A Sunday afternoon is a great time to bulk make foods for the week ahead and make things easy for yourself when it comes to making the right food choices. Cashew cheese is a perfect thing to make, it’s so so SO good, it’s nutritious and anti-inflammatory. It keeps really well, it’ll last five days or more in a sealed container and only improve in flavour. You can use it as a straightforward cheese replacement; it’s great for pizzas (try this squash pizza recipe), a topping for a bake, in cheesy sauces, Mexican dishes, on crackers and in wraps and sandwiches… I love it with watercress, grated carrot and raw cider vinegar in a buckwheat wrap.
Cashew cheese is great because it’s so versatile, you can make it your own and add the flavours you love, or you can keep it really simple and pure. I love this firmer, strongly flavoured cheese, and using sweet potato, which really adds to the flavour and goodness. Whip up a double batch and then it’s there, making meals so much easier to make quick, good, wholesome and tasty.
Making your own cheese is so satisfying, if you’re sceptical, try it and see you’ll be amazed, it’s so cheesy and yet so vegan! Home-made cashew cheese is harder to make hard or super-melting, you can by adding extra starches and gums, and they certainly have their place, but as a fridge staple this recipe is the best, it’s more natural, less processed and far better for you, as well as being delicious. Make it without the coconut and it will be denser and more rubbery, but I love the creaminess that the coconut brings to the table ♥
- 1/2 cup of cashews
- 1/2 can of coconut milk (the creamier the better)
- 1/2 cup of boiled sweet potato
- 4 tsp agar agar powder
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 heaped tbsp salt, I use Maldon smoked flakes or pink Himalayan salt
- A pinch of black pepper, to taste
Soak your cashews for at least 20 mins in hot water (longer is better, and then use cool water, as you'll get a smoother texture). Use boiled or baked sweet potato (remembering that baked will be sweeter, I'd use less).
Blend the drained cashews, sweet potato and the coconut milk, and pour the mixture into a saucepan on a medium heat, add the other ingredients bar the lemon juice and stir. If using powdered agar agar it will quickly thicken and take no longer than a few minutes of so. When it's cleanly coming away from the pan take off the heat, add the lemon juice, and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Cool and store in the fridge, keeps well for a week.
You can also add to the cheese in any way you want. Olives are delicious, especially strongly flavoured varieties such as kalamata. Fresh and dried herbs go well, and heat from black pepper (or chilies or paprika if you eat them). Or try my Nigella Seed Cashew Cheese recipe for a delicious spiced variety.
To get an even firmer cheese add more agar agar and a higher proportion of cashew to coconut.
I’ve been listening to… the Sound ‘Missiles’
I’ve been reading… the Saturday Guardian
I’ve been watching… Tom Baker as Doctor Who in ‘The Face of Evil’