Let’s Cook! Spicy Cashew Cheese

November 18, 2012

A close view of Spicy Cashew Cheese

In a recent post about this years Epcot Food & Wine Festival (Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2012: more food… more thoughts…), I showed you the offerings at the Vegan booth terra, one of which was a meatless chili topped with a faux cheese…

Chili Colorado with House-made Chips and topped with Cashew Cheese

about the same time as I had tried this dish, I happened to stumble across a recipe for cashew cheese in the November 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine, and since I’m quite fond of cashews anyway, I decided to give it a try…

So be prepared to make a trip to the health food store or Whole Foods, etc for a couple of the ingredients, and then Let’s Cook!

Spicy Cashew Cheese

Ingredients

2 Cups Raw Cashews, soaked in water to cover for 12 to 24 hours

1/2 Cup Water

2 Tbl Nutritional Yeast (not the regular stuff – you’ll likely have to hunt for this, like the raw cashews… or find online)

1 Tbl Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tsp White Balsamic Vinegar (or white wine vinegar – rice vinegar would work too)

1/4 Tsp Granulated Onion Powder

1/8 Tsp Granulated Garlic Powder (or a little more, to taste)

1/8 Tsp Ground White Pepper

2 Chopped Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, along with a Tsp of the sauce (of course you can up this as desired… as I usually do)

Procedure

Soaked and drained raw cashews

Drain the soaked cashews and put into the bowl of a food processor.

Cashews after first processing

Process for about 1 minute until a coarse paste develops.

Adding stuff to the cashew paste

Add the rest of the ingredients, other than the chipotle peppers and sauce, and process for 4 or 5 minutes until the mixture is very smooth.

Smooth “cheese”

Add the chopped peppers and adobo…

Adding the peppers

and process for a couple more minutes until well incorporated.

The finished product

Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight to firm up a bit.
And now what do you do with it?

Use as a dip, spread on a chip,

Spicy Cashew Cheese atop Triscuits

use it as a bread spread, and yes, you can dollop it on chili (veggie or not) or with some pasta…

So is it “cheese”? Of course not – the nutritional yeast gives it a little bit of that cheesy taste – but what it really is is a cashew-based hummus – and it’s really good (and probably, shhhh… sorta good for you).

Now if you want to season this differently, at the point after the second (long) processing (and before you add the peppers in this recipe), you have a fairly “blank slate”, as the “cheese” is a bit nutty, but still fairly bland. If you don’t want to make it spicy, omit the chipotles and try adding herbs of your choice (basil?), and/or roasted garlic, or whatever strikes your fancy… or even more or different peppers (habaneros anyone?) for the chile-head!

This is worth a try, and after you’ve found the ingredients it’s is easy as pie… or “cheese”…

Back to the kitchen – see you soon!

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