Cashew Cheese

Cashew cheese

Losing cheese as a plant-stronger was not much of a loss for me, but it nearly brought JD to his knees. He was a cheese-lover through and through, and that packaged vegan cheese was not satisfying to our health needs or taste buds.  I mean, I gave up eating Play-Doh a long time ago.

Then we visited this hole-in-a-wall pizza place, Pizza Luce, when we were staying in Minnesota with some friends. We ordered one of their vegan pizzas, and it came with a mysterious substance called rinotta cheese.  It. Was. Delicious.

After researching hours for their recipe, I came across multiple nut cheese recipes that helped me make my own. Whenever I make it, whether for pizza or lasagna (it’s amazing in cooked and raw lasagna), JD will typically eat it with a spoon when I’m not looking. That’s okay–he’s known some dark, cheese-less places.

Cashew Cheese
Makes enough for 2-3 pizzas

1 block of firm organic tofu, chopped (super firm/sprouted is too thick, silken will make it runny)*
1 c. cashews
1 c. nutritional yeast
1/2 c. soy/almond/whatever milk
2 cloves sauteed garlic
1/2 chopped onion
1 tbsp. paprika (smoked is even better)
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. basil
Dash of pepper
Add extra milk, depending on thickness

*If you’re soy-free, you can skimp on the tofu.  Just add more cashews or lesson the milk measurement.

Add milk and spices to a blender and then add cashews and nutritional yeast. Blend on medium until fairly smooth. Then blend in onion and garlic.

Then add half of the tofu and blend. I have to use my tamper with my Vitamix at this point, so your blender may need some safe outside help (like a wooden spoon) because it’s quite thick. You may need to add more milk. Blend in the rest of the tofu.

Scoop onto pizza before sauce as it’ll be thicker than pizza sauce. Or you can put it in lasagna or use it as a dip. It doesn’t melt like dairy cheese, but it does get a nice slightly hardened consistency. Once I’ve added all my toppings, I like to scoop little globs all around the pizza, which makes for a flavor bomb once it’s cooked.

How do you deal with life without cheese?