Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cashew Cheese is Sure to Make You Smile

I recently discovered a Raw Foodist restaurant right in my very own city! I've been going to university here for four years, and this was the first time I'd taken notice. I actually never even realized it was a restaurant, let alone the perfect restaurant. I walk past it every Saturday, but only realized what it was by Googling for vegetarian restaurant in Guelph. It's called Wild Organic Way and it's amazing...or rawmazing, as some might say. I've been three times in the last month.

Anyways, their food is delicious and I would eat there everyday, but I really can't afford to eat out...ever again. So, it has inspired me to try and recreate some of their items. I decided to start with nut cheese, something I've always wanted to make, but never had the motivation.

You can find recipes for Raw Cashew Cheese everywhere on the internet. I had my pick of dozens of recipes, though, they were all pretty well the same. I went for the simpler and...cheaper...versions.

Raw Cashew Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups of soaked, raw cashews*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • juice of one lemon**
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • I am sure there are a gazillion herbs and spices you can add to this recipe, but I was after a plain cheese
*I used "raw" cashew pieces because they were cheaper, and it worked fine. I have read that roasted cashews also work, but then, of course, you lose all those raw food benefits and enzymes...if your cashews were truly raw to begin with (see note from instruction 1).
**Apparently lime works just as well. Also, I hate throwing away anything and I've been told you can use lemon rind for making vegetable broth, so that's what I am going to do with mine.

1. Place your cashews in a bowl with enough cool water to cover them, plus two inches.  Let soak for at least 2 hours, then drain and rinse.*

2. Place all your ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Take breaks if your food processor heats up (don't want to cook the cashews!) and make sure you scrape down any escapees that crawl up the sides of your bowl.**

Sorry for the yellow state of my food processor...the curry powder from soup making stained it

3. Prepare a bowl with cheese cloth, folded to make two layers. Spoon your mixture into it, and cover it.

4. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours, but no more than 48. Store in refrigerator for up to a week—it firmed up a bit once it had been refrigerated.***

*You do not need to soak cashews as long because, when you buy them shelled, the enzymes are already dead from the heat of the shelling process. 2-6 hours was the most commonly recommended soaking time—any long than that, and apparently they start to get soggy and rancid. I let mine soak for 4 hours.
**It looked pretty fluffy and light after my food processing.
***I left it for about 25 hours...I just couldn't wait any longer

I taste tested the cheese on its own and also had some on a piece of toast. It is delicious...and difficult to describe. You can definitely taste the garlic, but there is also a sweetness to it because of the cashews. Anyways, it is not a very strong taste, but I have read it is the milder of the nut cheeses, to which herbs/spices are often added. You can spread it on toast or add it to your  sandwiches, wraps, etc...and there are plenty of raw food recipes that make use of nut cheese.

This was taken as soon as it was done. The slices firmed up a bit once they had been in the fridge for a couple hours.


  1. Does it really taste like cheese? I am very interested in trying this. How long does it keep?

    They're fruit I think? Or at least a part of a fruit…

  2. It does not taste not like's more like a savoury spread, comparable to hummus...but different...difficult to explain the taste! Maybe I'll bring some on Monday for you to try??

    And it stores in the fridge for up to a week.

  3. Very good texture. Directions work as advertised. This had far too much nutmeg for our tastes. Next time I'd use 1/3 to 1/4 of that amount. The "cheese" does provide a fine palette for whatever flavors you wish to add. I put grated lemon zest and chopped chives on top. Served on toasted buckwheat walnut bread. Thanks.

  4. Hi dgourmet! Thanks for the comment, but I am not sure you have the right recipe because there is no nutmeg in this one, though it sounds like it'd taste pretty good!

  5. Thank you for your recipe it was simply divine .My boyfriend was so shocked ,he is addicted !!!

  6. If you add nutritional yeast, it will taste more like cheese.


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