When I decided to go plant-based, giving up cheese was by far the hardest part. I was never much of a meat-eater anyways, but cheese — well, I could eat that stuff all day long. So when I heard that I could recreate my favorite vice in ways that were dairy-free, good for me, and even better tasting, I knew that I had to give this whole vegan cheese thing a try.
Well, MIND BLOWN.
I've said this before, but whoever thought to make cashews into cheese is a stinking genius!!! And I promise you that nutritional yeast will become your best friend. Nutritional yeast, also known as "nooch" is a total superfood. It is gluten free, rich in folic acid, fiber, protein, and is high in B vitamin's which are essential for the production of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system. This extra boost of B is also super important for vegans and vegetarians, because plant-based foods are not as rich in these vitamins. Nooch contains approximately 5 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein for every two tablespoons and has a nutty, cheesy flavor that is absolutely perfect in any and all recipes that call for a cheese substitute.
For this post, I've rounded up my three favorite ways to enjoy vegan cheese that I use most often and think you are going to love! These recipes are all super versatile and can be used in a number of different ways. Even my most dairy-loving family members and friends prefer these recipes now over those stinky old cheeses. Here they are!
Cashew Ricotta Cheese
Make an amazing vegan lasagna with this cashew ricotta!
1 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 1/2 cup water 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar 1 Tbs nutritional yeast 1-2 cloves garlic 1/4 tsp onion powder 1/4 tsp dried basil, optional 1/4 tsp dried oregano, optional sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Soak cashews overnight or for at least 2-3 hours to help aid in digestion. Once cashews have finished soaking, rinse and strain, then place in a blender with remaining ingredients. A food processor would work to, however, it is harder to get the cheese as creamy so sticking with a blender yields better results.
- Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy, and resembling ricotta cheese.
- Remove from blender and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Kick a kale salad up a notch with this nooch!
1 cup raw almonds 3 Tbs nutritional yeast 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Prepare your vegan parmesan by placing almonds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and sea salt in a blender or food processor and blend until fine like parmesan cheese! Will last for 1-2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.
Cashew Sour Cream
Try this sour cream out with some Lentil Walnut Tacos!
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 1/2 cup water 2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar 1/4 tsp sea salt a dash of cayenne pepper
- Soak cashews for 2-3 hours to help aid in digestion. Once cashews have soaked, drain them and place them in a blender or food processor.
- Add in the water, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, cayenne pepper, and blend until creamy.
- Pour the sour cream into a bowl and keep in the fridge covered for up to a week.