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