—Photo by Harini Prakash.
As a habit I do not purchase breads. On the day I made this vegan cream cheese, in response to my own feeling that bread is tastier with any spread other than jam, I had to buy some whole wheat sandwich bread. The bread was secondary, as it was just needed to showcase the vegan cream cheese, which was the undisputed hero of the day.
I won’t go on to say that vegan cream cheese tastes exactly like cream cheese, because it does not. It tastes better, and is healthier, in comparison. It serves as a dip with vegetable sticks (raw cucumber and carrots), and makes a good base for a vegan wrap. It is versatile and allows adaptation as per taste. You can leave out the parsley, substitute coriander, mint, add a touch of onions or carrots – your call.
Dish: Vegan cream cheese with cashews and parsley
Yield: 1.5 - 2 cups
Raw cashews, soaked for about 2-3 hrs or overnight – 1 cup
Curled parsley, trimmed – ½ cup + 1 tbsp. chopped fine
Peeled, garlic cloves - 5
Sea salt/Black salt or kala namak – to taste
Olive oil – 2-3 tbsps.
Chilli flakes – as per taste
Nutritional yeast flakes (optional) – ½ cup
Lime juice/apple cider vinegar – 1 tsp.
Brown sugar (if using apple cider vinegar, avoid this) – 1 generous pinch
Drain cashews and blitz in a mixer to chunky pieces.
Add the rest of the ingredients except oil. Blitz more till the ingredients are well blended.
Adjust salt, and chilli as per taste. If needed add a tbsp. of water to get a soft dip.
Remove and add olive oil and chopped parsley. Stir well.
Pour a teaspoon of olive oil in a clean, air tight bottle and swirl to let it coat the base and sides.
Pour the dip. Top with another tsp. of olive oil. Keeps well for a month in the refrigerator.
Use this as a sandwich spread in place of cream cheese or butter. Add cucumbers, onions and tomatoes, top with another bread slice coated with the vegan cream cheese.
Use as a base in for a whole wheat tortilla wrap/paratha: Spread the cream cheese dip generously over tortilla. Arrange a layer of tender, roasted vegetables such as carrots, red and yellow bell peppers. Top with more cream cheese spread and freshly chopped parsley/mint/coriander. Roll and serve.
Use as a dip with fresh, cut salad vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots.
Harini aka sunshinemom is a vegan food writer, food photographer and food stylist. To see her work, visit her blog or Flickr album.
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