It goes without saying that people love cheese. But if we’re being honest, “love” might be an understatement. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans each ate an average of 36 pounds of cheese in 2012. Now, that’s a lot of cheese.
However, if you eat a vegan diet, you can still get in on the cheesy fun. The same goes if you’re simply trying to reduce or eliminate your dairy intake. Non-dairy cheeses, after all, have become increasingly popular. These days, you can buy cheese made of ingredients like soy, almonds, or pea protein — just to name a few.
But have you tried making your own vegan cheese? With ingredients like cashews and nutritional yeast, you can make vegan cashew cheese in the comfort of your home. Plus, it’s budget-friendly, easy to customize, and perfect for dinner parties.
It’s also wonderfully savory and creamy. In fact, even if you do eat dairy, something tells us you’ll love this delicious cashew cheese.
To make this recipe, you’ll need 2 cups of raw whole cashews. Place the cashews in a bowl and add hot water, making sure the cashews are completely covered. Set aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, gather the remaining ingredients: vegan cream cheese, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, olive or coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
Drain the cashews after they have soaked for at least 30 minutes. You can loosely chop them, if you’d like.
Add the soaked cashews to a food processor.
Continue processing the cashews until the mixture develops a thick paste-like consistency.
If you can roll up the mixture into a ball, the cashews are ready.
Add the nutritional yeast, oil, garlic powder, salt, and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice). For extra flavor, feel free to add spices like paprika, chili powder, black pepper, or your favorite dried herbs. Process the mixture, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed.
Add the vegan cream cheese. This will help make the cashew cheese smooth, creamy, and spreadable.
Continue processing the mixture until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. The cashew cheese should be somewhat smooth, not chunky. Don’t forget to taste it, too. You can adjust and add the ingredients according to your liking. For example, if you prefer a more tangy flavor, add an extra teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Continue mixing and adding vinegar until it suits your taste buds.
Place a cheesecloth or clean tea towel over a large bowl. Scoop the cashew mixture on to cheesecloth.
Gather the edges of the cloth and secure tightly. Form the cashew cheese into a ball, disc, or log. The shape is up to you. Put the cheese in the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours, or overnight. The cashew cheese will hold its shape once chilled. It can also be spread or sliced.
When it’s time to enjoy your cheese, the sky is the limit. Pair it with your favorite crackers, chopped veggies, or a bunch of grapes. For an elegant touch, add fig spread or olives.
As a basic cashew cheese recipe, this can be used to make flavored versions like vegan sun-dried tomato cheese. Simply roll the ball in the ingredients or fold in the ingredients before chilling.
To get the (cheese) ball rolling, check out these ideas for tasty add-ons:
- dried cranberries
- chopped pistachios
- everything bagel spice
- coconut bacon
- sunflower seeds
- pomegranate seeds
- crushed pretzels
- taco seasoning
Anything goes when it comes to this cashew cheese recipe.
What would you pair with this vegan cashew cheese? Share your thoughts, below!
Spreadable Vegan Cashew Cheese
- 2 cups raw cashews
- Hot water
- 4 ounces vegan cream cheese
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Cover cashews with hot water. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, then drain well.
- Process the cashews in a food processor until it develops a thick, paste-like consistency.
- Add the nutritional yeast, oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and salt. Continue processing the mixture, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Add the cream cheese. Process until smooth and the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Give it a taste and adjust the ingredients according to your liking.
- Place a clean cheesecloth or tea towel over a large bowl. Scoop the cashew cheese mixture on to the cloth. Gather the edges and secure with a rubber band.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours. Serve with crackers, vegetables, or grapes.