A garlicky, spicy cashew cream cheese for those who can’t or won’t eat dairy! This is one of those recipes you can make with the pulp from cashew milk, but you can also use whole soaked cashews. This vegan cream cheese recipe is paleo, gluten- and dairy-free.
And since those words still might mean nothing to some people, let me make it clear from the start: this recipe is not made with actual cream cheese. What you see are cashews, processed with garlic, spices and some lemon juice to resemble the looks and taste of cream cheese.
I needed to make this clear, because I’m still getting confused comments on this post asking: “Where’s the cream cheese?”. I also know the word paleo or gluten-free or even dairy-free means nothing to my mom, so there you go , mom!
How To Make Vegan Cream Cheese
To make vegan cream cheese you don’t really need any unknown, fancy ingredients. Vegan, dairy-free cream cheese is made with cashews or with sunflower seeds (like this one), herbs, spices and lemon juice.
Prior to making cream cheese it’s super important that you soak your cashews for at least 3-4 hours or overnight, so that they blend easily.
Then you can process them using a hand blender or a regular blender (if making a bigger batch!). I like using the hand blender because it allows me to make smaller batches and to not add that much liquid.
Once you have the cashews soaked you place them in a bowl (or in your blender), add lemon juice, chili flakes or fresh jalapeno, herbs (your choice) and (to me) really important: garlic!
Then you process everything until well combined – you should get something that looks a lot like cream cheese.
Optionally, you can blend in a one or two tablespoons of water to make the cream cheese less thick and more like a sauce.
Does Cashew Cream Cheese Taste Like Real Cream Cheese?
The taste will, of course, not be exactly the same like actual cream cheese, because, well, cashews are cashews and cheese is cheese. But cashew cream cheese does resemble cream cheese. And you might even like it more once you start eating it more often.
If you’d like to experiment, you can use cashew cream cheese to make vegan cheesecake (no baking!) or spice it up like this one here and use it as a spread on a toast, in wraps or in bowls.
I’ve also seen dairy-free recipes using cashew cream cheese in soups or pasta sauces.
How to use and store this cream cheese?
Something else you can do is: you can also add a Tbsp or two of water and turn it into the base for a mayo-free salad like chicken salad, tuna salad or a vegan chickpea salad.
This recipe doesn’t make too much, but if you want to make more or it was more than enough for the day – store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.