processed cheese sauce.

TIME: 10 minutes, plus two hours for soaking cashews

Ingredients:

1 Cup raw cashews

1/2 Cup non-dairy milk

1/4 Cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp lemon juice

YIELDS: 2 cups

It’s important to have a high speed blender for a recipe like this one. If you don’t have a high speed blender you may not be able to get it quite as smooth but it will still get the job done, you will just have to make sure to soak your cashews! If you’ve thought about making this ahead of time, then I recommend soaking the cashews in water, in the refrigerator overnight. You can also speed up the process by pouring hot water over them and soaking anywhere from half an hour to two hours.

The process is simple. If you’ve soaked the cashews, make sure to strain them well, there is already plenty of liquid in this recipe with the milk and lemon juice.

Throw all of the ingredients in your blender and blend to a smooth consistency. Like I said, the smoothness of your cheese will be dependant on the blender that you have, but don’t be afraid to experiment with what your blender can do.

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Use this cheese as a sauce when you first make it or as a spread for sandwiches or dipping chips or veggies once it’s been made. If you put it on something hot like a burrito bowl it will begin to soften again and act like a cheese sauce.

 

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