Cheese! Cheese! Cashew Cheese! The last frontier before crossing the bridge to fully plant based! Pretty much everyone loves some form of cheese and the most common phrase we hear is, “I could never give up cheese.” Well, even if you don’t, these days it’s getting easier and easier to transition into dairy free with so many great plant-based cheeses available. AND if you’re picky about what you call and refer to as dairy-free cheese (since it’s a hot topic in some countries) you could adopt the name “Gary” as they do in the UK to avoid confusion. No matter what you decide to call it, if it looks, acts, feels and tastes like it and the only difference is it’s not coming from an animal, then we’re good with that.
We love that there are so many options to choose from now. But, be warned, not all dairy-free cheeses are created equal. Some are heavily processed, high oil “cheeses” that are packed with gums, funk and other ingredients we can’t pronounce and refuse to use. Read the ingredient labels and decide what works for you.
The best kind is the kind we make at home and know and control what’s in em, they’re pretty simple to make… and today we’ve got a wicked healthy, RAW cheese recipe that is totally legit and legal and can be made in less than 24 hours.
This one starts with raw cashews that we culture with probiotics to infuse a twangy, “cheezy” flavor into the mix. Once the culturing is done in 14-16 hours, we then flavor with some herbs and then chill to firm before serving. We’re rolling and crusting this bad boy with cracked peppercorns. However, it can also be left plain or finished with whatever herb or furikake-style crumb topping you like. It’s delicious with sourdough breads, crackers, fruit and vegetables. It can even be used in grilled cheese sandwiches or on toast and bagels.
Here’s what we use to do it. The pieces of equipment listed below aren’t completely necessary (you can use whatever blender or food processor you’ve got). However, we recommend them for the next-level cooks/chefs and their ability to create a supremely smooth and velvety texture.
A high-speed blender is a key component to turn any nut or seeds from its raw state into a silky, smooth, thick cream. Just remember in order to blend to the smoothest consistency you’re gonna want to add some liquid and fold while blending to ensure the thickest texture without blowing out the engine. In other words, most vita mix based cheeses will only work well with more liquidy substances. If you are looking for a thicker consistency, you will probably want to strain the mixture with cheese cloth, press and culture, depending on the recipe.
Next to a Vitamix, we love this option when making non-dairy cheeses. With a Blixer, you only need a splash of water, if any, when blending. The end result is a super thick and smooth texture, with little to no straining required.