Speedy Cashew Cream Cheese
This is very simple and tasty – but you do need to soak the cashews in advance. For a very smooth creamy cheese you’ll need a high speed blender such as a Nutribullet or Nutrininja. However, you can make a more textured, grainy cheese with a less speedy blender!
Top Tip: using a vegan probiotic helps to add a more tangy, fermented flavour to raw vegan cheeses. You will need the super strength varietiy, eg 30 Billion. It’s a naturally occurring product that is available in most health food shops, including Holland & Barrett.
Raw cashews, 300g/2 cups (raw just means unsalted and unroasted nuts. For a cheaper version use pieces rather than whole nuts)
2 garlic cloves, crushed OR 1 tbsp garlic puree
½ tsp garlic powder plus more to taste if necessary
1 lemon, zested
Lemon juice, 60ml/ ¼ cup
Water, 120-180ml/½- ¾ cup – start with the minimum and add more only if necessary
Nutritional yeast flakes, 4 tbsp
Salt, ½-1tsp, to taste – add a little at a time
Olive oil, 30ml/2 Tbsp
Optional: for a more cheesy – that is, a tangy, fermented taste – use 1-2 high dose vegan probiotic capsules (see above). Dissolve the caps powder into the water before blending the cheese
FOR SERVING (optional)
2 tbsp finely minced fresh dill – use scissors for speed
- Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cold water. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours*. If you can’t get to them right away, drain, store in an airtight container. They will keep refrigerated for 24-36 hours.
- Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to food processor. Add crushed garlic, garlic powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil. Add the vegan probiotic powder now if using.
- Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour and balance.
- Serving suggestion a: place a fine mesh strainer (or colander) over a large mixing bowl, and lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel). Use a spatula to scoop all cheese over the cheesecloth, then gather the corners and twist the top gently to form the cheese into a “disc.” Secure with a rubber band. Place in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away, and it holds its form when released from the cheesecloth. Unwrap from cheesecloth and gently invert onto a serving platter. Reform with hands or cheesecloth as needed, then coat with chopped herbs and a bit more lemon zest (optional). It is fragile, so handle gently.
- Serving suggestion b (easiest): place cheese mixture into a container of your choice – preferably a non-stick container – and place in the freezer for about half an hour to firm up a little, then place it back in the fridge. Gently ease out – you might have to reform if you want to coat it with chopped herbs. Otherwise just spoon it out in portions as needed.
- The cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. Leftovers keep well covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
*Quick soak in boiling water for 1.5 hours then drain and blend as usual. However, longer soaking yields a softer, creamier cheese.
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