10/5/11

Vegan Mofo: Sun-dried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Pub Cheese

No one will know it's not cheese! Just make sure you let your nut-free friends know the score.





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As a 16-year-lacto-vegetarian-veteran moving more towards veganism, I have a love/hate relationship with cheese. I love the taste, I hate that it is, well, cheese. It's really my last struggle with letting dairy go. That and butter in baked goods, but the less I use them, the less attached to them I get. Earth Balance is kind of OK and I'm giving some other butter subs a chance too. But cheese, I don't care how well a vegan cheese melts, it's just not the same. Honestly, I never liked vegan cheese until I made it myself! I was messing around with making a cashew cheese last night, and seriously, the end result would fool any lacto-loving-cheese-eater.

It's that time of year where we all start entertaining and bringing yum-yums to parties. This would make an excellent appetizer or finger food in a pot-luck buffet. Serve on top of grilled slices of crusty bread brushed with olive oil (read method below) and garnish with sliced grape tomatoes and an arugula leaf. Voila! You are Martha Stewart in everyone's eyes.

I'm also going to be using this as part of another recipe I will be posting shortly, so try not to eat it all at once. :)

Sun-dried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Pub Cream Cheese Recipe (vegan, gluten-free)
Prep time: 15 minutes | Yields about 1.5 cups
with dip and dressing variations!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2-1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp tahini (optional)
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp mince garlic or hing
  • 1 tsp minced basil
  • 2 TB sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt (according to taste)
  • dash pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper roasted under a broiler, skin removed and chop into tiny bits


Directions
  1. In a powerful food processor, grind up cashews, tahini and 1/2 cup of hot water. This should make it like a grainy nut butter. Keep adding water in small amounts until the cashews turn into a thick, creamy paste.
  2. Add the nooch through basil. Process. The longer you process, the smoother it will become. About 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add chopped sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Process for a minute more.
  4. Remove from food processor and fold in chopped bits of roasted red pepper.
  5. Store in fridge until ready to use. Will probably last a week refrigerated. Great to prepare ahead of time for a party!
Variations: Add about an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and you've got vegetable dip! Add yet more water and you've got yourself a creamy salad dressing. The more water you use, the more salt you may need to add.

Bread: I used the vegan seeded baguette from Trader Joe's. Cut your loaf in slices on an angle, drizzle with olive oil (May I recommend Trader Joe's Spanish olive oil?) and place oil side down on a cast iron pan set to medium heat. Weigh down the slice with a not-too-heavy pan of water. Takes a minute or two to look like the picture above; watch your slice so it does not burn!

12 comments:

  1. this looks delicious, i'll have to try it soon! i just love cashew-based cheeses.

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  2. Delicious! I've had a few cashew cheese and love them. Can't wait to try this.

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  3. Tasty! And your picture looks great too. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    It took me 13 years of vegetarianism to finally let go of cheese and go vegan (a couple years after I'd stopped drinking milk or using eggs). And that's okay... veganism's not a race. If that's where you want to get to eventually, you'll do it in your time!

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  4. whoa, yum! and keep fighting the good fight. once you give up cheese for good, after awhile the vegan 'cheesy' products (storebought or homemade) taste just like you remember, except not gross.

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  5. Yum! I'm actually having a vegan wine and cheese party for my birthday, and I'm looking for a few easy-cheesy make-ahead ideas. I'm soooo all over this!!!!

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  6. That looks great! The pic is amazing - the toast is all crunchy and buttery and yummy looking.

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  7. Wow, that sounds really really delicious. I'll have to try it soon.

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  8. it looks so dreamy! I've never seen that baguette at TJ's, I hope they don't sell it just locally.

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  9. I didn't have a pepper so made it without, still great. So good I've just had 5 slices of bread, woops!

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  10. i prefer homemade cheese alternatives as well. the store bought stuff is usually at best a poor imitation of the worst, most processed dairy cheeses. this spread looks so much better than all o' that.

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  11. I am making a second batch now. :)

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  12. This looks awesome. Thanks for posting it!

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