Raw Walnut “Cheddar”

Extra sharp cheddar is my very favorite cheese.  I’ve always been skeptical of vegan nut cheeses, but we’re still in the early days of my vegan challenge, and my Cabot Seriously Sharp cheese is far, far away (not just because you can’t get it in Northern California yet). 

I’ll admit when I saw Gena’s post for Raw Vegan Walnut Cheddar Cheese, I was still skeptical.  I’ve always thought nut cheeses looked interesting, but I viewed them more as a substitute for hummus, certainly not a substitute for cheese.  Still, every other recipe I’ve ever made from Gena’s website has been stellar, and I loved the simplicity of this recipe; just dump everything in the food processor and go.  I also had to laugh because I had every one of the ingredients already in my kitchen.  Not too many years ago, I hadn’t even heard of nutritional yeast, and the only miso I was familiar with was in the form of miso soup.  Now, I just happen to have both on hand when an awesome recipe that requires them comes through my Google Reader.

I popped all the ingredients in my food processor and turned it on, terrifying my cat in the process.  It came together quickly, with the addition of just 1/2 cup of water for me.  I licked the spatula I was using to scrape down the sides and was totally amazed.  I promptly scraped down the sides of my food processor again vigorously so I could have another lick of the spatula.  It was tasty and tangy, and as someone who has eaten a lot of cheddar, I totally got the comparison.  This isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking that it’s actually cheddar, but it was incredibly, magically, almost confusingly reminiscent of cheddar.  I made the walnut cheddar 2 hours ago, and in just that short time I’ve eaten it off the spatula, off a spoon, off my finger, on a piece of pita, and with some apple slices. 

I’ve tried a whole variety of new foods and recipes over the past few years, on my accidental vegetarian journey.  Just like I was certain that there was positively no way kale chips could be good, I think I was a little afraid of the whole genre of nut cheeses.  This has only proven to me, yet again, how silly fear of any food is.  I’ve found so many new foods that I love over the past few years, and kale is just one example of something I would never have sought out on my own in the past.  I’m so grateful to the blogging community; I have found almost all of my new favorite foods and recipes through blogs.  If you think that nut cheeses sound like a really strange idea, I have to strongly encourage you that you go check out Gena’s recipe and try her walnut cheddar for yourself.

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