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Creamy Cashew Cheese

Many of us think about cheese when we think of veganism. “Yes, but cheese, I could never live without cheese!” It is what I often hear from family and friends. I would even say that I hear that more often than the bacon or the protein loss fear.

I think the problem is, is that a lot of people that have never learned about the whole concept and the endless meal possibilities, can’t imagine a meal without meat or cheese. I too was like that!  I believed, veggies are a side that can be skipped, not so the meat and cheese. When I first thought about veganism, my first thought was cheese; the second was veggies every day! It was not a pleasant thought at that time, as I considered myself a cheese and a meat lover.

I made the experience when going vegan, that some of my friends suddenly showed a lot of concern for my health. After my husband and our daughter decided to follow the vegan path as well, there were even more concerns from many friends and family.

We tend to cling to the things we are familiar with; change is often hard because we have to let go of habits, traditions, and much more. Many foods are associated with memories of our childhood, from mother’s and granny’s recipes to dishes that we always had at family gatherings or the favorite childhood foods.

We think that we are compassionate, but it often ends when we sit down to eat. We condition our children that are born kind and don’t want to eat animals because they love them. All children I know did that, and I did that as a child, my child did that too.  But we tell them that they have to if they want to stay healthy or for other reasons because our parents told us the same.

A batch with walnuts and pieces of dates (left), black and white sesame, hemp seeds

Once I decided to go vegan, I indeed missed cheese at the beginning. But after I found my routine and became even more creative than before, it was gone. I have not ever missed it since. There are so many delicious dishes, ideas on how to make creamy and cheesy sauces, crusts, and so much more. We have more variety on our dinner table than ever before. And with so many cheese alternatives on the market, no one needs to have their pizza or bread spread without it anymore.

This recipe is an easy and relatively fast way to make a vegan cheese with cashews and seeds. I like to add seeds or nuts to my cheese as they give it a little extra for the taste buds, but you can skip the seeds. It will still taste great.

Also, you can use any seeds you like, such as sesame, sunflower, cumin seeds, or any ones of your choice. It will have a slightly firm, more of a creamy texture that goes very well with both savory and sweet combinations, such as fruit jams or seitan sausages. It tastes fantastic on a slice of quality bread, such as sourdough or on whole-grain crackers.

I used hemp seeds as they are known to be exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats. The seeds that are also called hemp hearts are a great source of protein, omega-3 and -6, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc. Hemp seeds have many more benefits for our well-being, which is the reason why I try to add them to as many dishes as possible.

Walnuts and figs (front)

An excellent way to consume hemp seeds is in salads as a topping or blended in with your salad dressing. They are also perfect as a topping for cereals or muesli. I even sprinkle them over pizza or pasta, and also on my bread spreads. There are so many ways to eat hemp seeds if you want to add more value to your dishes. What is your favorite vegan cheese?

Creamy Cashew Cheese

Creamy Cashew Cheese

This recipe is an easy and relatively fast way to make a vegan cheese with cashews and seeds. I like to add seeds or nuts to my cheese as they give it a little extra for the taste buds, but you can make this recipe without seeds. Also, you can use any seeds you like, such as sesame, sunflower, cumin seeds, or any seeds of your choice. The cheese will have a slightly firm, more of a creamy texture that goes very well with both savory and sweet combinations, such as fruit jams or seitan sausages.

Prep Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked for 8 hours)
  • ½ cup unsweetened, unflavored soyghurt
  • ½ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds (optional / or the seeds of your choice)
  • Cheesecloth
  • A small round bowl

Instructions

Soak the cashews in cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain the cashews and wash them with cold water.

Mix the cashews and the soyghurt into a blender, add the nutritional yeast, half of the salt and blend until creamy.

Add the melted coconut oil and blend again for another 30 seconds. Then pour the cream into a cooking pot, add the starch and stir. Place the pot on the stove and turn on medium heat, continue stirring until the cream turns firmer and comes off the pot bottom easily.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in half of the seeds. Take a round bowl and layer it with the cheesecloth. Sprinkle half of the remaining seeds into the bowl (on the cheesecloth) and fill with the cream. Sprinkle the rest of the seeds on top, cover with the ends of the cheesecloth, then cover with a plate and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.

After the cooling period, take out the cheese, remove the cloth, sprinkle with the rest of the salt, store between 2 sheets of paper food wrap, in a container, and let it sit in the refrigerator for another day.

In turning the cheese once a day for 4 to 5 days, and replacing the food paper sheets, you will get a dryer result that has more firmness. I do that when I make a bigger batch of cheese that I need to stay fresh for more than a week. Keep stored in the refrigerator.



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