With the heat wave in the past couple weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you might want to keep things simple when making food. I have been mostly doing quick sautés or dishes that require no cooking at all.
This recipe for Cashew Cheese on Cucumber does require a little forethought to soak the cashews in water for a few hours. Otherwise you only need a processor and a knife plus the ingredients to put together appetizers for a potluck or picnic, or just a healthy snack at home.
I like this combination for the refreshing cool crunch of the cucumber, creamy but cheesy flavors with hint of garlic of the cashew cheese, and touch of salty herb from the pesto. I eyeballed a lot of these so make sure you taste to see what amounts fit your taste levels. The more nutritional yeast you use, the cheesier the flavor while being dairy free. Nutritional yeast is also a great topper to sprinkle on popcorn to have cheese popcorn with your movie!
For the Cashew Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews soaked in water for 2 hours
- 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup water; the more water used, the thinner and creamier the cashew cheese will be, so you want to add to your liking for consistentcy a bit at a time
- 3 or so tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste if you’d like
- 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, or more to taste if you’d like
- 1 clove of minced garlic, or more to taste if you’d like
- Dash of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper or more to taste
For the Pesto – this is more of a rough guideline as I often just eye it after grabbing handfuls from my plant
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1/4 cup or so of olive oil
- 1/8 cup or so of pine nuts (for more flavor, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet for a few moments until aromatic, but be careful it doesn’t burn)
- 1/2 tablespoon of minced fresh garlic
- pinch or so of salt
- a few grounds of freshly ground pepper
For the Cashew Cheese
- First, you will need to soak the raw, unsalted cashews in water for about 2 hours. The water level should cover the tops of your cashews.
- Then, drain the water. Place the cashews, nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, the minced garlic and onion powder and salt in the food processor and pulse until roughly blended.
- Now as you continue to taste, add in the remainder of the water to get the consistency you would like. If you’d like, you can choose to add more lemon juice, or more nutritional yeast, or more minced garlic or salt to your preference depending on how garlicky, cheesy (from the nutritional yeast), lemony, etc you enjoy.
- Add a few grounds of freshly ground pepper. You can serve as is immediately, but if you refrigerate it for a couple hours the flavors will develop more and texture get a bit thicker so it will be even more tasty the next day – put it in a container to be used as a dip for a picnic with veggies, or spread on a sandwich, so many possibilities!
For the Pesto
Blend all the ingredients for pesto together – you may want to add a little bit more olive oil, salt, or pepper to taste. Puree until the mixture is smooth. Make sure you pause once in a while to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed to make sure it all gets mixed well, as well as to taste and adjust to your liking.
For the final Cucumber Cashew Cheese appetizers
Slice the cucumbers and slather on a bit of the cashew cheese. With a spoon, add on a bit of the pesto. Serve!
I put this combo on cucumbers buy it’s also great in sandwiches and the cashew cheese can be substituted in pasta like Ricotta in pasta shells or lasagna too.
What have you been making in the kitchen during this extended heat wave in Portland (or wherever you may be when it’s hot in the summer!)?