Cashew Cheese (4 ways) and Wine

By September 10, 2015Appetizer, Dairy Free, Paleo, Raw, Recipes, Snacks

 

Cashew Cheese 4 WaysI like to drink wine each week. I don’t drink a lot, but I like a glass or two on the weekend. Wine is a good choice if you drink alcohol because it is gluten free. Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect against inflammation and diabetes. It reduces clotting and makes your blood vessels more springy.

As a nutrition coach I know it is not a good idea to drink wine on an empty stomach. Wine gets absorbed quickly through your body’s membranes into your blood stream. It easily spikes your blood sugar resulting in a crash and can leave you feeling hung over. The good news is if you have cheese or some other type of fat with your wine it enters your system slowly, keeping your blood sugar more stable. It is no wonder cheese and wine pair so well together.

If you don’t eat dairy, cashew cheese is the perfect alternative. Cashews contain zero cholesterol. They are high in a fat called oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil, and has been shown to promote cardiovascular health. Cashews are high in copper and other minerals. They contain fiber and protein.

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When you enjoy these cashew cheese dips with your wine, it will be easier for your blood sugar to stay in balance. The four cheeses pair nicely with wine and go well with crudité or gluten free crackers.

Cashew Cheese 4 WaysCashew Cheese Four Ways

Cashew cheese is simple to make. Blend raw soaked cashews with seasonings, a little lemon and vinegar and you get a creamy cheese spread.  It gets its cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast.

What is Nutritional Yeast?

nutritional-yeast-Nutritional yeast is an inactive form of yeast used as a food. Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor and the taste is similar to a rich sharp cheese. I consider nutritional yeast a “superfood” because it contains lots of B vitamins, protein, and fiber, it is golden yellow and is usually found in flakes. The yeast is cultured and grown typically on a glucose medium like molasses or sugar cane. After the yeast has grown, it’s killed with heat, processed, and dried – this process leaves an inactive nutrient rich yeast. CAUTION: If you suffer from candida this is not a good food for you, sorry.

I keep cashew cheese stocked in my refrigerator. I like to put a dollop on my salad for additional healthy fats, fiber and protein. You can also stir it into warm quinoa pasta for a creamy sauce.

Cashew 4 DSC_0683Cashew cheese can be made in a variety of flavors. These four recipes are my favorites. There is a fresh tasting basil and garlic, a sweet and salty olive, a savory porcini mushroom and a bold horseradish and dill.   They all pair nicely with wine. Make them ahead of time to have on hand for yourself or when friends come over.

The Recipes 

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Basil Garlic Cashew Cheese

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo, Raw               PRINT RECIPES

This is a fresh dip for crudité and can be used as a topping on all your Italian dishes. Add a dollop to zucchini noodles with tomato sauce to get a creamy, cheesy taste without any dairy. Add it to warm fluffy quinoa.

Pairs nicely with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Rosé

Makes 1 cup

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator
1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 cloves for a more garlicy flavor)
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
¼ cup filtered water
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 Tb Dijon mustard
2 Tb chopped parsley
½ tsp Celtic sea salt, or more to taste
½ cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed, coarsely chopped

  • Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  • Add all the ingredients, except the basil to a high speed blender.
  • Blend on low speed to start. Keep scraping down the sides until it is running smoothly. Add more water a little bit at a time if necessary, but not too much. Turn up the speed and blend until creamy.
  • Add the basil leaves and blend until the basil is broken up but you still have a few tiny specks.
  • Taste to adjust salt.
  • It will be the consistency of thin yogurt but will firm up to the consistency of sour cream once chilled.
  • Chill for 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 Olive Cashew Cheese

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo, Raw

The rich salty taste of the olives pairs nicely with the sweet cashews. Start without any salt. Add salt at the end. The amount will depend on the saltiness of the olives. I like to use a combination of Kalamata, oil cured and green olives.

Pairs nicely with Merlot or Pinot Noir

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator
1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 cloves for a more garlicy flavor)
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
2 Tb apple cider vinegar
¼ cup filtered water
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 Tb Dijon mustard
1/3 cup mixed olives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  • Add all the ingredients, except the olives to a high speed blender.
  • Blend on low speed to start. Keep scraping down the sides until it is running smoothly. Add more water a little bit at a time if necessary, but not too much. Turn up the speed and blend until creamy.
  • Add the olives and blend, leaving a few tiny pieces of olives.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • It will be the consistency of thin yogurt but will firm up to the consistency of sour cream once chilled.
  • Chill for 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
 Porcini Mushroom Cashew Cheese

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo, Raw

The rich earthy flavor of the mushrooms goes very well with red wine. I serve it with an American Cabernet or French Cote de Rhone. It makes a nice topping for roast potatoes.

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator
¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms,
½ cup filtered water
1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 cloves for a more garlicy flavor)
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 Tb Dijon mustard
2 Tb chopped parsley
½-3/4 tsp salt

  • Put the porcini mushrooms into a small bowl.
  • Boil the water and pour over the mushrooms. Let sit for 30 minutes until soft.
  • Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  • Pour the mushrooms into a strainer saving the liquid. Rinse the mushrooms to remove any sand.
  • Let the mushroom liquid sit for a few minutes. Pour off ¼ cup of the mushroom water leaving the sand at the bottom. If there is a lot of sand, you can pour it though a coffee filter, but I don’t usually find it necessary.
  • Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender.
  • Blend on low speed to start. Keep scraping down the sides until it is running smoothly. Add more water a little bit at a time if necessary, but not too much. Turn up the speed and blend until creamy.
  • Chill for 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Horseradish and Dill Cashew Cheese

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo, Raw

The bold flavor of horseradish and sweet taste of dill blend nicely with the cashews. I love it as a topping for salmon.

It pairs well with Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, which will stand up to the bold horseradish.

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator
1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 cloves for a more garlicy flavor)
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
¼ cup filtered water
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 Tb Dijon mustard
2 Tb prepared horseradish
4 Tb chopped dill
½ tsp Celtic sea salt, or more to taste

  • Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  • Add all the ingredients, except the dill to a high speed blender.
  • Blend on low speed to start. Keep scraping down the sides until it is running smoothly. Add more water a little bit at a time if necessary, but not too much. Turn up the speed and blend until creamy.
  • Add the dill leaves and blend until the dill is broken up but you still have a few tiny specks.
  • Taste to adjust salt.
  • It will be the consistency of thin yogurt but will firm up to the consistency of sour cream once chilled.
  • Chill for 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

I hope you enjoy these cashew cheeses. Even if you eat dairy cheeses they make a nice alternative and your guests will love them.

Please leave me a comment below. Have you ever tried cashew cheese?



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