When I talk to people who have the desire to switch to an entirely plant based diet, the first concern they often bring up is that they fear that they won’t be able to live without cheese. Last week, I showed you how to make a very yummy, very easy and very quick Mac N Peas recipe. This week, it is my little brother’s cream “cheese” recipe that I am letting you in on. You won’t believe how delicious this is until you make it and try it for yourself. The texture is like velvet, it’s fresh and creamy and so yummy I am salivating over the thought of it right now as I type away at my computer.
The downside of making nut cheeses, including this one, is that it is quite expensive. A small mason jar of this cream cheese will run you about $10 dollars or more in ingredients. That being said, this treat is a nutritional power house, so it is absolutely worth every single penny.
You can make nut cheeses out of a whole plethora of different nuts or seeds. This one is made from cashews, a beautiful little nut with a very delicate taste and a wonderfully creamy texture.
Cashews are high in calories which make them a fantastic option for beefing up salads, using in protein bars or cookies, in nut butters or nut cheeses and in smoothies. They deliver a huge portion of heart healthy, unsaturated fats. This type of fat is essential for the absorption of many needed nutrients.
In one ounce of raw cashews, you get 5.2 grams of protein. That is about 10% of the recommended daily amount. Nuts are more easily digested than animal proteins, so you also benefit from the protein more immediately and more efficiently by using less energy to digest and absorb. In that same ounce of raw cashews, you also receive 69% of your daily copper. Copper is required for proper absorption and utilization of iron in the body. The magical thing about that is that cashews also provide about 24% of your daily required iron. How convenient is that?
You also get good levels of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
Does Philly Cream Cheese do all of that for you? Ummm… NO.
Raw Vegan Dill Cream Cheese
1 1/4 cup of soaked cashews
1 tbsp. of fresh chopped dill (finely chopped)
3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1/3 tspn. of sea salt
First things first, you need to soak your cashews. Soaking nuts and seeds is done for a few different reasons. In this recipe, it will definitely give you a smoother final product. Soaking them will also boost their nutritional value and allows for better absorption of nutrients in the body. Other nuts and seeds, like walnuts for example, are not as bitter after a couple of hours of soaking. The soaking process also rids the nut or seed of any residue or dirt that it might have picked up in the processing or packaging plants. All in all, it is a good idea to at least wash your nuts and seeds before consumption.
To soak your cashews properly place them in a bowl; submerge them in water and cover. Keep them soaking and refrigerated for about 4-6 hours if possible. When you take them out they will feel soft and almost rubbery.
Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and turn the speed up slowly to incorporate. You may need to scrape down the sides, and possibly add a tablespoon of water if you aren't getting a smooth consistency. Once you see the texture of regular cream cheese, you are good and done. Store in a mason jar, and refrigerate. This recipe should last a couple of weeks in the fridge. It is wonderful on toast, in a sandwich, as a dip for veggies or in a wrap!