Vegan Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Cashew Nut Cheese

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OK – so – I have really been trying to wean myself completely off cheese.  Very few of the vegan cheeses available are very good (in my opinion).  I am especially not fond of the Daiya products.  Daiya has a very distinct flavor that I find distasteful.  I prefer Parmela Creamery & Field Roast’s Chao cheeses.   I have experimented a bit making vegan cheese myself, the most successful being this mozzarella (seen below).

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I recently ordered some vegan cheeses from Soledad Goat Sanctuary.  They used to make real goat cheese but they went vegan in the past year or so.  I bought the ones you see below.

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While they are all pretty tasty – especially the Chevre-styles – they are textured more like a dip – like hummus.  The cheddar & American styles are a bit more firm – like a spreadable cheese & the chevres are almost runny – like a creamy dip.  I would use the chevre ones in cream sauces.  The other two might make good queso or cheese-based dip – but they will not work for baked things – like lasagna – or pizza.  They would all make a great spread on a sandwich.  The 4 little packages cost $45 with shipping.  So – I think I will wait to find them at the farmers market & taste before I buy & not have that shipping expense.

My cheese here is also quite soft – very like a hummus.  It has some kick and tastes pretty good but – like the Soledad cheeses – won’t work in any recipe where you need grated or sliced cheese.  Still – it is very easy to make.  Adding a bit of salsa to it might turn it into a decent vegan queso.  It was especially easy to make with my new $30 Magic Bullet blender – which I am in love with.  A well-spent $30 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

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Vegan Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Cashew Nut Cheese

INGREDIENTS

1.5 cups cashews (soaked in water for 2-3 hours if you do not have a high speed blender. I did not soak mine.)

3 jalapeno peppers (mix of red & green – if you have access to both) – diced & seeded for less heat

handful of cilantro (& few leaves saved for garnish)

2 TBS lemon

2 TBS nutritional yeast

2 garlic cloves

S&P

1/2 cup (more or less) water

Course ground pepper – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Reserve a few bits of the diced jalapenos & a few cilantro leaves.

Puree the rest of the ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth  – only adding as much water as you need to accomplish this.

I used a large ramekin to shape the cheese.  Any small-ish bowl will do.

Line the bowl with plastic wrap & spray with cooking spray.

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Place the cilantro leaves on the bottom & add the reserved, diced jalapeno & a handful of coarse ground pepper.  Spoon the cheese in & fold the wrap over it.  Chill until ready to use.  Open the wrap, put a serving plate on top of your bowl & flip it.  Lift the bowl off & remove the plastic wrap.  Serve!

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