When I decided to adopt a plant based lifestyle the two things that I had the hardest time with were sweets and cheese. How on EARTH could I give up my oogey gooey sidekick to mac n cheese, nachos and cheese, and grilled cheese yo? What if I told you that not only does cashew cheese taste like cheese but it is actually BETTER for you than regular cheese???
Is cashew cheese.
I had heard about it but I was not a believer and was determined to stay that way….
Until I tried it for myself
The heavens had opened and it actually tasted like cheese!!!
My other barrier to cashew cheese is that I thought it would be difficult to make. Nope, it was easy peasy and have found myself making quite often ever since.
The secret ingredient in this secret sauce is nutritional yeast.
What the heck is that you ask?
Great question as I had the same one. I promise I’ll only be science-y for one minute. Similar to the active yeasts found in breads, but without the leavening agents, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast made from sugar cane and beet molasses. It’s then heated and dried and crumbled into flakes or is sometimes powdered. The process of heating and drying deactivates the yeast. It’s also much easier for our bodies to digest than regular cheese.
There a crazy amount of vitamins and minerals found in nutritional yeast…
High in B12 which is important for producing red blood cells and having a maintaining healthy nervous system function.
A great source of non-animal protein. It’s high in protein with only 2 tablespoons containing 9 grams of protein and I guarantee you that you will want to eat more than 2 tablespoons! Especially on these loaded nachos and cheese.
High in folic acid which is THE most essential nutrient for mommies to be, as it plays a vital role in promoting the growth and reproduction of all cells.
This is the benefit most will be cheering about because…
it’s gluten free y’all!
Some other honorable mentions? Manganese, vitamin E, zinc, fiber, magnesium, vitamin C, calcium, copper, and phosphorus.
You can pick it up at your local bulk or nutrition store, Whole Foods, or even check your grocery store’s wellness aisle for Bob’s Redmill. For those of you in Canada I’ve purchased it at Bulk Barn and Whole Foods.
Here’s what you need:
3/4 cup raw cashews
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon apple cidar vinegar
Black pepper to taste
Here’s how to do it:
Place cashews in a bowl with warm water and soak for at least 2 hours. Super important because it will soften the cashews allowing them to blend better.
Drain cashews and add to food processor along with all other ingredients. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Store in covered container or jar in refrigerator to keep fresh. Lasts for a few weeks.
Some uses for your fancy ‘cheese”
Spread on crackers
Use as a dip for veggies
Throw on nachos for game night, or any night really
Blend it with some turmeric and a little more water to make mac n ‘cheese’
Use on your pizza in place of regular cheese
Add to you pasta with some reserved pasta water, and a touch of almond milk to make a creamy sauce
Sprinkle on salads or popcorn
Eat by the spoonful on it’s own, kidding…well maybe not
I’d looove to see how you use cashew cheese or your ideas for using nutritional yeast. Tag your recipe #eatliveandplay on Instagram or Twitter!