Today Becca over at The Dabblist and I are linking up to give you some cashew magic. Did you know that you can make cheese and dips and spreads out of cashews? I sure didn’t. It’s just a little magic that happens when you soak your nuts. I could edit that to sound less dirty, but I am just going with it. Call me Tobias Funke.
The truth is, I was scared.
Becca and I started doing something called The Friend Diet. In short, we would send each other texts of all of the meals and snacks we ate during the day. The goal was just to be held accountable for all of things we decided to put in our faces. It turns out that we are just really good friends and support each other through our love of cheese, baked goods and the occasional milkshake. In times of green juice or in times of cookie cake, I got your back friend. You my girl.
Some days would look like this:
Other days would look like this:
Almost every day would look something like this:
It was during one week on The Friend Diet that the words cashew and cheese came out of Becca’s mouth in the same sentence. I paused, slightly horrified. She expressed wanting to go vegan for at least a week to try it out. I couldn’t wrap this around my cheese-loving, carnivorous, egg-guzzling brain. I gave her mad props, and figured that if anyone could tackle veganism for a week it would be my lovely friend. She does juice cleanses, people. Those are terrifying. Nay, rather I AM terrifying on them. See below actual diagram.
So, even with the knowledge that Becca could totally be a vegan or a juicitarian or basically anything she wanted to be, I was still horrified by the idea of anything called cheese that did not factor in some sort of dairy. I have tried pre-packaged almond cheese before, and no matter what you say… that is truly horrifying. It does not melt. It tastes like the sole of a shoe. I could only assume that cashew cheese would be the same. Boy, was I wrong.
For my birthday, I received one copy of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Game changer. All the food looked beautiful. I actually found myself lusting over a picture of her Artichoke Aioli made with… you guessed it! CASHEWS! Becca has been a devoted fan-girl of Ms. Carr for some time now. I started to get it. What I imagined as being awful and scary and potentially gag-worthy actually looked delish. No wonder she was thinking about going vegan. This book makes vegan food look lust-worthy.
So, long story short, we both soaked our nuts (yep, did it again.) and made you all some fancy ( yet, easy) vegan fare. You can find her recipe for Cashew Cheese here.
Let’s get to this. I tried this spread two ways. As a sandwich topping, as well as with crackers. Both are great. I even got the Husband’s stamp of approval He’s even more skeptical of cashew cheese than I am…so that says something.
Mediterranean Cashew Spread Ingredients:
2 cups raw cashews (soaked for a few hours or overnight)
1/4 cup water
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbs honey (sub out honey for agave to make it truly vegan)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 jar of marinated artichokes (chopped)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
handful of fresh basil leaves (chopped)
fresh cracked pepper
Drain your soaked cashews.
In a high-power blender, combine your cashews, water, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and honey. Blend on high until it becomes a thick but spreadable consistency If it’s not thinning out to your liking, you can add water in small increments.
Transfer your cashew mixture to a bowl. Fold in your chopped artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and your basil leaves. Mix it all together until it is well combined throughout. Top it all off with some fresh cracked pepper.
I enjoyed mine like this for lunch:
Two toasted pieces of Udi’s gluten-free sandwich bread, cashew spread, spinach and a balsamic reduction. A balsamic reduction sounds fancy… but really it is just a schmancy way of saying “heat up some balsamic vinegar until it gets a little bit syrupy then put it on stuff.” You got this.
I also enjoyed it simply with a few tasty rice crackers. Yum.
Don’t be scared.
Love you all!
Cashew Cheese Skeptic Turned Believer
(Inspired by Friendship & Kris Carr)