I gave up dairy years ago and I’ll be honest: I fought it for way too long.
I didn’t drink milk anyway, so that was no big deal. I didn’t really mind giving up ice cream or whipped cream. I didn’t care about not being able to eat frosting, buttermilk, salad dressings, pasta sauces, and other yummy things. I was okay quitting sour cream, cream cheese, and things you wouldn’t think have dairy in them like certain breads, chips, and even hot chocolate mix.
But I did have a problem giving up my cheese.
I LOVE cheese and asking for everything without the cheese simply kills me — and don’t even get me started on how much I miss brie. I notice the missing cheese most when we’re making sandwiches or wraps, especially if we’re out on a hiking adventure. My sandwich or wrap always felt so naked and empty without cheese.
But then, one day everything changed. I discovered cashew cheese!
Dairy-Free Cashew Cheese
Cashew cheese? I know it sounds weird. I thought it did too when I first heard of it. I was hesitant to try it, but I really was desperate for something that would add some more flavor, texture, and moisture to my sandwiches and wraps (other than hummus).
I actually found a super simple recipe for dairy-free cashew cheese through a Facebook video post by JJ Virgin, author of The Virgin Diet, The Virgin Diet Cookbook, and the Sugar Impact Diet. We were in a mastermind group together several years ago and she is absolutely brilliant when it comes to simple food swaps and amazing, delicious, and healthy recipes.
I like cashews and I wish I could eat cheese, so trying this recipe out seemed like a no-brainer!
Here’s the Cashew Cheese Recipe Video
Five Ingredient Cashew Cheese Recipe
I watched the video above of JJ making the cashew cheese and realized that with only 5 ingredients — raw cashews, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and cayenne pepper — making it would be easy and fast. I literally went to the store and soaked my raw cashews that night.
OMG. Cheese from a cashew and not a cow is delicious, and I love the spicy flavor the cayenne pepper gives it. Now you don’t have to add the cayenne pepper if you’re not into spicy foods, but as JJ Virgin says, it does help boost the metabolism, so… bonus!
You can’t skip soaking the cashews in water before making the cashew cheese. If you skip this step, it won’t turn out well. Trust me. All you have to do is take your bowl of cashews, cover them with water, and soak them for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. (I soak mine overnight.) Then drain the water and you’re good to make the cheese.
The cashews when soaked in water, actually absorb most of the water. They get puffy and squishy, which is exactly how you get the cashew cheese texture to come out right!
Avocado Cashew Cheese Toast With Tomatoes
Before I go, if you love avocado toast like I do, you’ll love using the cashew cheese on your toast too!
When I made the dairy-free cashew cheese the first time, I was immediately hooked and I ate it on everything. One of my favorite uses was with smashed avocado and cashew cheese on toast with fresh tomatoes and black pepper. I first smashed the avocado into the cashew cheese, mixing the two together. Then I spread it on my toast, added the tomatoes, and ground some black pepper on top.
So easy and so good!
Doesn’t that look amazing?!
If you make this cashew cheese, I swear you’ll be hooked too. I could just eat it by the spoonful alone — but that is probably where I need to draw the line because it is super calorie dense. Instead I stick to using on sandwiches, in wraps, and on toast. I also use it to make faux-quesadillas with grilled vegetables inside, which are to die for.
And, if you don’t have them already, you should definitely pick up JJ Virgin’s books and cookbook.
Hope you enjoy!
Easy, Dairy-Free Cashew Cheese
With only five ingredients and a little spicy kick, this dairy-free cashew cheese will quickly become a favorite for everything from salads, sandwiches, and even quesadillas.
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Put raw cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let cashews soak 4-5 hours or overnight.
- Drain extra water from the cashews and add them to your food processor with the lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Pulse your food processor several times to make the cashew cheese.
You can make cashew cheese in a variety of flavors. Try switching the cayenne pepper out for black pepper and garlic or roasted red peppers. Looking for a cream cheese consistency, no problem! Try adding some raw coconut butter.
Keeps in the refrigerator for about 10 days.