This has to be one of the easiest and most impressive dishes I have made for a while now. This “cheese” is created from soaking raw cashews, which not only gives it its creamy consistency but also aids in the nut’s digestibility. The “cheese” tastes reminiscent of a smooth herbed goat’s chèvre, with bite from the chives and an aromatic headiness from the truffle salt. It’s very versatile and would be delicious as a spread, dip or part of a cheese board. I’ve included some variations below the recipe.
The “cheesiness” in this recipe comes from the inclusion of nutritional yeast. A non-leavening yeast, this vegan ingredient is a powerhouse of B vitamins, amongst other nutrients. I am not always a big fan of vegan recipes that try to replicate meat and dairy dishes, preferring to highlight the wonderful flavours of vegetarian ingredients as they are (I put this down to being brought up a vegetarian and not really missing the smokey and meaty elements). This is why I’m quite light with the nutritional yeast in this recipe, but I do find it is a necessary ingredient to give that delicious savoury/umami flavour to the “cheese”. Plus, who wouldn’t want to include more B vitamins in their diet! Feel free to add more if you’re a fan.
Truffle salt is a luxury ingredient that I adore. It is pricy, but a little goes a long way. I source my white truffle salt from Gewurzhaus here in Melbourne, and find it’s garlic, earthy notes totally addictive. If you have trouble finding it, feel free to substitute in a few drops of truffle oil, some roasted garlic, or just leave it out entirely, it will still be delicious.
This recipe is so simple and fool-proof, it makes me feel confident that it’s much easier living without dairy cheese than I once expected. Your omnivore friends wont know what hit them, and will be asking for the recipe when you tell them what’s in it! Try it, I promise you wont be disappointed!
Chive and Truffle Cashew Cheese
Adapted from “Cashew ‘Cheese'” in the Green Kitchen App by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl.
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer, spread or part of a cheese board.
Chive and Truffle Cashew “Cheese”
250g raw cashew nuts, soaked 4+ hours
1 tsp lemon juice (+ more to taste)
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast (+ more to taste)
1/2 tsp white truffle sal ((+ more to taste, optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste (optional)
2-3 tbl fresh chives, finely chopped (or other soft herb; optional)
Drain and rinse cashews and place in high powered blender, food processor or use a stick blender to puree the cashews till they are smooth and creamy. Continue to blend or use a spoon to stir in the lemon juice, nutritional yeast and truffle salt. At this point, taste. If you’re unsure about the strength of nutritional yeast or the salt, start light and add more, if desired. Add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
The cheese can be used now as is, perfect as a spread or dip for sandwiches and crackers, with or without the fresh herbs mixed in. If you find it a bit thick, add a tsp or two of water to make it more spreadable.
If you wish to present it for a cheese board (as pictured), scoop the “cheese” onto a piece of parchment paper in an even line (not unlike rolling sushi) and roll up in the paper to form a log shape. Place the “cheese” in the fridge to set (this may take longer if your cashews were particularly wet or you added extra lemon juice).
Sprinkle the chives on a plate or board and unwrap your “cheese”. Place on the chives and gently roll till the sides are covered.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, it will keep up to 5 days in the fridge.
There are endless possibilities here! Try pulsing in the following:
Fresh or roasted garlic, caramelised onions, sundried tomatoes, roasted capsicums (red peppers), olives, capers, roasted root vegetables such as beetroot or carrot, toasted spices, rosemary or other woody herbs (pulsed in), dill or other soft herbs (either pulsed or roll the “cheese” in).