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Vegan Pimento Cheese

Vegan Pimento Cheese completely dairy-free and oil-free! This is creamy, rich, tangy, salty, slightly spicy with just a hint of sweetness. Everything a pimento cheese should be!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword vegan pimento cheese, vegan appetizers
Prep Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Brandi Doming

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (225g) raw unsalted cashews, soaked overnight, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37g) plain (not seasoned) rice vinegar, please do not sub with another vinegar!
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (adds LOTS of depth of flavor, a slight kick and a hint of sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) water
  • 3 large garlic cloves, 11g, roughly chopped (don't be shy, this adds lots of flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon regular paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 cup (60g) diced pimentos (make sure you drain them FIRST from the jar before measuring)
  • I use this food processor.

Instructions

  1. You will need a day in advance to make this cheese, you MUST soak the cashews overnight. Quick soak methods are not advised. Rushing it will result in a gritty cheese. Trust me on this and do not skip soaking the cashews overnight. This makes the nuts very soft and is necessary since so little liquid is used and is needed to get a creamy consistency.
  2. Add your cashews to a bowl and pour boiling water over them by at least an inch at the top. Cover and leave to sit overnight on your counter or 8 hours minimum. Drain them and rinse them well.
  3. Add the drained cashews to a food processor, as there is such little liquid, I don't recommend a blender or even a Vitamix, it does not get creamy for me, personally. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the pimentos.
  4. Process to break everything up, scrape down the sides and process again for a good 5 minutes or so. You will need to scrape down the sides a couple of times to ensure it all gets mixed and smooth. It will seem too gritty at first and like it won't work, but if you soaked your cashews overnight as instructed, it WILL work. Just be patient. Process until 100% smooth and creamy. Like in my photo.
  5. Taste and it should be tangy, salty, slightly spicy and a mild touch of sweetness! True pimento cheese is not overly spicy so it should be just a nice warmth in your mouth. However, if you want yours spicier, feel free to add a good pinch of cayenne. Do not, however, add more Sriracha, as that will add too much more vinegar and saltiness to the cheese. The heat level is perfect for kids though in my opinion as written and totally reminded me of my mom serving pimento cheese as a kid!
  6. Now, add the drained pimentos to the food processor and just STIR them in, do NOT blend them up. Alternatively, you could add all of the cheese to a bowl and stir them in that way too.
  7. Serve immediately or store in the fridge if you like first. I inhaled it immediately! Pimento cheese is supposed to be a soft, creamy spread, not a hard cheese so no need to firm up in the fridge before eating. I love this with crackers, especially celery and really, really delicious on toast!