A few weeks ago, I teased on Instagram my cashew cream cheese problems: a highly serious problem of making — and thus having — much too much cream cheese on hand, thereby putting it in and on just about everything for a deliciously-creamy week. This, of course, started the conversation of how to make cashew cream cheese in the first place; a thoroughly enjoyable process, which I’m happy to share with you.
Compared to other nuts, cashews have an unsurpassed creaminess, which lends them to all kinds of dairy-like applications. Although they’re clearly excellent for anyone avoiding dairy, even if you’re not dairy-free, I really encourage you to incorporate tree-nut cheeses into your rotation, as they’re basically a gourmet cheese variety unto themselves, each with its own delicious, subtle nuances. Proof in point: soaked until soft, blended, and seasoned ever so slightly, cashews make a divine cream cheese, which spreads and softens on warm toast, can be served with fruit, or used in desserts. I don’t recommend using other nuts here – each nut will add its own flavor and texture influences, and while you may end up with a delicious spread, if you want a convincing cream cheese, cashews are definitely the way to go.
Cashew Cream Cheese
Super creamy and spreadable, this miraculous cheese is both dairy- and soy-free, and full of healthy plant-based fats.
Makes about 2 cups / 16 servings
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
1 teaspoon sunflower lecithin granules* (optional)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Drain and rinse the cashews, then place in a food processor. Add the lecithin, and process for 3-4 minutes, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides as needed, until a paste has formed. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and salt, and process for 2-3 minutes longer, into a smooth whip. While the machine is running, add the coconut oil, and process briefly to blend. Stop the machine and scrape the contents with a silicone spatula into a sealable container. Cover, and refrigerate overnight to let the cheese firm up before serving. Refrigerated, Cashew Cream Cheese will keep for up to 2 weeks.
*Lecithin will help make the cheese extra creamy. You can also use soy lecithin instead of sunflower.