Fun with Cashews

It’s been way too long since my last post.

I’ve been busy teaching people to cook, which is a wonderful thing! Including some in person events, which is an energy I have missed.

Right now, though, I am sharing a demo I just did virtually, a format I have gotten so much practice with over the past two plus years. This was my “Fun with Cashews” demo I did for the Plant Strong Program, a lifestyle medicine program at Kaiser Permanente that I help run and teach in our San Francisco office. (If you are interested, learn more about our Lifestyle Medicine programs, which include Thrive Kitchen.)

I find that besides bacon, one of the more commonly missed food groups for people going plantbased is cheese. (I didn’t say dairy, because there are a ton of plantbased milk options out there.) But cheese specifically. Cheese is also tricky for people who have high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. So it’s a bit of a miracle that cashews are such a good mimic of several types of cheese and other dairy products, and contain no cholesterol and mainly heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which may actually improve your cholesterol. In the photo above, clockwise from top, are Plantbased Parmesan, Plantbased Ricotta and Cashew Cream. If you want a fermented cheese you can try this recipe.

For the times when you just want to buy some plantbased cheese, what are your favorite brands? I am always looking for suggestions!

Thanks for coming by! If you’re in the Bay Area and would like to meet me in person, my next book signing is this Wednesday 9/21 from 3-6 PM in a popup with Culinarian Bookshop at Women in Conversation in Sonoma. I hope to see you there!

Plantbased Parmesan

Blend together in food processor or spice grinder:

1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews
1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Creamy Cashew Ricotta

Ingredients
2 cups raw cashews, covered with water and soaked for at least 2 hours, then drained
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oat milk (additional as needed to thin to desired texture)

Technique

  1. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until you have the grainy consistency of ricotta.  Stir in more water, if needed, to get desired consistency.  May be consumed immediately, but will taste creamier if rested in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Use in any recipe where you would use ricotta, or enjoy with fresh fruit.

Cashew Cream

Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews
½-3/4 c water
1/2 tsp salt

Technique

  1. Soak raw cashews in enough water to cover by an inch until soft. 2 hours or more.
  2. Drain and rinse soaked cashews.
  3. Place soaked cashews with remaining ingredients (starting with the lesser amount of water) into a blender and blend until completely smooth, adding more water as needed for desired consistency.
  4. To serve, transfer into a squeeze-tip bottle or use a small spoon to drizzle or dollop as a garnish.

Variation:
Crema: add juice of ½ -1 lime, to taste
Dessert topping: add 1 tsp vanilla and confectioners sugar to taste

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