When I first decided to go Whole Food Plant-based, I quickly learned that cheese was my Achilles heel. I used to make my own dairy-cheese, and found that I missed both the taste and texture. For a while, the cheese aisle continued to beckon (from time to time) and I even feared that I might not ever be able to truly say I’d given up dairy completely. Then I discovered cashew cheese, and even better, I discovered it was easy to make.
This simple cashew cheese is probably most similar to a creamy feta, chèvre, or boursin-style cheese.
This recipe can be halved, or freeze part of the mixture if you don’t you’ll be eating it all over. It lasts well in the fridge, the flavour develops and it becomes firmer as moisture evaporates.
It can be served immediately, infused with herbs or left in the fridge in a mold to firm up. Serve crackers with other antipasti or use it with anything that might have previously had with cheese.
- 400g raw cashew pieces
- 2 probiotic capsules
- 1 tsp seasalt
- 12g ( 4 Tbsp) nutritional yeast
- 2 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
Soak the cashew nuts, preferably overnight, for a minimum of at least 4 hours
Drain off the soaking liquid and rinse
Put the cashew nuts into a blender, add 1/2 cup of water and blend
2 probiotic capsules – contents only not the capsules, blend briefly
LEAVE OVERNIGHT (or 12 – 18 hours) at room temperature to ferment
To finish your cashew feta add the nutritional yeast, salt and lemon juice then start with ¼ cup of water, add by the tablespoon until it makes a thick paste, you want it a smooth as possible, without being too liquid.
For a formed cheese, line a mould with muslin or cheese cloth, spoon in the mixture and set cover over the top. Let it rest in the fridge. Within a day it should be firm enough to hold it’s shape, the longer it’s left the more moisture will evaportate and it will become firmer.
If you leave it in the fridge for a few days, the flavour will become more cultured, souring (pleasantly) in flavour.
Taste – very important step, how long it was left to culture will determine how sour air acidic it is.
Nutritional yeast gives the cheesy umami flavour, but you don’t want it to be too overpowering, add it a spoon at a time and taste as you go.
A satisfying and tasty bread requires only four ingredients and time.
Salt, you need some to balance out the flavours but remember when using salt crystals or finely ground salt, you get a different amount in a tsp, so add little at a time and taste.
To make a herby boursin style cheese, add finely diced chives, roll into a log and serve.
For some more recipe ideas you could try my raw salad, or one of my all-time favourites: Turtle Bean and Butternut salad. If you want to keep track of any of my “plant-based cheese” recipes, including ones I add in the future, have a look at my recipe index and search for “cheese“.