A lot of people I know have been testing the Vegan waters lately, myself included. What I hear from most people is that cheese is the one thing that they can't live without. For a lot of us, it tastes great but does a number on our bodies. There are a number of great Vegan cheeses on the market but with a little time and energy it's also easy to make your own right at home. When the clouds started rolling in today I knew that I wanted to bake some fresh bread but also needed a nice cream cheese alternative to go with it.
Cashews make a great base for Vegan cheeses. This one is a soft cheese that makes a great alternative for traditional cream cheese. Not to mention, there is more protein in it, and no dairy at all, and gobs of the 'good' fat. Bonus is that it's SUPER easy to make.
I recently picked up a pound of raw cashew pieces at the market so I was already at a good start. That and the chives in the garden have just been going completely nuts with all the recent rain.
1 Cup of Raw cashews, soaked in water for about an hour (longer is fine!)
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
2 TBSP Lime Juice
2 Cloves chopped garlic
1 TBSP Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
You basically just want to drain the cashes and add everything to a Vitamix or Food Processor and blend until smooth. A little grain is fine.
Add in about 4 TBSP chopped fresh chives. Feel free to substitute the herbs for what you like. I also grabbed a few leaves of fresh sage from the garden since it was growing next to the chives. Why not! Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours before using which will firm up the spread as well. Great on fresh baked bagels! (See next post!)