In an attempt to reduce my consumption of the phenomenally addicting VT Cabot Cheddar Cheese (it’s guaranteed I’ll say this EVERY time I create a vegan cheese recipe…) I started experimenting with cashews. Cashews are seriously undervalued. Not only are they ridiculously nutritious, but they are extremely versatile, too! Soak them in water and puree them into a super creamy, unbeatably tasty medium that can be used as a dip, sandwich dressing, pasta sauce, or even used as the base for some totally delicious fudgy brownies, like these.
Does this “cheese” really taste like cheese? I mean, it isn’t VT sharp cheddar, this recipe is soft and spreadable, and loaded with tasty herbs like tulsi and thyme. But, if we drop the side-by-side comparison, it is absolutely crave-ably delicious and a totally satisfying replacement for a nightly cheese & crackers snack! There is no doubt you’ll be pleased with its slightly chewy exterior and oh-so-soft creamy middle!
Tulsi, aka holy basil, is a wonderful adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps the body adapt to stress (when taken appropriately). It has a strong aroma and flavor much like culinary basil and infuses a superior flavor into this “cheese”!
Thyme, abundantly aromatic and flavorful, is powerful! You may want to use slightly lesser amounts of thyme than the other herbs. Although thyme isn’t specific to any season, it is a great warming resource for those cool weather ailments like the coughs, colds, and flu’s. It’s also a great digestive aid and a marvelous addition to many meals!
Calendula, my oh-so-favorite herb, has many soothing qualities. As for its purpose in this cheese, I chose it for its notable sunny allure! Alone, calendula can be a bit bitter, but dispersed throughout this appetizer its nearly magical glow is its prominent trait.
So, for my next vegan cheese experiment: creating a firm, sliceable wheel!
- 2 cups cashews – soaked in water for several hours
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 5 tbsp fresh herbs – chopped
- 2 – tulsi
- 1 – thyme
- 2 – calendula
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- Add everything except your fresh herbs into a high speed blender and blend it up until it’s as creamy as you can get it!
- Scoop out that creamy goodness, toss it into a bowl, and hand stir in your freshly chopped herbs.
- At this point you can eat it as is, or you can shape it into a little wheel and dehydrate it a bit to create a sturdier product with a chewy exterior and an oh-so-creamy interior. NOTE: I used cheesecloth to help shape the loaf, however you will NOT want to dehydrate this cheese wrapped in cloth. It’ll stick.
- To dehydrate: Scoop the nut cheese mix onto a parchment paper lined dehydrator tray and shape to your desire. Dehydrate at 115° for 6-8 hours.