Aug 17, 2015

Herbed Cashew Cheese

Have you tried your hand at cultured, plant-based cheese yet? It’s really fun and pretty easy, too. All you need is a Vitamix or another high-powered blender. Not only is it totally yummy but, since it’s cultured, it contains beneficial probiotics that tummies love. There are many vegan cheese recipes floating around. Many use nutritional yeast and lemon to achieve a cheesy flavor but there is really no substitute for the authentic tart and tangy goodness of a cultured cheese. Give it a try!

This recipe uses a basic cashew cream cheese recipe, and then it’s infused with herbs and spices and dried in the oven at a low temperature to preserve those healthy bacteria. It’s still pretty soft and spreadable but it is sliceable especially when it’s cold. I’ll be creating more recipes for plant-based cheeses soon so stay tuned 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • pinch sea salt (or adjust to taste)
  • 2 TBS plain, vegan yogurt
  • ½ cup chopped herbs—use what you like! I used fresh parsley, fresh dill and dried chervil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Drain the cashews, rinse and place in a high-powered bender. Blend, adding the water a bit at a time, until smooth and creamy, occasionally stopping to scrape down the blender jar and move the mixture toward the blades.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Culture the cheese: Transfer to a clean glass bowl or container, cover securely with a breathable cloth, like cheesecloth or a paper towel, and let rest at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how sharp a flavor you want and the ambient temperature (culturing will proceed more quickly at warmer temperatures). 
  5. When it’s cultured to your desired taste, transfer to a parchment-lined bowl and bake at 180° F (or on “warm” if your setting doesn’t go that low) for 1½-2 hours. If you’re not too concerned about the probiotics and simply want a yummy-tasting cheese, you can increase the oven temp to 200-220° and bake for one hour. They key is to remove as much moisture as you can. It will puff up in the oven. That’s okay. It sinks when it cools. 
  6. Refrigerate overnight before serving. It should stay fresh for about a week in the fridge.
before baking
Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

4 responses to “Herbed Cashew Cheese”

  1. I used to make this back in the late 1990's when I was vegan and raw. It is still as delicious now as it was then.
    Thank you for your interpretation of this recipe… We can't wait to try it.

  2. Helyn says:

    Great, Kytka! Hope you all enjoy it! 🙂

  3. my young son does not want to hurt animals, and thus, we do not eat animals., howsoever, it took us awhile to realize that since we do not want to hurt animals, we do not want to continue to eat cheese. so this recipe is timely, because we just ate our last cheese a few days ago. now my queries. what is vegan yogurt.,.,can we make it or do we purchase it? and further…how do we make it. or where do we purchase it? is there a substitute for parchment, as i do not know where to get that? and one last, is there any concern leaving food out for 48 hours….especially in temperatures of 90 degrees…you do not worry about food going bad?? sorry for all the queries just trying to learn and teach my son. Thank you so much

  4. Helyn says:

    Hi there. No problem on the questions. I am happy to help you with the transition!

    You can buy or make vegan yogurt. Most health food stores carry it. Are you anywhere near a Whole Foods? If your store doesn't have it maybe they can order it for you if you ask. To make it you'll need a yogurt maker (about $30 on Amazon) and some starter, also found on Amazon, just search "vegan yogurt cultures"

    Most grocery stores carry parchment paper. Look in the baking aisle or you can order it online. Amazon is really a great source for just about anything! 🙂

    When the cultures are present in the food, it won't spoil. Not in 24-48 hours anyway. I've made these cheese dozens of times and never had a problem. Just keep an eye on it and taste it after 24 hours for tanginess. In 90 degrees it should only take a day to culture. If you're just starting out, I would suggest making just the plain cream cheese as a first go. I've linked to the recipe above in the second paragraph.

    Have fun and don't hesitate to send me a private email if you have more questions at the email link above Dr. Fuhrman's picture on the right sidebar.

    xo,
    Helyn

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