I have a hunch that much of the problem people have with the idea of vegan food is giving up cheese. For me, I can’t fathom the idea of never again having ice cream. That’s really all it comes down to.
Cheese is kinda ubiquitous though, and kinda necessary to make a lot of delicious conventional things. Grilled cheese. Pizza. Double-stack brie-and-avocado sandwiches… or maybe the last one’s just me.
Regardless. This raw vegan cashew “cheese” goes great with the aforementioned crust, just as well on a sandwich, on a bagel, or in some raw lasagna. Cashew cheese is nice and thick and creamy and while it’s not cheese, it’s pretty damn close. And it won’t give you the other not-so-nice side effects that often go alongside dairy digestion.. no details necessary.
This cheese is great because it’s got a healthy dose of probiotics—good to keep your gut flora balanced, especially if you’ve been on antibiotics like I have!
Red Pepper Cashew “Cheese” (raw, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free)
No picture, because it looks like… cream cheese. Adapted from Instructables.
2 cups cashews
1/2 red pepper
2 tbsp nutritional yeast/brewer’s yeast or “nooch” (optional)
1 tbsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3 capsules probiotic dissolved in 1 cup water (totally optional, adds to the fermented cheese-like texture and taste)
Soak the cashews at least 4 hours. Drain cashews and blend separately in a food processor or blender until creamy. Blend in all additional ingredients. Strain mixture into a bowl or mason jar with cheesecloth, a nut mylk bag, or a soup bag and refrigerate for 6-12 hours or until desired firmness (I used about 8 hours).
You can shape and top with ground spices like goat cheese, put in a container and spread like cream cheese, or shape and set overnight in the fridge to act as a harder cheese. Of course, if you want to spread on pizza and top with tomato sauce and veggies, be my guest!