A Vegan Baked Smoky Cashew Cheese made with whole ingredients, smoked paprika, easy and simple methods for a tangy, cheesy and healthy baked cheese. It slices, it spreads and it is completely dairy-free and oil-free!
This Vegan Baked Smoky Cashew Cheese not only blew me away, but it also blew away my mother-n-law!! My mother-n-law loves dairy cheese and is not vegan and she exclaimed, "Omg! This tastes just like cheese!" We were kind of inhaling it warm from the oven.
I've been wanting to try a baked cashew cheese forever, more specifically, a slice-able one and I really wanted to create one that could be served to guests.
Now, it's been years since I've had dairy cheese, but I still remember what it tastes like and I can tell you, this satisfied us both my mother-n-law and I. She said she was going to take the whole round of cheese and sneak it back into her room, haha! That's an endorsement, right?
As you can see, there is 2 cheeses featured here, the other one is this Vegan Baked Herbed Cashew Cheese made with fresh Thyme. It is milder in flavor than this smoky version, but equally as delicious!
HOW DO YOU MAKE VEGAN CASHEW CHEESE?
Ok, now, if we want to get as close to a true cheese taste, that is going to require certain ingredients and not just lemon juice, like so many cheese recipes rely on alone, am I right? Lemon juice is great, but it's not enough.
So, I came up with this incredible blend and it is fan-tas-tic. Cheesy, super tangy, rich, depth-of-flavor and NO oil and NO nutritional yeast. Say what?
Normally my go-to acidic element in my cheese recipes, is white distilled vinegar like in this Cream Cheese Alfredo (and some recipes in my cookbook) and apple cider vinegar in this Strawberry Cream Cheese, BUT, my friends I made an amazing discovery when I was making cheese by accident, I was out of white distilled vinegar and had rice vinegar in my fridge, so I sadly subbed it thinking it wouldn't work as good, but, it is better. I can't even explain the gourmet depth of tang it gives to cheese. It's not as sour as white distilled vinegar, but more of a gourmet, almost wine-like taste.
You only need 7 ingredients (+salt/water) for your vegan baked cashew cheese:
- raw cashews (gotta be raw folks)
- vegan worcestershire sauce (this can be found at Sprouts or Whole Foods or on Amazon)
- rice vinegar (this is the magic!)
- lemon juice
- fresh garlic cloves
- tomato paste
- smoked paprika
First, you will soak your cashews overnight. Drain and then add all of the remaining ingredients to a food processor. Process until completely smooth and not gritty.
Spread the cheese mixture into a 6 inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325°F for 35 minutes until firm and just beginning to crack.
OR, bake it for 25 minutes for a more soft-style spread for bread and crackers.
Cool about 15 minutes, then slice and serve. It is heavenly warm and you can also chill it in the fridge if you like. It is delicious any way you serve it.
The cool thing about this cashew cheese? It can be sliced, will stay firm at room temperature indefinitely AND it also spreads like a cream cheese! And NO WEIRD ingredients like agar agar or starches or thickeners etc. that are hard to find. I wanted this to be easy and simple!
See how it spreads too? Just slice and press it down onto the cracker. YUM.
I hope you all really love this Vegan Smoky Baked Cashew Cheese as much as we did, be sure to come back and let me know!
Don't forget to try this Vegan Baked Herbed Cashew Cheese too!
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