Monday, 22 August 2016

Meat Free Monday - Vegan Creamy Cashew Cheese with a Lean Green Salad

Hello Monday again, another week gone and past way too quickly, haha. I swear I was only writing last weeks post five minutes ago. I've been that busy recently I've actually been pretty lazy in the kitchen and have become incredibly lazy in terms of recipe testing and trying new things.. I need to seriously give myself a kick up the bum and get back on track! I thought I'd give you a recipe I tried out a while ago, a raw vegan cashew cheese paired with a mean, lean green salad.

Cashew cheese sounds strange right? But it's delicious!!!

 For anyone not familiar with raw/vegan foods, cashews are one of the top things for vegans to use when making dairy alternatives. There are so many raw, simple recipes out there that require blending cashews and water as a base, then adding whatever herbs, spices and sweeteners to switch up the flavours. Raw cheesecake? Yes please. However by making a cheese out of the nuts creates a brilliant creamy alternative to dairy cheese. I'm not saying it's the exact substitute because it isn't, you could even call it a 'cashew spread'. It has a slightly different taste with that nuttier tinge however it's absolutely scrumptious and does the same job. It's a great addition to any salad, pizza, sandwich, lasagna, spread on toast, stir into pasta, you name it! The list is endless.  

In this recipe I add nutritional yeast which no isn't the same as bakers yeast used in bread, it's an inactive form of yeast which is used as food. Despite it's delightful name and looking slightly like fish food are an amazing addition to your diet, especially vegans! These little flakes have a authentic cheesy flavour and are a great addition to anything from salads, pizza, soups, pasta or adding flavour to dips such as this cashew cheese. Nutritional yeast has many nutritional benefits as it contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre, it also contains the vitamin B12 usually found in red meats, so if you're vegetarian or vegan it the perfect addiction to your diet. You can find it in most health stores or online, but don't worry if you don't have any for this recipe as it's just as delicious without it.

The recipe for this cheese is the basic base however you could add extra herbs/spices to switch it up! I love mine zingy and lemony but it's completely up to you! 

Cashew Nut Cheese (Makes 1 bowl)

- 1 Cup Soaked Cashews (170g)
-  1 Lemon
- 1/4 Cup Water (More or less depending how thick you want it)
- 1 to 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (Optional)
- Salt & Pepper to taste

Place all of the following ingredients into a a high powdered blender or food processor. Blend together until creamy. You may want to add more or less liquid for your desired consistency. This will keep for around 5 days in the fridge.

Lean Green Salad (Serves 1)

- 1/2 Cup Cooked Quinoa
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup Edamame Beans (around 75g)
- 4 Spears of Asparagus
- Handful of Broccoli florets
- 1/4 to 1/2 Avocado
- Handful of fresh chopped coriander
- Handful of Spinach & Watercress
- Cashew Nut Cheese

Start by steaming your asparagus and broccoli florets, then cut your asparagus up into chunks. Cut your avocado into bite sized pieces. Place all of your ingredients in a big dish before adding a big dollop of the creamy cashew cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice if desired.