Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cheezy Cashew Spread

I love being vegan. There's nothing that I would change about my lifestyle that has formed around this dietary choice. I don't miss anything, I don't crave foods that I used to eat, I never feel restricted and it's anything but 'difficult' as so many people assume it to be. However, I will note that there are some ways of eating that are nostalgic, especially around the holidays that simple can't be had. In my family we grew up with cheeses, nuts, olives and oranges on trays and plates around the house during festive times. These rich snackable foods evoke such warm feelings, memories of grandparents and days of my childhood. My weakness was always sharp Cheddars, especially Imperial cheese. You know, the kind that comes in the red container, is spreadable when warm, with the sharpest taste of all? And oh so unnaturally orange. I don't crave this by any means, but this year I did want to make something rich, salty and spreadable to have with crackers for the holidays. Enter: cheezy cashew spread.

Raw, soaked cashews ready to be blended.

Cheezy Cashew Spread

-2c soaked cashews (In a bowl, add enough water to cover cashews and let sit for at least an hour, or overnight if you wish. When they're finished soaking, rinse.)

-1c orange or red bell pepper, roughly chopped (about one medium pepper)
-2tbsp lemon juice
-2tbsp light miso
-1tsp onion powder
-1.5tsp garlic powder
-1/2c nutritional yeast flakes
-1.5tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder
-1/2tsp salt if needed (but miso tends to be salty enough)

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth- the smoother the better. Put in a container and let sit in the fridge for a couple hours. It will become harder and nicely spreadable. Feel free to adjust any ingredients. I make things very roughly and am a fan of flexible cooking so have fun and do what feels right.

There in the left corner, sitting within a medley of snacks we have some nice, spreadable, orange cheezy cracker topping. I thinly sliced and oven toasted some baguettes to serve with it which was delicious. I could also see this as a great tortilla wrap layer or the base of a sandwich. It was salty, spreadable, fatty and satisfying. Exactly what I was aiming for.

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