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

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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

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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

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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
  • 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
  • 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

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