A cashew is merely a seed, not even a nut… Poor cashew. Luckily most people have come to understand that this ‘seed’ is an amazing addition to your diet. 5 years ago I fully understood the magic of the cashew, when we made a vegan cheesecake. You can probably guess, the secret ingredient was cashew.
When I buy cashews I want them to be unsalted and raw, that way all the oils are still in place for them to work their cashew magic. You can make so many wonderful creations with them. Many vegans are aware of this, and have been using cashews forever.
Let me break the cashew down for you: the ‘seed’ contains about 23% carbohydrates, 11% protein and 66% fat. Which is pretty good considering it has very low cholesterol and sodium levels. This only works if you buy them unsalted though! Otherwise you will still consume all the sodium and cholesterol with every bite. Cashews are high magnesium, which means it could help your fatigue, insomnia and concentration. Of course you shouldn’t eat tons of cashews if you want to lose a lot of weight, but that goes for all nuts.
Now to these vegan cheese and pate thingies! Both of them are a great addition to any cheese platter. You can serve them when you have a party, some skeptical friends visiting or just for yourself. It takes some time to prepare them, so start two days before by soaking the cashews in water. Make the cheese and pate the day before serving, so it can set in the fridge. Your leftovers will still be good after 7 days, and it tastes pretty good as a spread too.
* This recipe contains nutritional yeast, which you can order from Amazon or buy in some health stores. You can choose to make the recipe without the nutritional yeast, which works fine, but gives it a less ‘cheesy’ flavor.
for 1 small cheese or 1 small pate
1 cup raw cashews
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
juice and zest of 1 lemon
80 ml water
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
optional: 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (see note above)
Cheese version: 2 tbsp finely sliced fresh dill
Pate version: 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes + handful of walnuts
Put the cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Cover the bowl and soak overnight or around 12 hours.
Drain the cashews and add to a food processor or blender. Add garlic, garlic powder, lemon zest and juice, salt, olive oil and nutritional yeast, if using. Blend until creamy. At this point, taste and adjust to your liking: more lemon for sourness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, salt for flavour.
When making the sundried tomato version:
Add the sundried tomatoes to the blender and mix to combine. We like it when there are still some chunks of tomato left but do what feels best. From here, follow the instructions for cheese.
When making the cheese version:
Hang a clean tea towel or piece of cheesecloth over a mixing bowl and put the cheese mixture in the cloth. Gather the corners and twist them to form a ball. Secure with a rubber band. Place in the refrigerator for around 12 hours, so the mixture will set and it will lose most of the moisture.
To serve, unwrap the mixture from the cloth and dip them in a topping. We used fresh dill for the vegan cheese and walnuts for the sundried tomato pate. Please be gentle, the cheese and pate are very fragile and you don’t wanna ruin all your work!
Serve with crackers and vegetable sticks. Leftovers are great on a sandwich and will last up to 7 days.