A few weeks ago, I began surprising you all with a couple of Facebook Live videos from my California kitchen and one of the recipes I was working on was this fermented Cashew Cream Cheese. You’ll still be seeing me at YAO, don’t worry, but my life has brought me back to my kids and reminded me of the necessity of meal planning, organized shopping, easy meals & fun easy healthy snacks to have around that NO ONE HAS TO HELP WITH.
This is, of course, also a challenge in that all of us (and I am living with my parents too) are on the YAO general diet of being gluten, dairy and egg free. Additionally, Daniel threw in the challenge of lectin free! Yikes…another one Dr. D? Really? And lastly for overall gut health and healing, we are always working on incorporating foods with probiotics such as fermented items.
In the past, my exposure to fermented items really only included vegetables. Now, I love fermented vegetables (and if you want to be inspired in that department…follow @thefermentationist on Instagram). However, my daughter and I were loving this fermented cashew dip we found at Whole Foods, but it was SOOOO expensive and we were eating it in one sitting! So I found this AMAZING recipe on Cashew Cream Cheese and we are all totally addicted. We simply can’t run out! It’s a disaster when we do.
We had also been buying store bought Kite Hill almond milk based cream cheese, but it pales in comparison to the awesomely slightly sour taste of this fluffy cashew cream cheese.
Here’s my quick low down:
Buy Organic Cashews at Costco - if you can. If not - try Sprouts or Trader Joe’s for a fairly decent deal.
Know that this recipe is EASY, but it has to ferment over 2.5 days (12 Hours to soak, 2 days to ferment). So plan ahead if you are wanting to use it right away.
If you have access to some fresh herbs, make sure you’ve got some on hand. Dried work well too. I love the combo of oregano, sage and thyme.
I personally do not love direct garlic in the spread, and some of you may be FODMAP sensitive (see Dr. Daniel for more details on that), in which case you are staying away from garlic. However, you can make an infused garlic oil. If you have some of that…keep that on hand for the day your cream cheese will be done. We’ll have to write up that recipe for you all as well.
Lastly - Have a glass container to store the Cream Cheese in, and have it very clean if not sterilized. I use one that holds about 4 cups of liquid. If you don’t have one this big…you may need to split the finished product into 2 containers during the fermentation phase as it expands. I learned the hard way…YES…it totally came spewing out the sides when I opened it!
OK…Here’s the scoop:
YAO Cashew Cream Cheese
1 Cup Raw Cashews
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP’s PLAIN Coconut Yogurt
filtered water (or better yet some harvested spring water from the Rockies) to assist in smoothing texture during blending
Soak the cashews overnight - at least 12 hours. To remove the lectins, you can add in a TBSP of apple cider vinegar.
After 12 hours, drain the cashews and put in your blender or food processor. Depending on your tool, you may need to add a bit of water to assist in smoothing the cashew mixture as it blends. Feel free to scrape the sides down to help things along. You want the mixture to be smooth. That being said, be mindful of how the mixture heats up. You don’t want it to get too warm or when you add in the yogurt cultures, they will be killed. You may need to let the mixture rest before adding the cultures.
Once it is smooth and relatively cool, add the yogurt and salt and mix once again. If you feel like your device (blender or food processor) will over heat the mixture, go ahead and transfer the mixture to your clean and sterilized glass container that you will put the cream cheese in. Once in, mix well and cover.
Let it sit for 24 hours and then open and give it a stir. You should find that it will be becoming quite fluffy. Lots of fermentation bubbles creating air pockets in the mixture. Taste the mixture if you like it, it can be done. I like to go for 2 days.
After 48 hours - taste and mix. Add in any herbs you may want to flavor it if you would like it to be savory. I add in about 1 TBSP of garlic oil and probably a good 3 TBSPs of dried herbs - finely ground (1 TBSP sage, 1 TBSP thyme, 1 TBSP oregano). If you prefer it plain leave it as is. If you prefer sweet, you may add a little maple syrup to arrive at your perfect flavor.
Check out some great ways to utilize this cream cheese besides a dip or spread! I used some as a tasty base for a creamy salad dressing that everyone loved…AND…I put a lovely little dab in our butternut squash soup!
The original Facebook Live video on Sept. 4, 2018