Jalapeno Cashew Cheeze
When people find out that I don’t eat dairy, there are lots of gasps, shocked looks and mouths hanging open. Which are naturally followed by the same question “What about cheese!?!” Every. Single. Time.
Giving up dairy can be really hard. Really hard. Cheese is everywhere and on everything. You immediately start thinking about all the things that you “can’t” have anymore and that list gets pretty depressing pretty quickly. Once you start experimenting on your own though, you’ll find lots of other delicious alternatives to what you used to eat. My best advice, don’t expect them to taste exactly like the things you no longer eat and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious they are!
Even within the past five years, the variety of non-dairy items has skyrocketed. There used to be a couple of non-dairy cheeze items and they really weren’t great options. They were filled with processed junk and chemicals and didn’t taste like anything you’d rave about. Now, you can find many varieties of cheeze that come in an assortment of flavors and can find just about anything you’re looking for. And you know what? There are even some that taste good and aren’t made with processed junk! If you’re looking to transition from cheeze, do your research-- find companies like Miyoko’s Kitchen that create organic artisan cheeze for your every need without all the fillers and extra garbage inside. Or better yet, make your own!
I Can Make Cheeze?
Oh my, yes! Cashew Cheeze has been hugely popular for years now due to the ease of making it and it’s diverse use. You can use cashew cheeze on toast, pizza or pasta, in soup, on wraps or tacos, and as a veggie dip, to name a few. Since cashews have such a neutral flavor themselves, you can modify your flavors easily and make any kind of cashew cheeze you want-- the possibilities are endless! If you have a nut allergy, try making cheeze with sunflower seeds (soak them the same way you would soak cashews.)
Why Should I Soak Nuts?
You’ll notice in the recipe that it calls for cashews that have been soaked, drained and rinsed. Nuts become more easily digestible when they have been soaked first. Be sure to use filtered water to soak your nuts so that you aren’t adding extra unnecessary chemicals to your food while it sits to soak. It’s easiest to just throw your nuts in a bowl, fill with water and let them soak overnight or during the day while you’re working. When you are ready to create your cheeze masterpiece, just drain your cashews and rinse thoroughly before using. Easy peasy and your digestive system will thank you!
Let’s Make Cheeze!
Are you excited? I am! This cheeze is a little spicy and very delicious. Whatever you do, don’t skip the Nutritional Yeast. That’s the cheezy flavor. So you’ll want to keep that in here even if you branch out and play with the spices. I have big plans for this cheeze so stay tuned for more ideas on how to use it coming soon! Can’t wait to hear how you use it in your kitchen!
Jalapeno Cashew Cheeze
Makes 1 generous cup
1 c cashews, soaked for 2-6 hours then drained and rinsed well
1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed
2 cloves garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
2-3 TBSP nutritional yeast
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ c water, to thin (or more, as necessary)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth (don’t rush this part! It takes a couple minutes.) Adjust salt & pepper as necessary. Use within a few days as a dip for your veggies, on your morning toast, on your favorite taco, or try it as the cheeze for your pizza! The possibilities are endless. I’d love to know how you use this deliciousness!
Note: This is moderately spicy. If you want it to be more spicy, up the ante on your jalapeno peppers and add two or try another spicier variety of pepper. If you want this to be more mild, use just half of a jalapeno pepper and it will have some of the pepper flavor without much heat.