Do you know what makes it a lot easier to eat a vegetable-heavy, alkaline vegan diet? Cheese. Isn’t that what you are missing deep in your soul each time you enjoy a salad or an Italian style meal? You’re not alone. One of my sisters (the lactose-intolerant one…) is always sending me pictures of dishes she has made using my recipes (which I love, btw), often with the comment ‘except I added some cheese’. In fairness, she lives in a part of the world that people travel to for the cheese alone, but I do think a simple nut-based cheese recipe might be a good thing to have in our back pockets no matter what part of the world we live in.
Dairy on a whole, whether we are lactose intolerant or not, is high on the list of things to avoid if we are fighting or preventing cancer. For starters, it is often highly processed and full of hormones and antibiotics, which can upset our own hormone balance and digestive health. It is also acid-forming, which is not good when we are striving for an alkaline, disease-free body. I don’t love to stress the negative with ‘bad foods’ and create guilt when you do indulge, because then you’re eating cheese and guilt, which is worse than just cheese. If you are going to have a bit once in a while, make sure it is really good, eat it slowly, sitting down, and enjoy every morsel.
For the rest of the time (the majority of the time), I have new cheese for you. Faux cheese. Raw, nut-based, vegan cheese. If this sounds about as exciting to you as a toothbrush in your trick-or-treating pillowcase, be prepared for a pleasant surprise.
The nuts I have used for this cheese are macadamia nuts and cashews. They blend into smooth, cheese-like creaminess, and are relatively bland and sweet, not unlike real dairy. They are soaked overnight, releasing their enzyme-inhibitors, and blended with lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, unpasteurized miso, water and seaweed salt –that’s it. 24 hours spent in a jar somewhere warm will add some beneficial bacteria and extra tang, sort of like goat cheese. It’s actually hard not to eat it all, before the fermentation process, it’s that good. And it’s actually good for you, did you notice?
If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you may have to add some extra water to keep things blending smoothly. That’s totally fine, just transfer it to a nut milk bag or cheesecloth and hang it (either at room temp during fermentation or in the fridge, post-fermentation) for a day to drain out any extra moisture.
This tastes creamy and delicious on its own, but if you think you (or your guests/family) will require further trickery (it is made of nuts after all), add some extra flavours. A little bit of garlic, some fresh herbs, (sulphite-free) sundried tomatoes or fresh truffles (why not?) will mask whatever subtle dairy flavour may or may not have been there to begin with. With these added aromas, all you will notice is that you just made your own boursin cheese. Or the expensive goat cheese with the fancy ingredients on the top.
Add to any dish that goat cheese would be welcome in. Roll in fresh basil and serve with warm olives, crumble over freshly roasted butternut squash, top off your rich lentil soup, or just spread it on some seed crackers. Oh, and you will need to sit down to eat this cheese too.
- ½ c Macadamia Nuts, soaked for 12+ hours, drained and rinsed
- ½ c Cashews, soaked for 12+ hours, drained and rinsed
- ¼ c Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp unpasteurized Miso
- ½ tsp Sea(weed) Salt
- Water, as needed
- In a blender, blend the nuts, lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, miso and salt. Add water sparingly, just enough to help it blend smoothly. This will take 1-5 minutes, depending on your blender.
- Transfer to a jar, cover and put somewhere dark-ish and warm for 24 hours.
- If you had to add extra water, strain through cheesecloth, hanging in the fridge.
- Otherwise, store in the jar, in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. It will firm up even more once cold.