Cheese was the last animal based-food I cut from my diet. I had gone vegetarian in the early 90s. After reading about how animals were treated in the egg and dairy-industries, I decided to go vegan. I was totally addicted to cheese though, and I had a difficult time giving it up. I ended up sneaking some in here and there for a few months before I gave it up all together.
At the time, vegan cheese wasn’t easy to come by, and I had no idea that it was possible to make my own cheese. I wish I had known about the magic of nuts and nutritional yeast back then. I probably would have been able to break up with dairy sooner.
The first time I realized that it was possible to make non-dairy cheese with nuts and seeds was a vegan potluck. Someone brought a casserole with her, and there was a layer of what looked like ricotta on top. She explained that it’s really easy to make cheese using nuts or seeds, a little water, and some spices.
I was absolutely amazed. “It’s really that easy to make this?” I asked while shoveling more of the dish she had made into my face.
And it I’ve since realized that yes, it really is that easy.
Sure, there are far more elaborate recipes that use tapioca to create a gooey, melty texture. Or you can use probiotics to create cultured cheese. But if you’re in the mood for a little cheesy drizzle on your tacos or a tangy spread for crackers, it just takes a few minutes to whip something up in your food processor or blender.
A little forethought is required, though, as most nuts need to be soaked. The macadamias I use in Herbed Vegan Cheese Spread should be soaked for at least 8 hours. You can soak them overnight in the fridge if you prefer. Raw cashews don’t really need to be soaked if you’re using a high-speed blender, but I like to soak them for an hour or so anyway, to soften them a little.
I originally created the basis of this cheese last year in my Cheese and Apple Tartlets recipe. For some reason it’s been on my mind lately. I’ve had the urge to mix in garlic and herbs in an effort to recreate the tangy, herby cheese spreads I enjoyed so much in my pre-vegan days. Adding some chives, parsley, and garlic really does the trick!
This Tangy Herbed Vegan Cheese Spread will take center stage on your holiday snack trays. Pair it with olives as an appetizer with Thanksgiving dinner. Or go all out at your Christmas party, and serve it on a cheese platter with crackers, nuts, and fruit. It’s terrific for evening nibbles with a glass of wine, too.
Tangy Herbed Vegan Cheese Spread
Tangy Herbed Vegan Cheese Spread is the perfect appetizer for holiday parties! It’s a great snack, too!
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked for 8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
Mix everything except the chives and parsley in a high-speed blender or food processor. Mix until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrap down the sides if necessary. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a little more water a tablespoon at a time.
Pulse in the chives and parsley.
Chill the cheese spread in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.