Cashew Cream Cheese: A Vegan Alternative

cashew cream cheese
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Eloneo

Cashew cream cheese is a vegan alternative to classic cream cheese. It contains no animal products and requires only a few ingredients. We’ll share the basic recipe, and give you a few creative tips.

Cashew cream cheese is a plant-based spread that can be used as a vegan substitute for classic cream cheese in cakes, dips, or just smeared on a slice of homemade spelt bread or a bagel. You can find vegan cream cheese in many specialty supermarkets, but if you’re looking for a fun project or to save a few bucks, you can make your own cashew cream cheese at home with only a few ingredients. 

Note: The base for the following recipe is cashew nuts. Since cashews are not commercially grown in the US, they have to be transported over long distances to reach your local supermarket. In addition to their sizeable carbon footprint, cashews are often produced by industrial farming companies that have questionable reputations when it comes to workers’ rights. To help support the environment and prevent exploitation, look for cashews with a fair trade seal

To make cashew cream cheese, you’ll need a powerful blender. Before you can blend the nuts, you’ll need to soak them for at least four hours in water (or overnight). 

Tip: Don’t have cashews at home but craving something satisfying to put on bread? Try these two-ingredient DIY vegan spreads.

Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese: Basic Recipe

cashews
Soaked cashews give this cream cheese alternative its creamy texture. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – u11116)

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cup cashews
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chives

Tip: Did you know that you can make your own homemade apple cider vinegar? It takes time, but it’s well worth it.

Preparation:

  1. Soak the cashews for at least four hours in water.
  2. Add the drained cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to your blender. 
  3. Blend the ingredients together until the texture is rich and creamy. This will take a few minutes. If the cashew cream cheese is too thick, slowly add water by the teaspoon until the proper texture is reached. 
  4. Chop the fresh chives and stir into the finished cashew cream cheese.
  5. Fill into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator
basil
Try adding fresh basil and tomato paste to your cashew cream cheese. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – KKolosov)

Get creative by adding different ingredients of your choice to this basic recipe – like chopped garlic, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, cracked black pepper, chopped red peppers, tomato paste, chilis… the sky is the limit. If you have a kitchen herb garden, try adding fresh dill, parsley, basil, or oregano.

Tip: If you like the flavor of this vegan cream cheese alternative, try making vegan parmesan next! It is also made with cashews, and goes great with Italian classics like vegan carbonara. Homemade vegan feta cheese also makes a tasty addition to salads or as a topping on pizza.

This article has been translated from German to English by Christie Sacco. You can read the original version here: Cashew-Frischkäse: Ein veganes Rezept

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