Meatless Monday – Cashew Cheese

I have found variations of this recipe in countless cookbooks and all over the web.  I never would have given it a try, though, if my mom hadn’t bought me some Agar Agar when she went on a trip.  Thanks, mom!
Disclaimer: it’s a process

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
6 cups water

2 cups raw cashews – soaked over night
2/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 fermented quinoa water
4 tsp miso
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp agar agar powder

 

The first “step” takes 4 – 6 days. Good things come to those who wait?

  1. Soak the quinoa in a bowl with 2 cups water for 8-12 hours. Drain, rinse twice and transfer to a mason jar.  Cover with cheese cloth and place out of the sun at room temperature.
  2. For the next few days, rinse the quinoa two or three times per day until the grains sprout – little roots start emerging.
  3. Add 4 cups of water, cover with the cheese cloth and let sit for another 2 days.
  4. Strain, discard the sprouted quinoa, and store the liquid in the fridge.

Now for the fun!

  1. Soak the cashews in a bowl of water overnight.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients except the agar agar powder in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer the smooth mixture to a glass bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 24-72 hours with a cheese cloth over top.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir in agar agar powder on medium heat.  Stir constantly for 5 minutes until smooth.
  5. Transfer into a squared glass container to form a small block.  Smooth out the top.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or until somewhat firm.  The longer you let it age (1-2 weeks) the sharper the “cheddar” flavour will be.

sigh.  It seems like a lot of effort, but this is far better than any store bought non-dairy cheese you can buy in a store.  Plus, the actual time you are involved in making the cheese is rather minimal.  One just has to be patient…

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