by Sarah Henderson
Are you salty, or sweet? Stuck on a desert island, which would you choose, brownies or hot wings? Hot fudge sundae, or fries and ketchup? For me, nachos win this query, every time. Our family is vegan, so my nacho habit has undergone alterations over the years as we’ve shifted to a lifestyle that reflects our respect impacts upon the planet. Plus, there is a bounty of colorful, versatile nuts, seeds, and plants out there, so why not explore?
But back to the nachos. In my quest for the “perfect” plate of gooey, non-dairy, yet still-cheesy goodness, I created this recipe for jalapeno cashew cheese. While it is true that due to changing weather patterns within the last year, nut prices have gotten a little, well, nutty, the trick is buying nuts in pieces instead of whole. They may not be as pretty, but they certainly do the job and you’ll save up to $2 per pound.
This recipe is ideal if you’ve decided to cut back on dairy products, is simple to make, and, most important, tasty enough to satisfy any nacho devotee. Eat up and feel good about it!
Jalapeno Cashew Cheese
- 1 cup raw cashew pieces
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos (the jarred kind from any supermarket), chopped
- 1 tablespoon juice from jalapeno jar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup water (added 1/4 cup at a time)
Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let them soak for at least 3 hours, but no longer than overnight. Drain cashews and place in blender. Add all ingredients except water. As you begin to blend, add 1/4 cup of water. Continue to add water 1/4 cup at a time until you’ve reached desired consistency – thick, smooth, and pourable. All measurements can be adjusted to taste, including the jalapenos, which can be reduced, or even eliminated for less heat.
Serve over tortilla chips with avocado, black beans and salsa or use as a dip. Delicious on cornbread and steamed broccoli.
A note about nutritional yeast flakes: nutritional yeast flakes can be found in any health food store. They are high in B vitamins and are used often when creating a cheesy flavor in non-dairy foods. Tasty on popcorn or sprinkled anywhere you might use salt.
Sarah Henderson lives in California with her family and welcomes OFM readers to follow her vegan lifestyle, and recipes, at @celeryhearted on Twitter.