Now that the holidays are over and we look towards the New Year I want to get back on track with healthy recipes. I became quite fond of dips and chips over the holidays and wanted to continue the celebration spirit with healthy food. The Super Bowl is shortly upon us and it occurred to me that it would be nice to have something tasty we could enjoy eating that we could also feel good about.
This cashew recipe fit the bill. I originally made this for a party where I wanted an alternative to my homemade Truffle Salt Ricotta for my dairy-free friends.
- Cashew nuts have a very high mineral content (magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron, potassium, selenium and calcium) and they have a lower fat content than most other nuts.
- Cashew nuts also contain high fiber, which is so good for digestion.
- Cashew nuts contains more than 80 nutrients and no cholesterol. They belong to the same family as the mango and pistachio nut. No wonder why I love them so much.
- Cashew nuts are actually the kidney-shaped seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree.
I saw cashews being distilled at Sahakari Farms in Goa, India for a spirit produced exclusively in Goa, called Fini.
The name ‘feni’ is protected, much like the name Champagne, which can only be used for the sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France.
Sometimes the simplest of ingredients can produce the most rewarding results. This recipe is a perfect example.
A few simple ingredients make up this creamy and tasty soft cheese.
Soak your cashews overnight. They will become very soft which makes them blend more smoothly. This also increases enzyme activity for greater absorption of the food’s nutrients by the body and increased digestibility. (win, win, win)
Put the nuts, lemon, garlic, olive oil and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. You will need to scrape down the sides during this process. If you are pressed for time you can stop here before adding water and make a great chunky dip.
If you continue on with the full recipe, your efforts will be rewarded. Add the water and blend for another 3 minutes until the cashews are creamy.
Put the cashew mixture in cheesecloth and twist the top and secure with a rubber band. I put it in a 4 cup measuring cup to drain for the next 12 hours in the refrigerator.
About ¼ cup of liquid should be released. Unwrap the cheese and pat yourself on the back.
I served the Cashew Nut Cheese with Flaxseed Crackers. Click Here for recipe.
- 1 cup whole blanched cashews
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Place cashews in medium bowl, and cover with 3 inches cold water. Let soak 24 hours. Drain soaking liquid, rinse cashews under cold running water, and drain again.
- Purée cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and ½ cup cold water in food processor 6 minutes, or until very smooth and creamy.
- Place large strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Scoop cashew mixture into cheesecloth. Bring corners and sides of cloth together, and twist around cheese, forming into orange-size ball and squeezing to help extract moisture. Secure with rubber band or kitchen twine. Chill 12 hours, or overnight. Discard excess liquid.
Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times. Note: Individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating cashews.
A Healthy Challenge
Make this cheese and crackers for your next party and don’t tell anybody that it is healthy, let alone good for you, or that it happens to be dairy-free, sugar-free, preservative-free or gluten-free. Don’t mention that is vegan, raw, or Paleo.
It is simply good, the way food should be.
…and then, she paused 4 thought.