Making Cashew Nut Cheese
Cashews are the secret to making really creamy vegan nut cheeses. Their texture once soaked is just right and all that’s needed is the careful addition of flavourings. Today I am sharing my basic recipe for a plain vegan cream cheese but, once you have mastered it, a whole world of cheese flavours is open to you!
Lemon juice, mustard, miso and nutritional yeast provide the base flavour for this vegan cheese. A splash of soy sauce and a pinch of garlic pepper add a bit of punch. These simple ingredients give a really good savoury flavour to the cheese and work as a foil for any others you want to add.
Once the cheese has been made it is left to firm up and drain in a muslin cheese cloth. I love the texture this leaves behind when the cheese is turned out – it makes me feel like a traditional cheesemaker, without any animals being harmed in the process! If you don’t have any muslin, a clean tea towel will also do the job.
Flavourings for Vegan Cheese
This basic recipe is fabulous as it stands but it is also an excellent starting point for flavoured vegan cheeses. Either add flavourings to the blend, before shaping and draining, or roll the finished cheese in a selection of flavours and textures.
Try adding the following to the blended mixture:
- Fresh herbs – parsley, basil, dill, thyme, rosemary, tarragon all work well.
- Chopped sun dried tomatoes, olives or capers. Drain them well before adding them and pat off any excess oil.
- Whole grain mustard instead of Dijon – the added texture works well.
- Smoked garlic – blend this in with all the other ingredients for a subtle smoky taste.
Roll your finished cashew cheese in some of the following for added taste and texture:
- Seeds – try sesame, poppy, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Nuts – roughly ground hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and pine nuts all work well. Pistachios with their lovely green hue look and taste great too!
- Dried Fruit – cranberries, apricots, goji berries all add colour taste and texture and look great on a festive table!
Tips For Making Cashew Nut Cheese
Cashew cheese making is very simple but these tips and tricks should help make it even easier!
- Soak the cashew nuts before blending. If you have a high speed blender you only need to soak them for an hour but the longer you soak them the creamier they will be! If you don’t have a high speed blender you will need to soak them over night to ensure a smooth creamy texture for your cheese.
- I’ve added a couple of tablespoonfuls of shop bought vegan cream cheese for extra super creaminess. This recipe works without it so leave it out if you can’t be bothered/haven’t got any in/are avoiding processed foods.
- Coconut oil helps with the set, don’t swap it for a liquid oil, it will go horribly wrong!
- Draining the cheese overnight ensures a good set and a nicely shaped ball. You can just pour it into a bowl instead and use it as a cream cheese straight away instead!
Looking For Something To Go With Vegan Cheese? Try:
- My easy homemade breadsticks.
- Clover Leaf Bread Rolls.
- Add some to Pizzas or to Vegan Pizza Rolls for a bit of cheesy goodness.
- Spread some on warm herby soda bread straight from the oven.
- Serve your vegan cheese ball with a selection of tapas dishes or take it out for a picnic and show it the world!
Easy Creamy Cashew Cheese
- High Speed Blender
- 150 g cashew nuts
- 60 ml water
- 2 tbsp vegan cream cheese optional
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp garlic pepper optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the cashews in fresh water for 1 - 24 hours. If you have a high speed blender one hour is the minimum soaking time, if you don't have one you will need to soak the nuts overnight.
- Drain the soaked cashews and rinse in fresh water.
- Add all the ingredients, starting with the water to the blender jug and blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning and flavourings to taste.
- Place a muslin square or clean tea towel over a small bowl. Spoon and scrape all the cheese into the muslin and close the ends over the top of the cheese.
- Leave in the bowl overnight to firm up.
- Remove the muslin and serve.