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I find cream cheese to be an interesting food… it can taste subtly smooth and richly complex at the same time. When I think back to when I used to eat traditional dairy-based cream cheese, I find it difficult to put my finger on what it tasted like. Was I detecting a hint of sweetness or a slight savoriness… or both?
This recipe is a super delicious cashew-based, dairy-free cream cheese. And you don’t have to be vegan or lactose intolerant to enjoy it! There are, however, a few simple techniques that you need to exercise. For starters, you can make a quick-eat-right-away version or you can take a few days and ferment it with the addition of probiotics. This is the quick version.
To obtain a cream cheese-like texture, the cashews need to be soaked, which cause them to swell up and soften. Through this process, the phytic acid will be reduced (making it easier to digest) and it makes it possible to reach that silky- smooth mouth-feel.
It is good to know that when blending them, you want to use as little of water as possible but you will need enough to keep the blades moving. I recommend adding 1/4 cup in the beginning and add 1 Tbsp at a time until the blades move freely. To get that velvety smooth texture you really need a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. You can still make it without such a blender it just won’t be as smooth.
The great thing about creating this cream cheese is that you can incorporate this simple base into other recipes by adding herbs and/or spices. Or, you can use this thick cream cheese as a base for more assertive applications, such as a savory torte with relish, pesto or tapenade. I will share some recipe ideas with you below.
The lemon juice used in the recipe is to help create that “tang” taste that cream cheese has. And as I mentioned above, fermenting/culturing it will give it that flavor as well as increasing the nutrients, but that is for another post. The nutritional yeast adds a slight hint of cheesiness, if you can’t eat this ingredient, it can be omitted. I should also mention that if you wish to break this recipe up and use it to create several flavor profiles, I would mix it all together but without the onion granules. Then you can use it in sweet tasting recipes as well.
Whole recipe ~ Calories 1,695 / Fat 127 g / Carb 83.4 g / Fiber 40.2 g / Protein 62.7 g
Per Tablespoon ~ Calories 35.3 / Fat 2.6 g / Carb 1.7 g / Fiber 0.8 g / Protein 1.3 g
Yields 3 cups or 48 (1 Tbsp) servings