Are there ever foods that you identify with a certain place or event? Spending the first 22 years of my life in Wisconsin, the food that reminds me most of home is cheese. When I first went vegan (almost 2 years ago!) cheese was the one thing I thought I would never be able to give up. I loved it on everything, on sandwiches, salads, pasta, even just slicing it and eating it plain right out of fridge.
One of the things I have missed most while vegan (less and less as I keep going) is just a simple cheese plate. In Wisconsin, cheese and crackers, cheese and fruit, cheese and nuts, it’s all considered an appetizer and is at every family gathering ever. There are times when I do miss the simplicity of having a glass of wine, some cheese, and grapes. After I managed to pull off the cashew “goat cheese” kale salad, I felt like trying my hand at another cashew-type cheese.
This time I decided to add some chickpeas to as well, to keep it a bit more firm while also creamy. The combination turned out surprisingly well. I baked the cheese this time around and with the added fiber and protein out of the chickpeas I had no guilt at all with it. It was extremely filling, as well as being tasty but not overpowering.
While I didn’t add basil this time, the combination of cashews, garlic and chickpeas gave the cheese a mildness that ended up being so versatile. I was able to pull off a cheese plate style cheese, and also pulled off a caprese salad. This cheese would be great to top a salad or a pasta. The possibilities are endless. While it wouldn’t melt like cheese, it’s a pretty great substitute for hard cheeses like a parmesan or feta.
Beyond just being versatile, the cashew cheese had a pretty great shelf life too. Covered and placed in the fridge, it was delicious for an entire week, and I’m sure it could have lasted longer but we managed to eat it all by then. This is one recipe I’m going to go back to time and time again.
Homemade Vegan Cashew Cheese
What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in water 3+ hours
- juice from 1/4 lemon (about 1-2 tablespoons)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 cup chickpeas
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon white miso paste
What You’ll Do:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all the ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
- Using two ramekins covered with parchment paper, divide the mixture evenly between the two ramekins.
- Bake for 20 minutes, let cool, and serve however you please.
- Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!