Monday, April 16, 2012

Cashew Cheese

I still remember my first encounter with cashew cheese like it was was a brisk February day, and my mom, sisters, and I were going to one of our favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities, called Ecopolitan, and we ordered a Cashew Cheese Log...let's just say it rocked my world!  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Even when I got back home to Grand Rapids, I knew I couldn't rest until I knew how to make it.  I called the cook at Ecopolitan who politely told me they can't give out exact recipes, but he did offer some guidance, for which I was very appreciative.  That day I began the process, and much to my surprise, it turned out amazing!  Everyone who eats it falls in love.  The taste is creamy and tangy, with a little bit of saltyness!  It's firm enough to shape into a cheese log, but loose enough to dip raw veggies into!  I use it as a spread on veggie sandwiches, to dip crackers in, or to top off vegan nachos with instead of sour's versatile, and incredible!  Did I happen to mention how easy it is to do?  Check this'll be shocked!

2 c. raw cashews (yes, they have to be raw).
Soak these in enough water to cover them by an inch.  They'll need to be soaked for a few hours...the longer you soak them, the softer they'll be.

Drain and rinse your cashews once they've soaked.  Throw them into a blender, along with:

1 c. water
3/4 t. sea salt
1/2 capsule of a good probiotic (if you don't feel like measuring out the probiotic, I've actually made this with a full capsule, but it's cheaper if you can stretch the probiotic out!)

Blend until everything is completely smooth.  When using my Vitamix, this literally took 30 seconds!  But I have done this in a regular old, cheapy blender too, and it still turns out just fine.  You may have to add a tiny bit more water to keep things moving, and you may have to stop the blender a few times and scrape the sides...either way, it should only take a few minutes.

Once blended, grab an old (clean) t-shirt, cheese cloth (doubled up), cloth napkin, nut milk bag...basically anything that won't "shed" into your cheese, but will let some moisture leak out...and dump the mixture into it.  Rubberband the top, or seal it somehow, place in a colander over a bowl, and let set in a warm room for about 24 hrs.

The time you have to allow it to set will depend on how warm your room is.  When I was in Florida, this took less than a day, but when I made it in the dead of winter in Michigan, it took 2 days.  Taste it off and on to see if it's done.  It should have a cheesy "tang" to it...the longer you let it set (within reason), the "tangier" it will get.

Remove from the cloth, scraping every last bit into a container, and put in your refrigerator.  It firms up quite a bit once it gets cold.  Done!  How easy is that?  You can eat it just like this, OR let me tell you what Ecoplitan did, that was to DIE for:

Take plastic wrap and cover with sundried olives, chopped basil, sundried tomatoes, and pine nuts.  Take cold cashew cheese and form a log at one end of the plastic wrap.  Gently roll the log, keeping it in the plastic wrap, until it is covered in the toppings.  It should end up wrapped like a Tootsie Roll in the plastic wrap.

Chill for a few hrs.  Unroll onto a plate, drizzle with a balsamic reduction, sprinkle with micro greens, and raspberries.

Serve with good, thick crackers, and a knife for spreading!  (are you drooling yet, because I sure am!!)

One day, if I can make it and not eat it before taking a picture, I will photograph the log, and blog it...wonder if it's even possible to wait that long?!


  1. You will absolutely love this recipe! Amazing and you can use it with so many other things! Great job Courtney!

  2. So glad you like it!! It's a staple around our home! (I'm currently making some right now!)