Friday, August 5, 2011

Cashew Cheese--a Satisfying Non-Dairy Alternative

I just started making this stuff a week ago, and now I am totally hooked.  I am avoiding dairy for health reasons, so I did some research and started using this homemade Cashew cheese sauce.  We eat a lot of tostadas in the summer because we have lots of veggies from the garden, and I can mix and match.  I used the cheese sauce and served grated cheddar on my husband's meal, and this stuff is sooo good I did not feel in the least bit jealous or deprived.

This sauce is very easy to execute; it only takes a few seconds after the cashews are toasted.  The last time I bought already roasted cashews (non-salted) from Harvest Market, and it was even easier and quicker.  It's hard for me to heat the oven for such a small thing; I think it's wasteful.

This cheese sauce is adaptable for many uses--a little more lemon and a sprinkle of cayenne and it's Hollandaise Sauce for a Benedict or Rancheros.  Add some diced, roasted and peeled green chilies, and it's a Chile non Queso dip or sauce for Nachos.  A little tomato paste or sun-dried tomato and a bit of spice will make it a sauce for Welsh Rarebit, a nice easy dinner served on whole wheat toast. You can also thicken it with potato or cornstarch for Macaroni and Cheese or a garden vegetable gratin.


·         ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
·         1 teaspoon onion powder
·         1 cup water
·         1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
·         1 cup raw cashews (or toasted cashews from health food store)
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 cup canola oil
·         1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
·         1/3 cup lemon juice

If toasting your raw cashews, reheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread raw cashews on baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Keep an eye and nose on them, as they can burn quickly. Remove and cool completely.

In afood processor add nutritional yeast, onion powder, water , garlic powder and salt. Blend until the cashews are liquefied. Keep the food processor running and slowing add the oils through the feeding tube. When oils have been added and mixture begins to thicken, add the lemon juice until well blended.

Store Cashew Cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I have stored it for as long as a week.

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