Anyone who has ever eaten with me is well aware of the fact that cheese is my favorite food. I even credit an incredible artisan cheese plate I enjoyed on a childhood trip to France with inspiring my career in food and nutrition. Blue cheese, goat cheese, brie cheese, even stinky cheese…I love it all!
Unfortunately, sometimes cheese doesn’t love me back. It took a few mac and cheese-induced tummy aches to figure that one out. While a hearty sprinkle of feta on a salad or wedge of aged cheddar with a tart crunchy apple rarely bothers me, my body definitely has a tolerance point.
When I first heard about nut cheese, I was skeptical. I am a cheese snob after all. But after one rich, creamy bite I was hooked. No, it’s not the same as real cheese, but it’s the perfect swap in cheese heavy recipes that I don’t feel like suffering a stomachache for. It’s a great option for those with dairy allergies or sensitivities, or plant based diets. It has protein, filling fats, and many of the same vitamins and minerals found in dairy – B vitamins, potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc to name a few.
To make a basic spreadable nut cheese, soak nuts in water until softened, about 4-8 hours, then blend with flavor boosters like Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and garlic. Don’t forget the nutritional yeast, a powdered yeast commonly used in vegan cooking to add cheesy flavor. It’s a crucial ingredient so look for it at any health food store or order online. The result is a cheesy spread with the consistency of a creamy goat cheese.
To make it more cheese-like, try fermenting your nut cheese! Many recipes use probiotic pills or the juice of store bought fermented kraut to “age” the cheese, which adds a more complex flavor. It’s also a great way to sneak in healthy probiotic bacteria!
Basic Cashew Cheese
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in water at least 2 hours, drained
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
Toss all ingredients into a food processor and blend until thick and creamy. Season with more salt to taste.
Try these recipes for nut cheese
- Fermented Cashew Cheese
- Simple Almond Cheese
- Fermented Cashew Cheese with Herbs
- Aged Pine Nut Cheese Ball with Rosemary
- Baked Spaghetti with Cashew Cheese
- Beans and Greens Burrito with Cashew Queso
- Summer Salad with Blackberries and Almond Feta
How did you find the flavor of this dairy-free cheese? Let us know in the comments section below!
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