My recipe video of this cashew cheese is my most popular video on Instagram. I am not sure how it became viral. I’m assuming someone with large following, liked that that the recipe is extremely easy to make and requires only three ingredients.
Why on earth would you want to make plant-based cheese at home when you can buy it at the supermarket?
Here is why:
- Most of the store-bought vegan cheeses contain modified ingredients such as modified potato or corn starch. We don’t like modified ingredients. “Modified” means that the starch has been changed or altered in some way to make it more useful in food production (more useful meaning longer shelf life) . They either roast the starch, treat it with an acid, use an electrical charge on the starch or treat it with sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. It won’t kill but it wouldn’t make you stronger either. It might cause you some digestive problems. I, for example, get bloated or headaches when I eat food with modified starch or carrageenan*.
- Good plant-based cheeses are expensive! Here in Los Angeles I pay $7 – $14 for a 4oz. cheese.
*Carrageenan (Irish Moss) is an edible seaweed that is used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods and drinks (most nut milks in the U.S. contain it). It’s a natural ingredient (I’m not sure how natural it stays after it has been processed), but there is evidence that it can trigger health problems in the digestive system.
You can use this cheese in pastries, cakes, salads, over pita with za’atar and labneh,
My favorite cookbook of the week is The Mediterranean Dish by Suzy Karadsheh.
Simple Cashew Ricotta
- Cheesecloth, muslin or white cotton cloth, laundry or bag clips, chopstick, large coffee press or tall jar (to hang the cheese to drip in).
- ½ cup raw cashews - soaked in water for minimum 3 hours (better overnight)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup filtered water
- 1 –2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Drain the cashews and put them in a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Process until creamy and smooth. Taste and correct seasoning.
- If using a cheesecloth, use 2 or 3 layers of it. Layer the coffee press or jar with the cheesecloth or muslin and secure with clips.
- Pour the mixture onto a layer of cheesecloth. Remove the clips and bring the edges of the cheesecloth together, tie it around a chopstick or wooden spoon, place it across the coffee press and keep it tact with a clip so that the cheese hangs and does not touch the bottom of the coffee press. (see illustration). Let it drip in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, remove the cheese from the cheesecloth. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil or put in a container and eat as a spread. Keep in the fridge up to 5 days. Serve it like burrata, on the center of a plate with sliced heirloom tomatoes around it, a drizzle of olive oil, za'atar or oregano or fresh basil leaves.