Raw cashew cheese ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

16 May 2012

Raw cashew cheese

raw cashew cheese

So the other day, after months of saying "I should really make some cashew cheese one of these days..." I finally made a batch of Gena's sun-dried tomato and basil raw cashew cheese. I left out the miso, since we didn't have any, but otherwise made no changes whatever to the ingredient list.

I haven't done the cashew cheese thing before for a few reasons. First, I frequently eat all our cashews before I have the chance to use them in recipes that require two hours of soaking. Second, I don't have a food processor and have no plans to get one.

Wait, what? No food processor? No. I mean, we have an immersion blender that came with a tiny little processor-like attachment, but it is definitely not big enough to handle a full batch of cashew cheese. Instead, I used my blender, which was slightly problematic but worked out fine in the end. It really only meant that I added liquid at the beginning of processing instead of the end, and that I scraped and pulsed a lot more. Have you ever tried to get a thickish nut paste out of the bottom of your blender? Yeah. It was a little interesting.

raw cashew cheese

But ultimately the whole experiment was a success. I soaked my cashews patiently without eating a single one in advance. I blended everything together with minimal drama. And then I had a beautiful big batch of delicious homemade cashew cheese to eat with dinner! Hooray!

Gena calls this "pizza cheese" due to the super Italian flavors of sun-dried tomato and basil. So I decided to combine it with some of my favorite vegetables to have on pizza--fresh spinach and red pepper--as well as a pile of baguette slices, for an ultra-simple, vegetable-focused dinner.

raw cashew cheese

Crinkly spear-shaped spinach leaves don't exactly lend themselves to formal wraps, but that's ok. I just spread spoonfuls of cashew cheese down the middle of each leaf folded them in half, and ate them that way. Spinach tacos!

The red pepper provided a more solid boat on which to rest the cheese, but its strong flavor overwhelmed the more delicate cashews. Next time I'll probably go get a narrow head of radicchio or endive and fill a bunch of individual leaves with spoonfuls of cheese, shredded crispy carrot, radish, or cucumber, and maybe a sprinkling of sprouts or other fine greens.

John and I clearly couldn't eat an entire batch of cashew cheese in one meal, no matter how tasty. Maybe I can actually try it out in my tiny food processor attachment next time--I'll just halve or third the batch, and then we can eat it all in one go! Anyway, this meant I knew exactly how to garnish my dinner of angel hair with shallots, zucchini, green beans, and spinach the next day. The cashew cheese worked perfectly--tasty and fresh.

spinach and angel hair with raw cashew cheese

After this experience, I definitely think I will be making nut cheeses more often. Just imagine the hundred different ingredients I could add to the basic mix of soaked nuts, salt, and water. Scallions, ginger, smoked paprika, carrot, shallots--I want to try them all!


Abigail said...

That looks good! I may start making all your recipes. :)

Benlovesting said...

So lovely!

Joanne said...

I've been wanting to make vegan cheese and this sounds like the perfect recipe to start with!

Jes said...

No food processor? I don't know how I'd live without mine (which is waaaay too big, but oh so useful for soups). You did an awesome job without one though!

Eileen said...

Yes, you guys should definitely try it--very easy, and an excellent end result!

Having no food processor mostly doesn't faze me, actually. I can knead my own dough! And the blender (nothing fancy--just a normal Oster) is totally adequate for most tasks.

Aylin @ Glow Kitchen said...

I can think of a million ways to use this recipe. Looks amazing!

Kat said...

I've never had nut cheese before, this looks really tasty! I admire your patience for not eating a single nut while they soaked (pretty much impossible for me).

noelle said...

You had me at pizza cheese here, but I'm looking forward to hearing what other flavors you make.

Stephanie said...

I have a recipe for raw cashew cheese I make all the time. Isn't it great? Glad you gave it a try and happy the blender worked out for you. I like the idea of sun dried tomatoes. It's great on just about everything!

Andrea said...

Interesting! Does it taste anything like cheese? I'd love to see if this could replace cream cheese on my morning bagel...

Eileen said...

I don't really think it tastes like cheese--it's more like the richness of cheese plus bright pungent herbs. I do think it'd be a great sub for cream cheese on a bagel, though--it would just be different.