No party is complete without chips and dip, so make your next occasion one to remember when you add our Zesty Herb Cashew Cheese to the appetizer table. This vegan dip is certainly anything but ordinary! Filled with an unforgettable blend of spices, creamy textures, and nutritious ingredients, this dip is sure to be a hit wherever you choose to serve it. Our only suggestion? Be sure to make extras because it will disappear as quickly as it arrives!
While we love a good dip, they can be filled with un-necessary calories, as well as a high sodium and fat content, so we decided to give this recipe a makeover. Instead of using traditional cream cheese, we decided to boost the nutrition content by replacing it with cashews; this still provides a creamy texture, but without adding any unhealthy fats. In fact, cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, but contain primarily unsaturated fatty acids, 75% of which is oleic acid (the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil). Studies have shown that monounsaturated fats reduce high triglyceride levels which are associated with increased risk for heart disease (1). Researchers have also noted that replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fat has been associated with decreased total LDL and HDL cholesterol, which will increase overall heart health. So go ahead and enjoy cashews with this tasty, healthy dip–we promise you won’t regret it!
Zesty Herb Cashew Cheese
- 2¼ cups water, divided
- 2 cups cashews, raw
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- ½ teaspoon chives, chopped
- ½ teaspoon basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- Medium saucepan
- Food processor
- Small serving bowl
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add cashews and cook for 20 minutes until soft. Rinse them with cold water or soak them overnight (see note). Set aside when done.
- Add garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt to a food processor. Process until creamy.
- Add parsley, dill, cashews and herbs (chives, basil, marjoram, or thyme), if desired. Process until smooth, and transfer to a small serving bowl.
- Serve cold with whole wheat crackers or vegetables.
*Alternative method: place cashews in a container and add enough cold water to cover them. Place a lid on the container, and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
*Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 5 days in a covered container.
Serving size: 1 tablespoon Calories: 80 calories, Fat: 7 grams, Saturated fat: 1 gram, Carbohydrates: 4 grams, Sugar: 1 gram, Sodium: 2 milligrams, Fiber: 0.5 grams, Protein: 3 grams, Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
(1) Siri-Tarino P, Sun Q, Hu F, Krauss R. Saturated Fatty Acids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Modulation by Replacement Nutrients. Curr Atheroscler Rep
. 2010; 12(6): 384–390. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943062/