Since discovering that we have multiple food allergies, my husband and I have had the opportunity to try new foods. We have tried many substitutes for various foods we used to enjoy and sometimes we get lucky and find something that works for us. Since gluten, eggs, and soy are not part of my diet and my husband does not eat dairy, pizza is a food we gave up. Lately I have been hungry for it and although I can eat cheese and have found replacements that would work for a pizza crust, I can’t bring myself to make a pizza Matt can’t also eat. In my search for something that would work as cheese, a few recipes for cashew cheese were found today. When I showed Matt, he did a few more searches and found a cashew nacho cheese recipe. Not wanting to “waste” a gluten-free batch of bread, trying the nacho cheese first seemed worthwhile. He ran to the store for the ingredients we didn’t have and I hunted through a few more recipes. I used a combination of about 7 different recipes because there were ingredients in each of them I knew that one or the other of us wouldn’t like. The end conclusion of what I tried today….mmmmmmm. It turned out to be delicious and I think the recipe can be altered a bit to have it fit a pizza at some point in the future. Because it was so tasty and such a rare find, I wanted to share the recipe with all of you.
- 2 cups of raw cashews (soaked for 2 hours and drained)
- 1 large and 1 small clove of garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3/4 to 1 cup of nutritional yeast (check to make sure it is gluten-free if that is an issue for you — some is started with beets and some with barley)
- fresh lemon juice (I squeezed about 1/2 the juice out of 1/2 of a lemon)
- Real Salt (Celtic Salt or some other brand could also be used) and ground black pepper to taste
- Water to blend it and get it to the right consistency. I probably used 1/2 to 1 cup of spring water.
I threw the ingredients into our Magic Bullet (half of it at a time) and mixed them all together. After trying it cold, Matt warmed some of it a touch and we both decided that it was excellent. Is it the same texture as nacho cheese? Well, not really. But the taste is good and we could both see a slightly different version of it working as a cheese replacement on a pizza. I might substitute some fresh tomato for some of the water next time I make it to give it even more of a nacho cheese flavor. I also added some avocado to mine and liked it. It can be thicker or thinner based upon your tastes and needs, but serving it with fresh veggies, whole grain chips/crackers, or whatever you typically dip into cheese should work just fine.
I’ll try to snap a picture of it before it is gone and will let you know how it is after sitting in the fridge for a few days too. Please let me know if you try any other variations of it and like it!