From bagels to dips, traditional cream cheese is an all-time favorite. But when you lead a vegan lifestyle or have a dairy allergy, the popular spreadable cheese seems out of the question. Luckily, it doesn't need to be that way! With ingredients like cashews, nutritional yeast, and non-dairy yogurt, you can make vegan "cream cheese" in the comfort of your own home. The finished product will have a mild yet flavorful taste that is reminiscent of the real thing. To make it yourself, check out this deliciously easy tutorial.
Things You'll Need
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/4 cup soy or coconut yogurt
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Dash of ground black pepper
For best results, use a food processor to ensure a smooth and even consistency. However, if you opt for a high-powered blender, keep in mind that it is best to puree the mixture in batches. It might also take longer to smooth out and you may need to scrape down the sides more often. This will likely vary depending on the specific appliance.
Soak the cashews in water for at least 4 hours. If possible, let them sit overnight, for at least 8 hours. This will make it easier on your food processor or blender.
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Drain the cashews and chop up.
Process the cashews, pausing every now and then to scrape down the sides. Continue until the mixture reaches a doughy consistency.
If you are using a blender, this step is best done in batches.
Combine the pureed cashews with the yogurt, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
If using a food processor, this step can be done right in the container. If using a blender, mix these ingredients in a bowl and return to the blender, working in batches.
Puree until you are happy with the consistency. If needed, slowly add water, non-dairy milk or yogurt to help smooth out the cream cheese. You can also add more lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt or pepper, according to your taste buds.
This basic vegan cream cheese recipe is easy to customize. Simply mix in your favorite ingredients for a delicious, one-of-a-kind flavored homemade "cheese" spread. For example, if you love a little heat, add sriracha or Chipotle peppers. Sweeten things up with cinnamon sugar, mashed berries, or pumpkin puree. Craving something savory? Use chopped scallions or dried herbs. Don't be afraid to experiment with what you have on hand.
Vegan cream cheese can be used just like traditional cream cheese. Spread it on bagels, eat it as dip, or stuff it in pastries. Yum!