Cheese still looms large as a barrier for otherwise open-minded eaters dabbling with veganism. It’s not just because it tastes good, as they claim, but it’s a genuine addiction. Casein, the most abundant protein found in dairy cheese, triggers the brain’s opioid receptors exactly like hard drugs. Fragments of that protein called casomorphins attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics, producing a hit of dopamine with every bite.
The first step towards cheese freedom isn’t necessarily abstinence. No one needs to live without cheese entirely; in this day and age, there are nearly as many plant-based options on the market as conventional wheels, slices, and shreds. No longer can anyone claim a lack of flavors or accessibility as their excuse. Of course, whenever possible, homemade is still always best.
This herb-encrusted cashew cheese is a decadent and creamy homemade dairy-free cheese alternate. Spread it on toast or crackers as thickly as you please! The most-difficult part of the process is waiting for the cashew-based ‘curds’ to solidify. You’ll want to throw a wine and cheese party the moment your prize is ready, but you’d be forgiven for wanting to save every bite for yourself.
Unlike its dairy-based doppelganger, cashew cheese is a genuinely beneficial whole food, packed with vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and is also a good source of protein and fiber. In fact, it is actually higher in vitamins and minerals than standard cheese! Now you can indulge in good conscience and good health.
- 3 3/4 Cups Water, Divided
- 2 Cups Raw Cashew Pieces
- 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Refined Coconut Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Place 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the cashews. Cook gently until tender; about 15 minutes. Thoroughly drain and rinse.
- Transfer the cashews to your food processor or high-speed blender along with the remaining 3/4 cup water, vinegar, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt. Puree, pausing to scrape down the sides of the canister with your spatula as needed, until completely silky smooth. This may take some time so be patient! It will be worth the effort for that perfectly creamy texture in the end.
- Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a large bowl. Transfer the cashew paste to the strainer. Gather the edges of the cloth together and secure with a rubber band, effectively forming a round cashew puck within.
- Refrigerate, allowing the excess liquid to drip away into the bowl, until the cashew cheese is solid enough to hold together; at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours.
- Mix the parsley, rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a shallow bowl. Gently press herb mixture into the surface of the cashew cheese.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
For a nut-free option, you can use raw, unsalted sunflower seeds instead of cashews.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 72mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.