This cashew cheese recipe will blow your mind with its extreme vegan cheesy deliciousness! It’s THAT good. And unlike non-vegan cheese, it’s packed full of anti-inflammatory nutrients and fresh ingredients, and the only creature you are bothering is, a chive plant.
Nigella seeds, otherwise known as onion seeds, or black cumin seeds, are highly nutritious, anti-inflammatory and packed with goodness and health benefits, used medicinally as far back as the ancient Egyptians; they were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. Nigella seeds are healing seeds, with a long list of medicinal uses, and are so tasty and good to cook with. They have a savoury onion flavour and an element of cumin (they’re also known as cumin noir, I might start calling them that, ‘darling, pass me the cumin noir…’). They’re also called ‘love in a mist’. Charnuska is again a beautiful name. Nigella means black, and you can see why, they’re a stunning matte black.
I’ve also added turmeric, which is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, as are garlic and chive. All in all it’s bursting with flavour and health giving generosity, and that’s the type of food I love. This nigella seed cashew cheese is great with flatbread, or in a sandwich, as a dip with crudités; I’ve made it soft, to make it firmer add more firming agent to the mix. It’s great as a topping for a bake, or stuffed vegetables (try my stuffed marrow recipe), mixed into pasta, or loosened as a sauce for cauliflower cheese. It’s super versatile, but the fact is it tastes so good you’ll find it hard to keep your hands off, so make plenty and keep it in the fridge so you have it there to keep you going in the week.
- 2 cups of soaked cashew nuts
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 5 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
- 2 med garlic cloves
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp vegan bouillon powder
- 2 tbsp nigella seeds
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- Handful of chopped chives
- 4 tbsp agar agar flakes, less if using powder, 3 tbsp, less also if coconut milk is quite runny
Soak the cashews in warm water for at least 30 mins to soften, the longer you leave them to soak the smoother the consistency of the cheese.
Blend the cashews and coconut milk with 1/2 tbsp of the nigella seeds (or less, if you want a lighter, more yellow colour), the garlic, spices and bouillon.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan, add the bay leaf, the nigella seeds (leaving a little for garnish), the agar agar flakes/ powder, or other setting agent, and cook on a low heat for 10 mins (agar agar powder will thicken in a minute). Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf, and stir in the lemon juice and chopped chives, leaving some chives for garnish.
Transfer to a bowl or whatever you choose to keep it in (tupperware is great if you're going to keep in the fridge for more than one day), allow to cool, and then refrigerate to fully set, which won't take long.
Garnish with a sprinkle of nigella seeds and chives to serve.
This cashew cheese is delicious as a warm dip, if you just can't wait for it to set!
If you like less heat, add less black pepper. If you like less onion flavour, reduce or leave out the chives, it is also delicious without them, but I love it with.
If you don't enjoy the whole nigella seeds, blend them all with the cashews to make a smoother mix, though this will affect the colour, but that's okay! The colour can vary with such different methods.
I made a cheese ball as pictured by spooning some of the mix into a small bowl and turning out (no need to grease), which makes it look extra attractive to serve.