Dairy-Free Cashew Cheese

Dairy-Free Cashew Cheese

 

I can remember one thing was always present at “special” dinners of my childhood: ranch and/or French onion dip from a carton.

I remember skipping down the dairy aisle at the store to grab those plastic cartons of flavored dip that we would take to the church potluck or to a friends’ Super Bowl party or to snack on before the Thanksgiving meal was served.

Those pre-made dips were easy appetizers that could be served without effort with chips, crackers, or vegetables.

Once someone broke out the dip, the party started!

Nowadays, I buy less and less pre-made stuff in favor of making my own.

I make my own because I like having complete control over the ingredients. Also, it’s just cheaper 99% of the time.

And I make this dip for a third reason…

I absolutely love the shock on people’s faces when I tell them what it’s made of!

Unsalted, raw cashews are the most neutral-flavored nut I’ve ever had. They take on flavors so well, it’s like they were meant to be used this way. (This Lemon-Vanilla Cashew Butter is just 1 example!)

Cashews blend into beautifully smooth dips, butter, and spreads, whether sweet or savory.

Depending on how you flavor it, cashew cheese can serve as a dairy-free spread on your morning bagel just as well as a replacement for hummus or as a dip for crackers and vegetables.

This recipe is for a basic cashew “cheese”. I use the term “cheese” loosely here, simply because this dip most closely resembles a soft cheese spread or dairy-laden dip. You can also use this as a ricotta cheese replacement!

It is perfect for those who would love to enjoy cream cheese spreads and dairy-based dips, but who cannot due to a food allergy or sensitivity.

Cashew Cheese Flavor Variations:

Tomato-Basil: Reduce olive oil to 1/4 cup. Add in 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, plus 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves. Blend as directed.

Garlic & Black Pepper: Use 4 or 5 cloves of garlic and 1 full teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Blend as directed.

Ranch: Add 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder to the original recipe. Blend as directed.

What are your favorite ways to replace dairy in your lifestyle? Would you like to try this cashew cheese?

Dairy-Free Cashew Cheese
This recipe is for a basic cashew "cheese". I use the term "cheese" loosely here, simply because this dip most closely resembles a soft cheese spread or dairy-laden dip. Cashew cheese can serve as a dairy-free spread on your morning bagel just as well as a replacement for hummus or as a dip for crackers and vegetables.
    Servings2 cups
    Prep Time8 hours
    Cook Time10 minutes
    Ingredients
    Instructions
    1. Place the cashews in a glass bowl or jar and cover with filtered water.
    2. Soak for 8 hours, or overnight.
    3. Drain and rinse the cashews until the water runs clear.
    4. Place the soaked cashews into a high-powered blender or food processor.
    5. Add the remaining ingredients.
    6. Pulse to combine, then blend for 1 to 2 minutes, or until completely smooth.
    7. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
    8. Transfer to a bowl for serving, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
    9. Serve with crackers, toast, bagels, or veggies.
    Recipe Notes

    Drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle chopped fresh or dried herbs over the cashew cheese when you're ready to serve. It makes for a lovely presentation!

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