I recently wrote a post about cutting most dairy out of my diet. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it and I want to share my philosophy with you guys. I’m not an extremist (any more), I know from past experiences that the pendulum always swings both ways. Being too strict with your diet will ultimately cause us to go to the other extreme and binge or overeat. So to clarify, when I say I cut dairy out of my diet, I don’t mean I will NEVER EVER have it again (!!) it just means that I’m not going to be buying it or keeping it at the house anymore. If I’m eating out I might have some goat cheese on a salad every now and again but it’s not going to be a daily or weekly staple like it once was. I hope that makes sense!
Being realistic allows me to enjoy something I like but in more moderation. Life is about balance and it’s also about enjoyment! You don’t have to cut everything out at once or forever, just go for the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you eat super clean and 20% is not as perfect. I feel best at about 95/5 but that’s after years and years of following this lifestyle. If you are eating 50/50, then try to bump it up to 60/40 and so on. Slow and steady wins the race! Everyone wants the quick fix but if there is one thing I know, it’s that slow manageable changes are what lead to long lasting changes! There was a time in my life when I NEVER thought I would get there and now looking back I wonder how I ever could have been overweight with terrible skin and chronic fatigue…but more on that later. Back to the recipe!
In the spirit of staying dairy free, I thought I’d take a nod from my old raw food days and make this nut based cashew cheese. This has a similar texture to soft goat cheese. Full disclosure here: you’re not going to “trick” anyone into thinking this is real cheese but it tastes great and will make a lovely stand in for cheese and crackers. You could also use it as a yummy veggie dip, on pizzas, drizzled over roasted veggies like broccoli, veggie nachos, on sandwiches, etc. I added jalapeno and LOTS of black pepper to make it pop and it turned out great!
1. Info for Raw Vegan Jalapeno Cashew Cheese
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 5 mins
- Servings: unavailable
- Calories: unavailable
2. Ingredients for Raw Vegan Jalapeno Cashew Cheese
- 1.5 cups cashews
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt & pepper to taste, I used about a ½ tsp of each
- Add all ingredients to your VitaMix and blend until smooth. Taste, and add more water and spice as needed.
- You can also use a food processor and combine all ingredients until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. I sometimes use the Cuisinart Smart Stick mini food processor when making nut based spreads.
- Use a spatula to transfer to a small plate or bowl. I used a small springform cake pan to mold it into a circle and then sprinkled it generously with fresh cracked pepper. I think it would have looked better with a coarser cracked pepper than I used or red pepper flakes would have been really pretty! Then refrigerate for an hour to set the shape. Keep in mind that it will be soft at room temp and firm when cold.
- You can also add a bit more water and use this as an alfredo sauce alternative (simply omit the jalapeno if you don’t want it to be spicy) and if you’re feeling extra adventurous you could make a spicy mac and cheese using zucchini noodles!