This post is sponsored by Williams-Sonoma.
I have been waiting so long to make this recipe! So long! I’ve had this Sun-dried tomatoes and basil fermented cashew cheese recipe stuck in my head for a couple of years, but never had the chance to make it properly. I tried once, in my mini food processor, and although it was good, the texture was not creamy because I didn’t have a high powered blender, but little did I know this was all about to change…
Although I don’t think I could ever go raw 100% of the time (except if you’re very sick and need all the vitamins and enzymes you can get, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating cooked foods as long as we eat a lot of raw veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds, etc.) but I do think we can all add more raw foods in our lives. Especially in the Western lifestyle, we eat a diet of so much processed food, we are seriously lacking in the vitamins/minerals/enzymes department! 😉
Most cultures have a famous fermented, also called lacto-fermented, food in their history, like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha or even pickles, yogurt, cheese, and wine! Traditionally, all these foods were made by naturally fermenting something and creating something else: milk turns into yogurt, cabbage turns into sauerkraut, grapes turn into wine. The process is simple, when done right, by capturing natural yeasts and bacteria that live all around us, in the air, in the ground, and letting them ferment this food, which creates this vinegar-taste and makes it an environment where bad bacteria cannot grow, therefore making it safe for us to eat. This was used primarily as a way of conserving food in the days before fridge and canning method existed. Unfortunately for our health, it was also extremely helpful in maintaining good digestion by adding good beneficial bacteria and natural protection (naturally occurring “antibiotics”) and keeping a healthy immune system.
The standard American diet has a phobia of bacteria. In some ways, that’s a good thing. Sterilization has saved many lives since becoming standard practice in the food industry, but a growing number of people argue that it’s gone too far. Our cultural preoccupation with total sterility has resulted in the loss of much good bacteria in our diet – those extremely healthy probiotics that we humans actually need in our digestive tracts to help fight disease, especially to offset the negative effects of eating too much sugar and too many refined carbohydrates.
It is only recently that science has started to scratch the surface of the many many benefits that come from these helpful bacteria, but folk culture knew this all along (even if they didn’t necessarily know why). You might’ve heard and used pro-biotics, and maybe even pre-biotics (which are just as important but not as often talked about), but fermented foods are the MacDaddy of these healthy bacteria! 😉
Fermented foods have been eaten and used for medicinal purposes for centuries, it’s been traced as far back as Roman times!
Vitamix Review and Cashew Cheese
So, back to this recipe for delicious lightly fermented raw cashew cheese, which is great for vegans, people who might have a dairy allergy, but you know what? It’s also great for people who eat cheese! I still eat organic grass-fed cheese, but I also like to eat a varied diet and try new things, and this is so yummy!
It takes some time, but the method itself is incredibly easy, as long as you have a high-powered blender, like this amazing new Vitamix S55 model, which Williams-Sonoma asked me to review and create some delicious recipes for you guys! I’ve always wanted to own a Vitamix, but just like many of you, I thought that the original model was a bit too big and bulky (not to mention loud) to sit on my kitchen countertop. My sister actually owns one and loves it, but I couldn’t see myself with one. I was often upset because I couldn’t create certain recipes because my mini food processor just can’t make a super creamy texture that is necessary for certain recipes.
So… my first impression of the Vitamix S55 personal blender? It looks nice, everything comes apart and washes very easily (you can even throw all the parts in the dishwasher!) and is way smaller than the original model! It’s a bit intimidating at first, but after a quick reading of the manual and the handy pictures, you start understanding how it works, and it isn’t hard. When I first started making this raw cheese, I didn’t think it was working properly… until I realized that I forgot to use the special accessory to push the cashews at the bottom! hahaha Once I did that, it only took seconds to be all creamy and smooth. Seconds people! It’s quite amazing and it made me laugh to remember all those times I tried to replicate this in my mini food processor, which would take longer and a lot more work. haha I will say that I did make 1 recipe from their cookbook, which was to make a whole orange juice, where you simply peel the oranges and use everything else, along with a small amount of water, but it looked more like a thick smoothie than a juice, and my husband and I didn’t really like it, so for the rare times we actually have orange juice, I think we’ll stick to just juicing them with our citrus juicer, but as far as making nut creams and butters, oh my! I think I will love this new machine! So far, so good! The size is also perfect, and it comes with an extra smoothie container attachment where you can make your smoothie in the same container that you take with you! If you’re in a rush, that will be a time-saver for sure.
If you’d like to check out this cool new Vitamix, offered only through Williams-Sonoma, click on this link here.
I look forward to creating the next recipe with my Vitamix and let you know how it goes! 🙂
(Sources: Washington Post, Why we should eat more fermented foods?)
Note: Although Williams-Sonoma provided me with a free product to review, I was not paid to write this article, and you can be sure all opinions are my own! I would never say I liked a product if I didn’t. Because I’m just not like that. haha 🙂
This recipe may contain affiliate links for products and brands that I use and recommend.
Sun-dried tomatoes and basil fermented cashew cheese | Raw, vegan
A delicious vegan cheese that everyone will love!
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 48 hours in spring or filtered water, changing the water every 8 hours or so)
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- 3-4 organic sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (or for a true 'raw' cheese, use dry sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water for an hour)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground paprika (optional)
- hemp hearts to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Your raw organic cashews need to soak for 48 hours in order to start the fermentation process, so simply place the cashews in a bowl and cover with clean spring or filtered water. Make sure you have at least an inch or two of water over the cashews (they will almost double in size once hydrated). Leave out on the kitchen counter, at room temperature.
- Change the water every 8 hours, for 48 hours. This will avoid the cashews going bad, but will allow them to lightly ferment and add taste to your raw cheese.
- Once ready to make the cheese, using your Vitamix blender, simply juice the 1/2 lemon first, then add the soaked cashews, fresh basil leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, and natural enzymes and paprika (if using).
- Start the Vitamix on low speed first and then increase to # 2 and # 3, and using the attachment to push, insert it at the top and push the cashews down until creamy and smooth. It should not take more than 30 seconds or so. (You don't want to leave it in there too long in order not to heat the cheese)
- Using a spoon and then a small rubber spatula, get the cheese out and into a container.
- Sprinkle with raw hemp seeds (if using), and serve with crackers and raw veggies.
The cashews MUST soak in filtered or spring water only, as the chlorine and other chemicals in tap water will destroy the natural bacteria causing healthy fermentation, and the cashews risk rotting instead.
Note: I do not believe anyone should worry about counting calories, but here is the nutritional information for one serving
Calories: 129kcal | Fat: 10g | Saturated fat: 1g | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 177mg | Carbohydrates: 7g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Protein: 4g | Vitamin A: 85% | Vitamin C: 6.4% | Calcium: 10% | Iron: 1.6%
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Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
WooT WooT! VitaMix is in the HOUSE!! Way to go ECP! I got a biggie VitaMix two years ago and it has change the way I do breakfast, soups, ice cream, dips etc… it is an amazing machine! I could easily rep VitaMix because I love it so much! Not only can it do amazing things, but it is sturdy and VitaMix stands behind their products. Thank you for this fabulous recipe, too! I am so excited to try it. I need more fermentation in my life… for health and taste. Cashews continue to amaze me with all that they can do and I continue to experiment with them and find delicious ways to use them all the time. Have you tried making ice cream with them?! It’s amazing! Thank you ECP!
I have a feeling things will change around here too! 🙂 Glad to hear you like yours! I haven’t tried cashew ice cream yet, but now that I have my very own Vitamix, homemade ice creams are definitely making a comeback this summer! Yum! xo