Cashew cheese three ways: parmesan, cream cheese, and alfredo sauce

Simple Cashew ‘Cheese’ Three Ways! (Vegan, Dairy Free, Paleo)

Cashew cheese three ways: parmesan, cream cheese, and alfredo sauce
Cashew cheese three ways: parmesan, cream cheese, and alfredo sauce. Above is alfredo sauce over chickpea pasta.

Cashew ‘cheese’ is so versatile! Depending on the amount of blending, this recipe can make you 3 types of cheeses!! Basically, the difference is in the blend for parmesan, cream cheese, or alfredo sauce. Read step 2 for a description. It feels like real comfort food from when I was a kid!

Prep Time: 12 hours (to soak cashews overnight) + 15 mins of prep

Ingredients:

  • 284 g raw cashews
  • 1/4 tsp coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup water (to thin the mixture to make a sauce)

Steps:

  1. Soak cashews overnight in water (cover them entirely) in a glass bowl. Don’t let soak for over 12 hours. You can drain the water after soaking and place in the refrigerator if you can’t make it right away.
  2. Put cashews, vinegar, salt, onion, and garlic powder into a food processor. Make sure to taste test as you go!
    • For “parmesan cheese” consistency, pulse until the cashews break up into smaller pieces.
    • For “cream cheese” texture, continue to blend until the consistency becomes smooth. Put in the fridge to use like actual cream cheese!
    • For “alfredo sauce,” add in 1-2 tbs of water and blend until you have a very smooth consistency.
  3. Use the cashew cheese as you please! I put the sauce over chickpea pasta or sweet potato glass noodles and serve with pan seared chicken and some scallions.
  4. You may need to add some black pepper or additional salt when serving. Enjoy!!!
Cashew “cream cheese” – so delicious! If I could eat bagels, I would put this all over them!!!

Inspiration:

So, I haven’t had dairy in almost 4 years. I’m lactose intolerant and sensitive to cow’s milk. I haven’t been brave enough to try cheeses from other animals’ milk, but maybe one day soon. In the meantime, I’ve been searching for a mac n’ cheese or alfredo replacement. This is the closest I’ve found!

While visiting Los Angeles the other week as a mentor for StartingBloc, an international social innovation leadership fellowship, I got to eat at vegan restaurant Café Gratitude three times. While some people think it’s a bit hippie-dippy because you order everything by saying “I am bold/energized/happy/fun/etc.,” I really appreciate it there because they are willing to accommodate my sensitivities.

I ended up with the “cheesy” off the kids menu as one of the only things I could eat to avoid my food sensitivities (surprise surprise). The sauce used in that dish was made of cashews. Now, I always though I was sensitive to cashews, but it actually was other ingredients mixed with the cashews (like olive oil, lemon, and mint– that’s a story for another time). Anyway, I knew I had to make this when I got home and I am so glad I did!

Even Foxy the pup wanted to try!

2 thoughts on “Simple Cashew ‘Cheese’ Three Ways! (Vegan, Dairy Free, Paleo)

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