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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Raw Vegan Basil Cashew Cheese

One of the things I miss most is cheese. Brie, mascarpone, ricotta, super sharp cheddar, mozzarella, provolone. Always the strong stuff, pungent and full of flavor.  Every once in a while I still sneak a bite, and then I regret it. I end up feeling like a fake, a fraud. Plus, my stomach just hurts afterwards. So, I have wanted to find a replacement- something that would fool my taste buds, that was made of raw, vegan, organic and whole food ingredients. The raw food world has shown us cheese made from nuts before, so I might be reinventing the wheel here, but I needed to do this for myself. I also needed to find a use for pulp leftover from cashew milk. I plan on experimenting some more to achieve different tastes and textures.

Raw Vegan Basil Cashew Cheese

1 1/2 cups pulp from making cashew milk
juice from one lemon
large pinch of salt (I only use pink Himalayan sea salt- better flavor and better for you, in my opinion.)
handful or two of fresh basil

Pulse to combine everything well in a food processor. Spoon mixture into a miniature spring form pan (or you can do what I did and use a cookie cutter, or several cookie cutters) and press down to fill any pockets. Refrigerate for 6 hours so the cheese can get firm and solidify. Garnish with more basil.

The texture of this is very similar to ricotta, and makes a good topping for raw crackers (as shown here) or mini toasts, baguette slices, etc. I think it would pair well with bruschetta- mmm! The taste is very mild, also like ricotta. I can't wait to experiment with other flavors and using this as a base for more recipes.

Have you made your own cheese (raw, vegan, or conventional dairy?) Recipes to share? Link up to yours in the comments!

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