How to use cashews, macadamias and other nuts to replace dairy products

Sour Cream? YES! Nacho Cheese? YES! Cooking Cream? YOU BETCHA!

Vegan Cheese is my one weakness – there’s always the old ‘I could go vegan if it wasn’t for cheese/dairy’ excuse that gets thrown around lots by non-vegans.  But I can honestly say I do not miss it – with all the options that are available!

I usually make my own cheese using recipes from Miyoko’s Vegan Cheese book – but sometimes I’m pressed for time (or the rejuvelac doesn’t work!) and I just need a bit of extra creaminess in some cooking or a dish that to me doesn’t justify all the time and love that it takes to make a proper cultured vegan cheese – save those for your cheese platters!

These cheeses are my usual go to recipes when I’m trying to find a quick substitute for dairy products – mostly in cooking or for dips and side dishes.  I have yet to delve into the world of dairy replacements in desserts because I feel that there’s so many amazing people doing delicious things with raw baking (follow This Rawsome Vegan Life for wow factor) so I just follow recipes that already exist.

Each recipe makes 1-2 Cups of creamy dairy-free goodness depending on how much liquid you add

Cream/Thickened Cream

Great to add to stroganoff, curries and pasta sauces.  If you want a heat stable version add a tablespoon of tapioca starch or cornflour

½ C cashews, soaked in ½ cup water for 3 hours
Blend until smooth – add salt to taste and add more water to suit the consistency of the recipe you’re using it for (not suitable for using as a whipped cream – watch this space!)

**For a ‘Coconut Cream’ style that can be used in curries or recipes which call for coconut cream, add ¼ C desiccated or shredded coconut to the soaking cashews

Parmesan Style Cheese

I use this in pestos, sauces or for sprinkling onto pasta

Blend equal quantities of nutritional yeast to almonds, cashews, pecans or walnuts
Pro tip – make sure your blender is dry if you want to keep it crumbly.  Store in a container in the fridge – it actually gets better the longer you leave it!

Ricotta style cheese

Great for platters, dips or sprinkling into salads!  This features in my Eggplant Involtini

  • 1 C macadamias or cashews, soaked for 2-3 hours
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 Tbs mixed herbs, oregano or thyme
  • 1 tsp marjoram (optional)
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • Optional – 1/2 tsp miso paste (this will just add a ‘fermented’ umami flavour to the cheese, but it is just as tasty without!)

Drain the macadamias, then blitz in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients – add salt and pepper to taste, and make sure you scrape down the edges frequently for an even consistency


Sour Cream

Nachos, dips, topped on curries and practically any other use you might have for sour cream!

  • 1 C cashews, soaked and drained
  • Water for texture – approx. ½ C
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 Tbs white wine vinegar

Blend all ingredients together until smooooooooth and sour cream consistency! Adjust with water if necessary – less water for a more ‘dollop’ consistency, more for a liquidy creamy consistency


Liquidy Nacho Cheese

Perfect for nachos, stirring through mash or adding to a mac n cheese sauce

  • 1 C cashews, soaked then drained (keep the water to add later)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ C nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • Optional – 1/2 tsp miso paste (this will just add a ‘fermented’ umami flavour to the cheese, but it is just as tasty without!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together – add ½ C water then keep adding until desired consistency is reached.  If it’s not ‘cheesy’ enough add a bit more nooch.  If it’s pale add some more spices


For the Cream Cashew Cheeze:

Great substitute for cream cheese or quark – add some sun dried tomatoes or herbs and throw it on a cheese platter!

  • 1 C soaked cashews (overnight soak works best)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp dried herbs eg. thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp miso paste (this will just add a ‘fermented’ umami flavour to the cheese, but it is just as tasty without!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • For the herb roll (optional)
  • ¼ C walnuts
  • ½ bunch of chives (or dill, or parsley!)
  1. Add all ingredients for the cheeze into a food processor – blend until smooth and creamy.  It should be firm, but not too soft.  If it is soft, place into the fridge for a few hours to firm up.
  2. Shape the cheeze into a log shape.
  3. For the Herb Roll – pulse the walnuts in a food processor until fine crumbs.  Chop the chives nice and thinly and mix together then place onto a flat plate(Optional)
  4. Roll the cheeze into the herb roll mixture until completely coated

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For the Macadamia Round:

Great on a cheese platter!

  • 1.5 C macadamias – soaked overnight
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 C coconut oil, melted
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves

Process all ingredients together – season to taste. Shape into a round container and leave to set overnight



4 thoughts on “How to use cashews, macadamias and other nuts to replace dairy products

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