This cream cheese beats the pants off Tofutti. Photograph by Hadas Margulies
As a follow-up to my post on gluten-free vegan pumpkin bagels, I thought it was only fitting to share with you a whole new world of cream cheese: the raw, vegan one.
I love raw foods, because no nutrients are lost in their preparation. You get all the good stuff, untarnished by heat. Of course, cooked food has its benefits, too, which is why I go for a healthy mix of both raw and cooked foods.
This schmear is made of protein-packed cashews, healthy-fat-filled coconut oil, an enzyme-rich probiotic and miso, along with alkalizing lemon and sea salt. This is actually cream cheese your body will thank you for!
I first started experimenting with raw and vegan foods about a year ago when I cut out dairy. I never liked the way I’d feel after eating it, but I definitely missed the taste and creamy, comforting texture of my favorite dairy products. I’ve found that cashews are an amazing alternative. Soak your cashews, either overnight in cold water or for one hour in very hot water, rinse and blend very well — and they basically become alfredo sauce.
The rest of the ingredients help with the blending process and also add to that cheesy flavor. In fact, I use a variation of this recipe to make raw, vegan cheesecake!
Anyway, as far as the probiotic in the recipe goes, choose any vegan brand that you like. I recommend Bio-K or GoodBelly shots, which you can find in a health food store or Whole Foods. Same goes for the sweet miso. Choose an organic brand, or else you’ll likely be using GMO soy and won’t get all the fantastic nutrition out of this raw schmear.
Feel free to be as creative as a bagel store. Add herbs, garlic or cinnamon and raisins to it. This schmear could very well be the next star at Sunday brunch.
Raw Vegan Schmear
2 cups soaked cashews, drained and rinsed
3 teaspoons coconut oil
1 shot of Bio-k or GoodBelly probiotic
2 teaspoons sweet miso
Juice of ½ a lemon
Pinch sea salt
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Hadas Margulies is the new food intern at the Forward. Find her at HadasMargulies.com.