Saturday, June 4, 2011

Curb Your Cheese Addiction with Italian Cashew Cheese

This cheese is dairy free! Did you know dairy contains casein, which is actually addictive? Home-made dairy-free cheeses are helping to free me from my cheese addiction. It's a great feeling to not have cheese cravings. And I am not clogging up my arteries.

This cheese is good too! Nice flavors from the spices and you can slice it for cheese and crackers if that's your thing. After it has chilled, it grates up very nicely. Add grated cashew cheese to your pizza halfway through the baking cycle. Yummy – I guarantee it!

Here's a quesadilla I made with it. The "cheese" is even kinda melty!

Here's the recipe for the cheese. The sky's the limit when it comes to seasoning; just be sure to add enough or your cheese may be too bland.

1/4 cup agar flakes
1-1/2 cups filtered water
1 cup raw cashews, finely ground to a powder
4-1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 TB olive oil
2 TB nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 TB oil packed sun dried tomatoes
1 TB fresh basil, chopped

Spray 2 ramekins with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In medium saucepan, combine water and agar. Turn heat to medium and stir. While you're waiting for it to come to a boil...

Add cashews and all of the ingredients EXCEPT the sun dried tomatoes and basil, into a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Add tomatoes and fresh basil and pulse until chopped and mixed in with the rest.

Go back to the water and agar and turn heat up till it comes to a boil; then stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add the cashew mixture, take off heat, and mix until well blended. You will probably need a whisk to fully incorporate. It will be thick. Pour into ramekins. Cool for about a half hour or so and then cover and place into refrigerator until completely cool. It's ready to eat! You can freeze one of the cheese rounds if you can't consume in a fairly timely manner.

This cheese recipe is adapted from a recipe in 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. I haven't had this cookbook long enough to review it but I am impressed by the number of recipes (500!) and the variety. Although the book has no photos it's typeset nicely and there's many, many great looking recipes. I really need to put it on the top of my stack!

Italian Cashew Cheese on pizza pie. Mmmmmm!
The crust is the quinoa bread recipe from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

1 comment:

  1. How big are the ramekins you used? This looks like a very large block. Maybe I could use one 2 qt bowl? Or I have 4" spring-form mold pans. Is metal okay for setting this up? This looks beautiful! Thank you for such a basic and simple recipe. I keep finding ones that are SO complicated, but this looks like something I could build on. I am using agar powder, so I assume I would only use 2 T.