I have been dairy-free for almost three years now. I have my moments where I’m like: screw it! Give me pizza! (my parents and sister know this to be true) I can actually tolerate more aged cheeses like brie, camembert, blue cheese and goat cheese but on a very limited basis and I feel just fine. It’s when I decided I was completely immune to eating dairy in the midst of marathon training that I kind of fell of the wagon more than I’d like to admit. I realized we had this amazing Italian pizza place near our apartment and I couldn’t stop ordering it. It was bad, but also so, so delicious. I mean, come on, I ordered the Kale, Fig and Goat Cheese salad every time so it didn’t really count right? Oh, it counted. It counted because my body was not happy with me. My IBS symptoms were getting bad again and after all of my hard work I was not about to throw in the towel.
So, here we are. I am on Day 8 of the elimination diet and I can’t say dairy is something I miss, mainly because I’ve spent the majority of the past three years off of it. However, there’s something just so comforting about a little cheese on top of your salad, pasta, or sandwich. I’ve been buying dairy-free nut cheeses to satisfy this craving for years. It’s expensive, but delicious. My favorite brand is Tree Line Creamery. Their cheese is seriously amazing and it has minimal ingredients which you can’t find with most vegan cheeses.
I finally bit the bullet and decided to try to make my own nut cheese! This is due to the abundance of time I have right now and due to my brand-new fancy blender. I made this Dill Cashew Nut Cheese that was inspired by Amie Valpone’s cookbook: Eating Clean.
Dill Cashew Nut Cheese
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in 4 cups of water for 2-4 hours or overnight
- 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp of ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons of water (or less if you want a harder consistency)
- 3 tablespoons dill, chopped
Directions: Allow cashews to soak at least 2 hours. They’re good to blend when they feel soft to touch. Drain the water and put cashews in a high speed blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, salt & pepper, cumin, dill and one tablespoon of water. Blend the mixture until your desired consistency, for me this meant adding two more tablespoons one by one while blending. Use a spatula to get the “cheese” out and there you go! You have cashew nut cheese! It’s that easy!
You know what cashews are also great for? MILK. Non-dairy milk can get pretty expensive especially if you’re using a lot for smoothies and such. Making your own nut milk is cheaper and pretty easy. Some nuts require a cheese cloth to get the proper consistency, but cashews blend right up into the perfect creamy texture. I made my matcha latte with cashew milk this morning and it was life-changing. Here’s my personal recipe for sugar-free Cashew Milk:
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours
- 5 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions: Take soaked cashews, drain and place in blender. Add additional water, add more or less depending on how thick you want the milk to be. 5 cups gives you a semi-creamy consistency. Dash the cinnamon in the blender and blend for 2 minutes and you’ve got yourself dairy-free milk!