Nov 30, 2013

Cultured Cashew Pimento Cheddar “Cheese” + Rejuvelac

CHEEEEESE!!!! Yup, you CAN enjoy cheese even if you’re vegan or avoiding dairy. And I’m not talking about that nasty, processed crap you find in the supermarket next to the tofu either. I’ve been dabbling in many recipes from a wonderful book that I’ve had for a while now: Artisan Vegan Cheese, by Miyoko Schinner. Lots of tasty recipes in that book! 

I altered one of Miyoko’s recipes a bit and came up with this fabuloso, completely and insanely delicious cheddar style “cheese” that I made as an appetizer for our Thanksgiving dinner. No one could believe it wasn’t the real deal. And I’ll tell you why…

Have you ever made a “cheese” sauce or other cheesy dish with cashews or some other healthy, plant-based ingredient and, sure, it was good but it just didn’t have that TANG? You know that cheese tang, right? Sure that dish might have been a bit sour from the lemon you used and it would have a cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast, maybe some sodium from the miso, but it was still missing that tang.

Enter REJUVELAC… a non-alcoholic fermented liquid made from sprouted grains. It is known to improve digestion and can be drunk as a digestive aid or used as a starter culture for other fermented foods such as raw nut and seed yoghurts, sauces and… cue fanfare music… cheese! Yes.

Making rejuvelac is pretty simple but it does take some time…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole grains (I used rye but any kind will do)
  • 6 cups pure water

Directions:

  1. Place the grains in a 1-quart jar, cover with cheesecloth and soak for 8-10 hours.
  2. Drain and rinse, leaving just enough water in the jar so that the grain is moistened.
  3. Cover with fresh cheesecloth and place in a warm area out of direct sunlight for 1-3 days, rinsing twice per day, until the grains have sprouted little tails.
  4. Rinse the sprouts and divide equally between two 1-quart jars.
  5. Add 3 cups of fresh water to each jar, cover with fresh cheesecloth and keep out of direct sunlight for 1-3 days. The water will turn milky white and will have a tart taste when done, similar to lemon water.
  6. Strain the liquid into clean jars of your choosing. Discard the grains.
  7. Store refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
after one day of culturing
the finished rejuvelac (48 hours)

Once you have your rejevulac you can experiment with all kinds of yummy cheeses—get the book! It’s great. Here is the recipe for the pimento cheddar:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 5-8 hours and drained
  • 2/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • ½ cup rejuvelac
  • 1-2 TBS mellow white miso
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (adds a great flavor and is also good for color)
  • ½ tsp turmeric (for color)
  • 1 roasted red pepper, divided
  • a bit of smoked paprika for garnish

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except ½ of the roasted red pepper into a high powdered blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed as you go. The mixture will be quite thick.
  2. Transfer to a clean, glass bowl.
  3. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how tangy a flavor you want. My culture GREW as it cultured, it nearly doubled in size as those wonderful probiotics worked their magic.
  4. When you’ve achieved the perfect taste for you, stir the cheese well and add the remaining ½ roasted red pepper, chopped (save a couple of strips for garnish if you want).
  5. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Sorry, but I’m not sure how long this will store as it was gone before the end of the night! I’m sure that it would last at least a week or so in the fridge.
  6. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and some roasted red pepper strips.
I know this recipe may seem like a lot of work (and patience) but trust me, it is so worth it. By the way, this isn’t a hard cheese that you would use for a melty grilled cheese. It’s more of a dip or a spread.

Enjoy!!!

Healthy, cheesy trails,

5 responses to “Cultured Cashew Pimento Cheddar “Cheese” + Rejuvelac”

  1. If you've ever had and liked Velvetta Cheese or any other kind of spread-able cheddar cheese, you will LOVE this! Knowing it's dairy-free, no lactose problems here, you can indulge to your heart's delight! It's got a tanginess to it that your palette will adore. Enjoy!

  2. Susan S. says:

    You've inspired me to order Miyoko's book, and I will try this recipe as well! Thanks so much. I haven't made the vegan switch yet because I do love cheese. Those vegan cheeses at Whole Foods clearly were developed by people who'd either never eaten real cheese, or had not had it in years–because they taste nothing like cheese. I'm hoping this book offers some convincing options.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I tasted several of Miyoko's cheeses at one of her cooking classes….I was shocked at how good they tasted! They sell tasted like the real thing.

    Suzanne

  4. I have this cookbook but so far have only tried the almond ricotta which by the way was fantastic. I used it in a vegan lasagna that was delicious. This cheese dip looks amazing and much like one I buy at Whole Foods that we really like.

  5. Helyn says:

    Hi Tami, I haven't tried the ricotta… now I will! Have you tried the cream cheese?? It's divine and very easy! Is the cheese dip at WF nut based? I haven't seen it.

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