Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sun-dried Tomato Cashew Cheese

Every year for Christmas Eve my family and I gather at my mom's house in Virginia and put on a big dinner. All the women (because we're pretty much all women) choose one thing to make whether that be a cocktail, starters, main meal or dessert. Inspired by this amazing cheese plate at Avo, a raw vegan restaurant in Nashville, I decided to make a cashew cheese with sun-dried tomato. It was bomb and everyone loved. Makes 2-3 cups 

  • 1 cup of roasted salted cashews
  • 2-3 large sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 large raw garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil (I used the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • water
First you want to soak the cashews overnight in water. Not only does this soften and bloat your cashews for easy blending, but it also makes cashews easier to digest. Nuts and seeds have higher amounts of phytic acid, which prevent our body from absorbing minerals because of the way the acid binds to minerals in food and interferes with enzymes. By soaking the cashews, you can reduce or remove the phytic acid in the nuts.

Drain your soaked cashews and rinse with clean water. Place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor or high-speed blender and start blitzing. Gradually add in the olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. At the time I was working with a small food processor with low horsepower so my cheese had lots of texture, but it could also be as smooth as soft goat cheese. 

And voila! Super easy to make and there's a whole lot of goodness here. The cashews offer a host of benefits including minerals copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin K as well as healthy essential fat along with the olive oil. Also cashews contain proanthocyanidins, which contain flavanols that help reduce colon cancer. Garlic is anti-inflammatory and it contains sulfur compounds, which is great for cardio health. And last, but certainly not least, the sun-dried tomatoes provide antioxidants vitamins A, C, E and lycopene. Add extra health by forgoing chips and serving with raw veggies like sliced cucumber and carrot knubs.

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