Have you tried this? Dairy free, gluten free dreamy nut cheese. Made from raw cashews and nutritional yeast, herbs and spices, this is sure to be a holiday favourite.
A few of my patients came in to me and asked if I had tried nut cheese. I hadn’t. Until this past weekend. It’s much like the cashew basil pesto I made in the summer with lots of basil from the garden, garlic and cashews, but this is more like cheese. It’s the nutritional yeast that seems to give it that tangy cheese like flavour. You can buy it already made and I have found it at Stone Store in Guelph and Goodness Me!
Making nut cheese takes a little forward thinking, but it is not difficult. You can customize the flavour when you make it yourself. So you could do a cinnamon and cranberry, or a garlic and herb, or use crazy amount of basil.
Start with some raw unsalted cashews available at places like Costco, Bulk Barn or Goodness Me! The later two have nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill brand) as well. You can get herbs and garlic, or other ingredients just about anywhere.
- 2 cups (240 g) raw cashews
- 1-2Tbsp minced garlic (depends on how strong your garlic is and how you like it)
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 lemons, juiced (1/4 cup or 60 ml)
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
- 2 Tbsp (6 g) nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- press on dried parsley, dill or other dried garden herbs, as you like.
- Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. I use a pyrex glass one with a fitted lid. Do it in the morning and leave on the counter for the day (12 hours). If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and store in refrigerator for up to 24-36 hours.
- Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to blender/food processor. Add minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
- Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It should look like the consistency of hummus. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour/balance.
- If it is a bit wet, scoop out the contents and drain a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Discard any liquid.
- Otherwise you can directly lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel) and place nut mix into the centre. Gather the corners and twist the top gently so you may form the cheese into a what looks like a gouda cheese round. A twist tie or elastic might help hold it.
- Place the drained cheese round into a sealed glass container in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away. It is ready if it holds its form when unwrapped from the cheesecloth.
- To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and place onto a serving board. Gently pat a coat of chopped herbs on to the round.
- Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. I’ve also seen it whipped up with the herbs and placed in a dollop on the serving tray.
- Leftovers keep well for up to 5 days, if covered in the refrigerator.
From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND