Looking for a crowd-pleasing yet more sustainable addition to your charcuterie board? Please scroll down to see my recipe for cashew-based vegan pimento cheese spread. Not only is it a satisfying addition to a cheese plate, but it’s also a delightful way to introduce sustainability into snacking.
One thing that I enjoy about this vegan pimento cheese spread is that you can make it in five minutes or thirty minutes, depending on if you account for any preparation time.
What’s in this recipe?
There are plenty of good recipes for cashew cream, but I personally use the cashew cream recipe from Rainbow Plant Life. Generally, you want to have soaked cashews blended together with salt and nutritional yeast. We’ll walk you through how to make this in the recipe described below.
Nutritional yeast looks like tiny yellow flakes that provide a lot of dairy nutritional yeast looks like tiny yellow flakes that provide a lot of dairy notes. The yeast is deactivated and provides some protein and small amounts of B vitamins. Most recipes do not offer adequate nutrition with nutritional yeast since it’s used in small quantities, but it adds a nice flavor that helps satisfy your craving for cheese and dairy.
Lemons or lemon juice
Lemons and lemon juice serves to add a pop of flavor and a balance with acid. You can use store-bought lemon juice, but fresh lemon juice will give a brighter taste.
You’ve probably seen these peppers stuffed into olives in the past. Pimento peppers are a large, sweet red pepper that grows in the shape of a heart. Pimentos are sweeter than red bell peppers and are often seen diced. You will generally find them near the jarred roasted red peppers and olives in the supermarket.
You can use either hot paprika or sweet paprika in this recipe, depending on your audience. I personally use sweet paprika to appeal to a larger crowd.
Salt & Pepper
Essential to any and every recipe.
Sustaining You and The Planet
It is widely accepted that animal agriculture is responsible for a large percentage of Green House Gas emissions. While many people make this association with meats, the dairy industry is also a contributor. Cheese contributes to more greenhouse gas emissions than chicken, fish, or pork and is the third-largest contributor to land use per kg. While cheese is a personal favorite, this vegan pimento cheese spread is a great substitute that will satisfy your cheese craving and reduce the abundance of resources needed to produce it.
Apart from its environmental impact, cheese is high in saturated fats, which contributes to artery blockages. While dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol are not strongly correlated, there is strong evidence that an increase in saturated fats can raise LDL cholesterol levels, which is the kind that increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Food science tip for making vegan cheese spread
You’ll need to start by soaking the raw cashews in water. If you’re in a pinch for time, you can pour boiling water over the cashews and let them soak for anywhere from 15-30 minutes or until the cashews are soft. But, if you’re any type of immunocompromised, I highly recommend this method as a pasteurization step.
However, if you’re a planner, you can soak these raw cashews in room temperature water either overnight or during the workday to save you some time. You should note that if you leave the cashews soaking for more than 12 hours, they may begin to ferment. If a raw diet is your thing, this fermentation actually adds a unique flavor to your cheese spread.
Vegan Pimento Cheese Spread Recipe:
Vegan Pimento Cheese Spread
- 1 cup cashews raw
- 1 lemon or 3 tbsp of lemon juice
- 2 oz of pimento peppers
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp paprika
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Soak your raw cashews in water for about 8 hours or with boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until soft
- Drain your cashews, and place into a blender (You can use an immersion blender here, but a high powered blender like a Vitamix works great)
- Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt
- Blend until smooth and creamy
- Store Refrigerated
- In a bowl or container, add your cashew cream, pimentos, and spices
- With a rubber spatula or spoon, blend together until evenly dispersed
Serve with toasted bread, crackers, or vegetables for a delicious snack!
I have shared this recipe with a few friends and received great compliments. The key to vegan cheese spread recipes is not comparing it to a cheese product, but a stand-in replacement for a softer cheese. Of course, it will never be the same, but it does hit the spot for a cheese replacement and it deserves its rightful spot on a charcuterie board. Feel free to explore our other content, such as “Four Ways to Eat a More Sustainable Diet” or our “Healthy and Simple Lemon Asparagus Pasta”.
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