I often share my love for fermented and probiotic rich foods and strongly encourage most of my clients to imbibe in at least 1-2 servings daily. Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeasts and fungi, that are naturally produced in some fermented foods. Studies have shown they can improve digestion, help protect against disease, and enhance immune function. The right balance of probiotics can even help your body resist sugar cravings! For that reason (and the taste!) I love fermented vegan cheeses. The process of fermenting preserves the nut cheese while creating beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
This recipe is well worth the effort. Once you get the hang of making cashew (or macadamia, or any nut and seed you decide to experiment with) – you’ll start making this all the time. This recipe makes a nice size portion, that I use as a vegan spread for wraps or a schmear on my gluten free crackers. It’s safe to say I no longer feel weird about putting food in my closet to sit at room temperature for a day or two 😉
Fermented Cashew Cheese
Makes 1 batch
2 cups organic cashews, soaked overnight
1/4-1/2 cup water (you want the mixture to be the texture of a thick nut butter)
1 probiotic capsule (I used a 50B Renew Life capsule, opened it up and used the powder)
1⁄4 tsp. sea salt
1 T. nutritional yeast
1 T. lemon juice
Blend nuts, water, in a high-speed blender until smooth. Open up and stir in the powder of a probiotic capsule. Double line a strainer or mesh basket (the plastic kind that berries come in also works well) – with cheesecloth. Cover the cheese mixture with cheesecloth, and weigh down mixture with a jar or weight to apply pressure. Weigh down the bundle with something slightly heavy, like a jar of water, and position so that the cheese mixture will drain.
Ferment at room temperature for at least 24 hours.
After 24 hours the cheese should have a slightly tangy smell, but there should be no mold or discoloration. Once fermentation is complete, stir in sea salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Season to taste, and feel free to add other spices or seasoning at this point.
For my basic fermented cashew cheese veggie wrap, I use (this makes two servings):
- 1 large head of romaine lettuce , washed and leaves seperated
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 1 cup sauerkraut
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup sprouts of micro greens of your choice
Fill romaine leaves with avocado, kraut, cherry tomatoes, fermented cheese, and garnish with sprouts. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt if desired.
1 serving equals approximately 3-4 leaves.