It's easy to give up dairy when you have a delicious alternative!
Giving up dairy can be hard because, well, cheese. So many vegetarian recipes feature a dollop of cream cheese or a sprinkle of Parmesan. Before I adopted a plant-based diet, I couldn’t see how I could escape dairy from time to time, but I really wanted to give it up. Then I came across a recipe for dairy-free Parmesan cheese, and everything changed. If I could use cashews to make vegan cheese, couldn’t I also use it to make a plant-based cheese spread?
It was not only possible, but you’ll be amazed at how easy it is. Just blend cashews with water, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. When it’s thick and creamy, fold in a few herbs to amp up the flavor and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to set up. There you have it: A plant-based cheese spread that is as smooth as cream cheese and tastes good on just about everything. The combination of the garlic and nutritional yeast give it a cheesy flavor, and the lemon juice brings just enough acidity to brighten it up.
How to Use This Plant-Based Cheese Spread
There are so many ways to use this plant-based cheese spread. It’s great on its own as a veggie dip or served with crackers, but you can also use it instead of mayonnaise on your favorite sandwiches. Here are a few of my favorite uses for plant-based cheese spread. Drop us a line in the comments and let us know your go-to use for this amazing recipe!
- Use it instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches and wraps. It’s especially good for burgers (including meatless options).
- Fancy up breakfast by slathering it on a toasted bagel.
- Spread it on Plant-Based Cashew Bread and add your favorite vegetables to create a quick and easy lunch.
- Serve it as an appetizer or snack dip in a bowl. It goes well with raw vegetables, crackers, tortillas, or chips (especially the homemade kind).
- Toss it with your favorite pasta or gluten-free noodles. The heat of the pasta will soften the cheese, turning it into a delicious sauce.
- Make a sweeter version by skipping the herbs and adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite fruit spread or jam.
- Make a batch of plant-based nachos by using cilantro instead of parsley. Then, add a teaspoon of cumin and a finely chopped jalapeno to the mix. Spread it over tortillas and bake until warmed through.
- Add it to a power bowl to add flavor and a creamy consistency.
You can also experiment with this plant-based cheese spread by adding different herbs. It’s easy to change the taste to fit individual taste buds and other recipes (like the nachos example above). Have some fun with it. After you make it the first time, you’ll know why this plant-based cheese spread tastes good on everything!
Plant-Based Cheese Spread that Tastes Great on Everything
- 1 1/2 cups cashews raw
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast plus more to taste
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1/2 cup water plus 1 tablespoon
- 8 chives finely diced
- 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
- Add all ingredients, except chives and parsley, to a high powered blender.
- Blend the ingredients until they become smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the spread to a bowl and stir in the diced chives and parsley.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours before serving.
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