I'm not vegan or even vegetarian, but I love this Vegan Cashew Cheese. I know you will too! This vegan condiment is delicious. You don't have to be vegan to think so.
If you have no idea what cashew cheese is or are thinking, why the heck would I even want to make cashew cheese? Just hang out – let me tell you why you should make this Creamy Cashew Cheese with Garlic and Herbs.
I started making cashew cheese sauce a few years ago when my daughter was completely vegan. I was always looking for plant-based stand-ins for our favorite recipes, and I found out that it's super easy to make a vegan cheese sauce with cashews.
I first used cashews as a stand-in for cheese by making Vegan Alfredo with Butternut Squash and Kale recipe. I started with the basic cashew sauce recipe from Pinch of Yum and then have tweaked it a million different ways.
This recipe is made in a high-speed blender and is creamy and saucy. I added some roasted butternut squash into this vegan alfredo sauce, and it also has yummy chunks of the roasted butternut squash and some wilted kale and tossed with orecchiette! It is delicious.
Most people that have eaten it have no idea that this creamy pasta dish is dairy-free. It just tastes terrific, and that is the goal. This recipe made me realize that you can make creamy and delicious sauces with absolutely no dairy. If you have been following Foodology Geek, you already know that I will not waste my time with a recipe that doesn't taste amazing.
What you're going to love about this recipe?
- Easy and economical: Making cashew cheese is so easy. Once you've given this recipe a try you will never pay 8 bucks in the store for the packaged stuff.
- Dairy-free: Nut cheeses are dairy-free so you can still enjoy a spreadable cheese even if dairy doesn't agree with you.
- Super-versatile: Cashew cheese is a versatile condiment and can be made thick and spreadable, more dippable, or smooth and creamy, more like a sauce.
This recipe is so easy! There is no cooking involved at all. You do need to soak the nuts overnight night so keep that in mind to plan accordingly.
- Nuts: I use raw cashews in this recipe, but other nuts can also be used to make this amazingly delicious nut spread. Raw macadamia nuts are another great option.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice give the cheese a bright flavor.
- Fresh Herbs and Salt: This recipe calls for parsley and rosemary. I also love this recipe with chives and dill.
- Step 1 Soak the nuts: Soak the nuts in cool filtered water overnight. Use at least twice as much water as you have nuts. Drain the nuts before blending.
- Step 2 Blend: Add the ingredients to a high-speed blender. Process until smooth.
FAQs and Expert Tips
If you are looking for a cashew cheese that is more like the consistency of your favorite ranch dressing, you can add a little bit of water to make this mixture thinner. A few tablespoons of water should give it the consistency of a thick sauce and serve it alongside veggies like broccoli.
This recipe is about the same consistency as hummus. Some recipes call for nutritional yeast, and sometimes I use it, and sometimes I leave it out.
Nutritional yeast tastes a little bit like toasted asiago cheese and does give the recipe a little more "cheesiness." I definitely would use it if you are looking for that mac and cheese type flavor.
I am a huge fan of "Master Recipes" like this one.
Master recipes are core recipes that serve as the foundation of a versatile recipe that you can turn to repeatedly. You can spin the basics a little bit different way to fit the dish you are making.
An excellent example of a Master recipe is a vinaigrette. The foundation ingredients are always the same: oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and some aromatics. You can use the formula to make a million different vinaigrette recipes. Balsamic, citrus, red wine, it's nearly endless.
The same concept can be applied to a recipe like this cashew cheese. The foundation is always the same. Cashews, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar. Salt and pepper, and then some herbs and aromatics.
You can add flavors like roasted red peppers, kalamata olives. This recipe gives you and thick, spreadable herbaceous cashew cheese. If you want a smooth and creamy cheese sauce like the one I use for my Vegan Alfredo Sauce, you can thin the mixture out with some water.
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Super Easy Vegan Cashew Cheese
- 2 cups Raw cashews
- 4 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoon Fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon Fresh rosemary
- 1 or 2 cloves Garlic
- Add the cashews and the water to a large bowl or a mason jar and soak overnight.
Making the Cheese
- Strain the water off of the cashews and then place the nuts into the bowl of your food processor.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. You can add a little water to thin if needed.
- Serve with veggies or crackers.
Laura's Tips + Notes
- Chives and dill
- Roasted red peppers
- Kalamata olives