Cashew cheese is a gluten-free, dairy-free alternative to— you guessed it— cheese! This recipe uses nutritional yeast to give it a delicious cheesy flavor. What’s more, this keto cashew cheese contains tons of vitamins and minerals!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is Cashew Cheese?
- What is Nutritional Yeast?
- Can I Substitute a Different Type of Oil?
- Are Cashews Keto-Friendly?
- 6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
I’m not a big fan of food impersonators such as Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods. The truth is, I’m much closer to carnivorism than I am to veganism. However, occasionally I stumble upon a recipe so good that it can get away with breaking all the rules— this is that recipe!
What is Cashew Cheese?
Cashew cheese is a non-dairy, vegan substitute for cheese. It’s typically made of blended cashews, nutritional yeast, water or oil, and a blend of seasonings. You can use cashew cheese to accompany veggies, olives, or keto crackers.
What is Cashew Cheese Made of?
- Cashews— Reach for raw varieties (unsalted and unroasted).
- Nutritional Yeast— This is the stuff that turns regular cashews into cheese. Nutritional yeast has a delicious cheesy flavor. Plus, it’s jam-packed with vitamins such as B12 and niacin.1
- Apple Cider Vinegar— The savory flavors of cashews and nutritional yeast pair well with a hint of acid. Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice add zest and balance to this spread.
- Lemon Juice— When using lemon juice, fresh is always best.
- Garlic— I prefer fresh garlic, but powdered will work as well.
- Olive Oil— specifically, extra virgin olive oil. Spring for a higher-quality brand such as Partanna or Paesano. Your taste buds will thank me later.
- Sea Salt— I opt for Himalayan sea salt. It has a soft flavor and contains trace minerals.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast, also known as “nooch,” is a deactivated yeast (meaning, ya better not bake with it) similar to baker’s or brewer’s yeast. Nooch is a unique umami ingredient with a delicious cheesy flavor. This unusual yeast is a popular ingredient amongst vegans and vegetarians because it’s dairy-free and contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Beyond that, nutritional yeast is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.2
Can I Substitute a Different Type of Oil?
The type of oil you select will determine the complexity of flavor within the cashew cheese. Not only that, but it also sets the standard for health. The majority of oils on the market are highly processed. The problem with processed oils is that they’re subject to destructive high-temperature processing methods. Such methods promote significant oxidative stress, and oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins, and DNA.3 The reason so many companies produce processed oils is because they’re inexpensive to manufacture and maintain long shelf lives. Oils such as vegetable, sunflower, safflower, canola, soybean, and grape seed are all examples of processed oils. If you’d prefer to swap the olive oil with a different variety, I’d recommend going with avocado or cold-pressed walnut oil.
Are Cashews Keto-Friendly?
Yes and no. 1/4 cup of cashews contains approximately eight grams of carbohydrates. This means you can get away with eating cashews while on keto. However, you better watch your portion size. Though, let’s be honest— controlling your portions sucks! I find it super challenging to control myself around keto cashew cheese. Therefore, I generally reserve this recipe for carb-refeed days. That way, there’s no shame when crushing the entire batch in one sitting.
6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an old-school ingredient making a grand comeback. Organic, cold-pressed apple cider vinegar contains a substance called “must.” Must is the bits and pieces of fermented apple. The must is what holds the “mother.” And the mother is a colony of probiotic bacteria. Studies suggest that probiotics have an immune-boosting effect which helps prevent and combat illness.4 Even better, ACV is antiseptic, astringent, antibacterial, and antifungal. We’re talking serious superfood here!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
1. Aids Digestion
Acid is one of the activators for the enzymes in the stomach to help break down protein. Apple cider vinegar speeds up digestion by activating gastrointestinal enzymes.5
2. Controls Pathogens
Consuming apple cider vinegar helps prevent the overgrowth of microbes. Thus, protecting the body from conditions such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).6
3. Decreases Acid Reflux
We’ve all experienced that feeling of stomach acid making its way up the esophagus. The general go-to is to chow down some Tums and wait for the magic to happen. What’s interesting about acid reflux is that it’s actually caused by low stomach acid. This means, the best way to combat acid reflux is to increase stomach acid (not reduce or neutralize it).7 ACV pH levels are between 2 and 3, making it acidic enough to calm the stomach and effectively reverse acid reflux.8
4. Improves Blood Sugar Levels
Apple cider vinegar helps improve the body’s sensitivity to glucose. Once the body is more receptive to glucose, insulin will be less resistant.9
5. Enhances Immune System
Apple cider vinegar contains probiotic bacteria. Studies suggest that probiotics have an immune-boosting effect which helps prevent and combat illness.10 Furthermore, ACV stimulates white blood cells to speed up function and fight off infection.11
6. Reduces Appetite
Some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar promotes fullness.12 In addition to its appetite-suppressing effects, apple cider vinegar has also been shown to slow the rate at which food leaves your stomach. This means you’re likely to stay satiated for extended periods— score!
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Cashew cheese is a gluten-free, dairy-free alternative to cheese. This recipe is made with nutritional yeast to give it a delicious cheesy flavor. What’s more, this keto cheese spread contains tons of vitamins and minerals.
- Soak the cashews in water for at least an hour. Generally, I soak them overnight. Drain before using.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until relatively smooth. I enjoy a coarse texture, leaving some of the cashews partially intact.*
- Serve with choice vegetables (cucumbers, snap peas), keto crackers, or castelvetrano olives (my favorite choice).
- Keep leftovers refrigerated. Saves for 2-3 weeks.
Soaking the almonds produces a creamier texture. It also makes the blending process a bit easier. However, if you’re short on time, soaking the almonds is not necessary.
Use fresh squeezed lemon juice whenever possible. Working with fresh ingredients promotes better flavor and a healthier product.
I prefer the flavor of fresh garlic, although as an alternative, you can use powdered garlic. If you plan on substituting with powdered, I would recommend using 1/8 teaspoon or less.
I love the flavor (and health benefits) of Himalayan sea salt. Other sea salts tend to be a bit more aggressive. Meaning, if you plan on swapping the salt, you may want to consider reducing the amount called for.
Using a food processor makes the blending process much easier and the texture more pleasurable. The problem with using a blender is that it’s easy to over-mix the spread. In which case, the flavor is preserved but the texture becomes slightly gummy.
- Category: Dips
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Keto
- Serving Size: 1/4 cup
- Calories: 261
- Sugar: 2g
- Fat: 19g
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 11g
Keywords: dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, easy, healthy, vegetarian, ketotarian, keto, low-carb
I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe or what secret vegan cheese recipes you have hiding up your sleeve. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below.
Other Fantastic Keto Dips
Spinach and Artichoke Dip, here on Keto for Mamas
Keto Tzatziki, from Real Balanced
Smoked Salmon Dip, from Recipe Tin Eats
Keto Cheesy Chorizo Dip, from Hey Keto Mama
Low-Carb Bruschetta Feta Dip, from Keto Diet App
Ready to “go-keto” but have no idea how to begin?
I’ve got you! Check out my free Clean Keto Guidebook.
If you’re looking for:
- A simple breakdown of “healthy” vs. “unhealthy fats”
- A complete list of which carbs to avoid and which to invite
- A clear understanding of macros and how to effectively calculate yours
Then you better download this guide— cause it was made just for you!
Whether you’re well-versed or brand spankin’ new to keto life and looking for some help, you should check out Katie’s coaching program. Coach Katie lives keto all day, errryday. She keeps up to date on the latest science, so you don’t have to. But more importantly, she addresses your specific goals to help you achieve ultimate success on your keto journey. And it’s always better to have someone in your corner, guiding you along. So if you’re ready for total life transformation and ultimate keto success, schedule your FREE keto strategy sesh today!
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Katie Rodriguez nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.