Monday, November 29, 2010

Pepper and Chive Crusted Cashew Cheese-Vegan Mofo Day 29

I like the look of the pepper crusted cashew cheese from vegetarian times but the whole idea of waiting 2 days to make something is crazy to me. So instead I opted for the Affairs of living version which in comparison only takes 4 hours waiting time.

Pepper-Crusted Cashew Cheese with Herbs 
yield: 2-3 cheese wheels, or roughly 1 1/2 cups cheese
If you don't tolerate pepper, feel free to garnish with minced herbs instead. It will still be delicious and beautiful!  See note at end of recipe.

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp vitamin C crystals (or 2-3 tsp lemon juice)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
optional: 1 tsp chickpea miso 
water, as needed
2 Tbsp minced fresh herbs (I used chives)
2 tsp coarsely ground fresh black peppercorns
fresh chive flowers 

Place cashews in 4 cups of water and let soak for 4 hours.  Drain and rinse well.  Place in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade or a high powered blender (like a Vitamix). Process until coarsely ground, then scrape sides and garlic powder, vitamin C crystals, salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and miso, and continue to process until smooth, adding water by the 1/2 teaspoon as necessary for it to come together.  Once smooth, add fresh herbs and additional salt/pepper to taste, and pulse a few times to incorporate.  
Use the cheese as is as a tasty spread, or to make lovely little wheels continue to the next step!
Line a 1/2 or 1/3 cup measuring cup with plastic wrap, smoothing the bottom as much as possible, and leaving at least 2 inches of plastic wrap around the edges.  If you use a 1/2 cup measure, you will end up with 2 wheels and some leftover cheese. If you use a 1/3 cup measure, you can get 4 slightly smaller wheels.  You could also form one big ball (or a bunch of smaller ones) and just roll it in peppercorns.  Whatever, the choice is up to you.  :)
Once lined, sprinkle in black pepper to fully coat bottom of cup, then pack cashew "cheese" firmly into the cup.  Lift gently on edges of plastic wrap and pull out wheel, wrap well, and refrigerate until ready to serve, or at least 1 hour. It will become firmer as it cools.  When ready to serve, gently peel off plastic wrap and place on a plate. If desired, garnish with chive flowers.
HERB GARNISH VARIATION: to make pepper-free, omit pepper from the recipe, and use 2-3 tsp of finely minced fresh herbs in the plastic lined measuring cups.  Your cheese wheel will have a lovely green top!
ROASTED GARLIC VARIATION: omit garlic powder and add 3-4 roasted garlic cloves while processing.  So tasty!

I used a combination of black pepper and plenty of chives to coat the wheels.  I would have loved to use chickpea miso, has anyone seen it in Australia? I increased the lemon juice and salt. I also pulled them out of the fridge before they had completely set because I am impatient!

And then mixed the rest of the cashew cheese with even more chives into a spread.

While it is not going to convince anyone that it is cheese, it is delicious in it's own creamy tangy way. I was impressed with how smooth it became too. It would make a great picnic snack.

What's your favourite nut cheese?


  1. a friend of mine in the blue mountains makes and sells his own chickpea miso, apparently he's the only guy in australia that does this. it was available sometimes at the blue mountains food coop but you'd have to GO THERE to get it. sorry to be so unhelpful :P

  2. They look great and I also would use the quicker version minus the pepper

    Chickpea miso is no longer avail. in Australia. There was a small manufacturer but they shut down and it's difficult to import, I've been trying and will let you know if I ever get some here!

  3. That looks really really good.I've never heard of chickpea miso.

  4. Looks YUM!

    I've never heard of chickpea miso either. Did you just sub in white miso?

  5. The closest I've found to a chickpea miso (e.g. a light one) is Spiral shiro (young rice) miso which is very mild. Earlier in the year I tried Tal Ronnen's cashew cheese where you needed probiotics to culture it, but I couldn't really detect any increase in "sharpness" compared to cashew cheese recipes I've made before which have been quite similar to one you used. Have never seen one using vitamin C powder though!

  6. Lena, i've always wanted to go the bluer mountains.

    Mandee, if you use herbs, I don't think the pepper would be missed.

    Jeni, maybe it's just a US thing?

    Lisa, no I left it out completely.

    Georgie, where did you find the young rice miso?

  7. I actually bookmarked that recipe just the other day, because I finally got around to buying a big bag of cashews :) I'm glad to know that it's delicious, even if it is more "dip" than "cheese"!

  8. OK can you tell that November is over and I'm finally gettin caught-up on all my reading?? Loving this recipe and the fact that you don't need a cheese-cloth to make it, like so many other vegan-cheese recipes. Bookmarked!