If you’re a vegan who doesn’t love tofu, you’re out of luck with most cookbooks. Tofu and the wide range of protein-packed items like seitan and tempeh are the backbone of many vegetarian and vegan recipes, but Fettle Vegan blogger Amber St. Peter wanted her newest cookbook, “Homestyle Vegan: Easy, Everyday Plant-Based Recipes” (Page Street Publishing, $21.99), to focus on vegan food made with whole ingredients, especially vegetables, grains and beans.
By skipping the packaged protein products, St. Peter’s dishes are simple, basic meals that appeal to home cooks on a budget or who simply don’t enjoy tofu, tempeh or seitan or don’t have access to them at their grocery store.
This cashew cheese is a great example of St. Peter’s philosophy. Many supermarkets carry vegan cheeses, which can be expensive and equally as processed as the shelf-stable cheese on another aisle. Her version is made with cashews, lemon juice and garlic and is infinitely customizable. You could serve with crackers at a Super Bowl party or make a batch of it on a Sunday to put on sandwiches during the week.
Easy Cashew Cheese
There used to be very few vegan cheeses on the market, and the ones that did exist were pretty crummy. There are some really great options these days, but they tend to be expensive and aren’t always easy to find at regular grocery stores. When you want a cheaper, easier option or need to whip up some cheese quickly, try this recipe! It tastes great and is a delicious, homemade alternative to pricey store-bought faux cheese. Adjust the ingredients as needed to create a flavor you prefer. Try adding other flavors like smoked paprika, truffle salt, hot peppers or fresh herbs to mix it up!
— Amber St. Peter
1 cup raw cashews
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 to 4 Tbsp. water
Pour the raw cashews into a small bowl and add enough hot water to just cover the nuts. Soak for 30 minutes or more.
Drain the water and place the soaked cashews into a food processor or high-speed blender. Add the lemon juice, garlic clove, salt and pepper and begin to process them together. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Serve with fresh chives and crusty bread for an easy appetizer. Makes about one cup.
— From “Homestyle Vegan: Easy, Everyday Plant-Based Recipes” by Amber St. Peter (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)