By Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
Apr 17, 2013,
If you have read about my passionate love affair with coffee, then you know my desires for food and beverage run deep. However, nothing compares to my lifelong, insatiable infatuation with cheese. I’m talkin’ full fat, dairy laden, cheese of all kinds and in any form.
I used to crave cheese like a lover craves a caress.
I grated it, sprinkled it, melted it, savored it, and dreamed about it.
I needed cheese like a baby needs a teat.
It was seemingly the one thing that kept tripping me up every time I tried to move into a plant based way of eating. I seriously tried to lay off the cheese because as much as I loved it, cheese did not love me back.
In fact, for me, dairy cheese induced headaches, kept me bloated, gassy, and in a full-on IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) flare. I knew this, but still, I needed that taste, that comfort, that high of creamy cheesiness.
For years, I worshipped at the golden altar of cheese like the gassy, unrepentant sinner I was.
I blindly stumbled into the world of Clean Food Dirty Girl, the plant based meal plans, and the pure, plant-powered pleasure that is homemade vegan cashew cheese.
This recipe was stupidly easy and I was totally knocked out, knocked up, and knocked down with the first blissful bite!
Once I regained consciousness, stopped writhing in pleasure, and moaning in ecstasy, I was shocked to realize that only five ingredients came together to create such mouthgasmic majesty. In fact, I was suddenly so inspired to see what else I could do with this mind-blowing vegan cashew cheese!
I became a madwoman in the kitchen and took this basic recipe for vegan cashew cheese and used it on Plant Based Pizzas, crumbled it in Big Ass Salads, spread it on Plant Powered Sandwiches, stuffed it in Lasagna, put it on toasted bread with fresh tomatoes and basil, and plopped it on top of Creamy Broccoli Soup, and Roasted Kabocha Squash.
But my most favorite thing of all was the day I discovered the recipe for Plant Based Smoky Ranch Cheeseball. Oh my heavens! It was a spruced up vegan cashew cheese, and after it chilled, I grabbed a box of crackers, a knife, a good book and retreated to my couch for a rollicking good time.
I love that I’ve been able to completely transition to a Dirty plant based way of eating and kiss my addiction to dairy cheese goodbye.
Now, every time I face dive into a plant-powered cheesy sauce, or gobble up a grilled cashew cheese sandwich, or belly flop into a bowl of French onion soup with cashew cheesy croutons, I feel good about my choices, and my body thanks me with fabulous health and thundering mouthgasms of flavor.
If you’ve never tried vegan cashew cheese before you are in for a treat. Here’s a super easy, super versatile recipe that will delight your taste buds and help you move closer to a plant based way of eating.
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- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water at least 1 hour (130 g)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice (10 ml)
- ½ teaspoon salt (3 g)
- 1 pinch black pepper (2 turns, or to taste)
- ¼ cup water (60 ml)
- homemade crackers for serving (optional) (see Notes for recipe)
- Soak, drain, and rinse cashews.
- Place in a food processor, along with lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
- Pulse for about 1 minute to combine ingredients.
- Add water and process until completely smooth, about 2–4 minutes. Turn off the food processor and scrape the mixture from the sides a couple of times while processing.
- Is it seriously that simple? Yes lovers, it is.
- Soaking the cashews allows them to be processed into a creamy texture. Soak the cashews for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. The longer you soak them the creamier they will become. Pro tip: you can soak the cashews ahead of time and freeze for quick access later.
- This is an awesome vegan cashew cheese base recipe. From here, feel free to play around and add other yummy ingredients (chives and garlic sound awesome to me).
- If all you have are roasted cashews, you can use them, but it may change the flavor.
- Our cashew cheese is pictured with these easy-to-make oil-free crackers.
You can find a tons of delicious creamy vegan cheese sauces when you sign up for our super tasty meal plans.