Recipe by Triad to Wellness Consulting – Photo Courtesy of Kristen Massad
Ditch The Dairy
When it comes to making vegan versions of all things dairy, cashews are amazing! Our Zesty Herb Cashew Cheese is a dairy-free, healthy, cheesy-tasting alternative to conventional cheese. Full of heart-healthy ingredients and teeming with vitamins and protein, this spread is delightfully soft, flavorful, and savory with a zesty blend of herbs and spices. Cashews create a creamy base for this recipe as well as a smooth texture that is perfect for dipping and topping. We love using nutritional yeast too, because it is rich in B vitamins and gives this vegan cheese its “cheesy” taste. Even if you are not vegan or following a plant-based diet, this cashew cheese is a delicious and nutrient-dense spreadable must-have that, while secretly good for the planet, is obviously good for you!
Nutrient Booster: Cashews
Cashews are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. While most nuts are great for heart health, cashews specifically have beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation and vascular activity. Thus, they can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and promote a healthy heart. Cashews contain impressive amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K that helps maintain healthy bones and reduce the risk for osteoporosis. Cashews are also beneficial for brain health because they contain healthy fats which are responsible for regulating neurotransmitter pathways and improving cognitive function. With so many health benefits, cashews may just be one of the most valuable vegan ingredients. There are so many innovative ways to use cashews in your favorite recipes–sauces, dips, spreads, and cheese. Cashews are a healthy dairy swap for the plant-based nut in all of us!
Soak Once, Eat Twice
Cashews are all the rage in innovative cooking, especially in dairy-free recipes. That’s why they are the perfect soak once, eat twice ingredient that you can use in so many different ways. From appetizers to main dishes to side dishes and desserts, we have recipe ideas for all of your needs. Check out some of our favorites: Creamy Butternut Squash Cashew Soup, Berry & Cashew Cream Dessert Pizza, and Cashew Cream Stuffed Strawberries.
For a creative spin on our recipe, why not customize your own vegan cheese creation? Add garlic and your favorite herbs for a savory dip. Mix in World of Chia Fruit Spreads for a sweet and fruity topping. Spread it on crackers, veggies and sandwiches. Add it to pastas or salads. Slather it on bagels or serve it alongside Ka-POP! chips. So many ways to get spreading!
Zesty Herb Cashew Cheese
- 2 1/4 cup water, divided
- 2 cups cashews,* raw
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsely, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon chives, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add cashews and cook for 20 minutes until soft. Rinse them with cold water or soak them overnight (see note). Set aside when done.
- Add garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt to a food processor. Process until creamy. Add parsley, dill, cashews and herbs (chives, basil, marjoram, or thyme), if desired. Process until smooth, and transfer to a small serving bowl.
- Serve cold with whole wheat crackers or vegetables.
Serving size: 1 tablespoon Calories: 80 calories, Fat: 7 grams, Saturated fat: 1 gram, Carbohydrates: 4 grams, Sugar: 1 gram, Sodium: 2 milligrams, Fiber: 0.5 grams, Protein: 3 grams, Cholesterol: 0 milligrams