This simple nut cheese can be made with cashews or almonds and is fabulous on crackers and in salads. Most raw cheese recipes will follow this basic technique. The variations are almost endless. Add your favourite herbs and spices, chopped sun-dried tomatoes or even fruit and dates for a sweet cheese. Chives, tarragon and basil are good choices. You can also roll the cheese in cracked black pepper or crushed red-pepper flakes.
Makes about 2¼ cups
- 2 cups cashews or almonds, soaked overnight and drained
- ½ cup water, or more for blending
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. probiotic powder
- 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs or 2 Tbsp. dried herbs (optional)
Place the cashews, water, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Process until very creamy, adding more water if necessary. Add the probiotic powder and pulse a few times to mix well.
Pour the mix into a lidded glass container and allow to sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Once the cheese has sat out and developed a tangy taste, spoon it into several layers of cheesecloth. Wrap the cheesecloth securely around the cheese and twist into a tight ball, then flatten it to make a round. Place the wrapped cheese in a colander or large strainer.
Place a couple of heavy plates or a water-filled bowl on top of the cheese. (This will press it and cause extra moisture to drain away.) Allow the cheese to drain for about four hours.
Once drained, mix in the nutritional yeast and salt, and stir until well incorporated. Then shape the cheese into a round wheel or a log shape. Roll the cheese in the herbs, if using.
Tip: An optional step for a very white cheese is to blanch the almonds first, though it might not be considered a raw technique. Blanching heats the skins of the almonds and allows them to be easily peeled. The high temperature is concentrated in the very outer layer of the almond and doesn’t heat the inside to any great degree. To blanch, place the almonds in a glass or metal bowl. Pour boiling water over the almonds and let them stand for 2 minutes. Quickly drain the water and pour cold water over the almonds to cool them. The skins should slip off very easily.