Zesty Orange Cashew Cheese and Apple Wraps

by Gena on March 6, 2011

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Happy Sunday!

I was so pleased to see all the enthusiasm for my zesty orange cashew cheese—and for cashew cheese in general! It’s most certainly a favorite raw food of mine, but I have found that a bunch of clients and readers have expressed some curiosity about what precisely one does with the stuff. The answer is that you simply want to treat cashew cheese (or any other nut cheese/nut pate) as you would a dip or spread, like hummus. But in case you needed a little inspiration, I thought I’d present you with a list of my top ten uses for cashew cheese:

  1. Use as a dip for vegetable crudités (baby carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli, romaine leaves, etc.)
  2. Use in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches and wraps—a very healthy alternative!
  3. Layer between thinly sliced zucchini and tomatoes to create a quick raw “lasagna”
  4. Dot it over a dish of zucchini pasta with marinara sauce, for a deconstructed version of raw lasagnaimage
  5. Use it as the base of a raw wrap
  6. Mix it into a dish of regular, cooked pasta for a higher raw, all vegan option that will fool your guests, friends, and family!
  7. Make a raw, vegan spin on goat’s cheese salad
  8. Place a big, hearty scoop atop a salad, and mash it all inIMG_5126 (550x367)
  9. Spread it into the center of romaine leaves and sprinkle some shredded, raw veggies on top for quick and easy raw “tacos”
  10. Toss it with halved cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and black olives for a raw, vegan version of a Greek salad

Get the idea? Be creative! So often, I think that new chefs—and this includes me, because I still put myself in the category of a chef in training—tend to put new recipes on a pedestal, and treat them a little too delicately! We make then, and then they sit in our fridge because they only thing we can think to do with them is what we saw in the cookbook photo. Fortunately, my recipes are made to withstand, and even thrive off of your own creativity and instincts. As I’ve said many times before, I’d rather you think of my food as a template on which to build and expand, rather than a prescription. So the next time you make cashew cheese—or any other dip or spread or sauce—go ahead and find fun, easy ways to use it that will suit your lifestyle.

Me? I had the sudden idea—prompted by the sight of some delicious, organic Braeburn apples on M’s countertop—to make a zesty orange cashew cheese and sliced apple wrap. And let me tell you, it was terrific. I used Swiss chard leaves—courtesy of M’s now famous vegetable box—as my “wrap”:

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On the side was a leafy green salad with chickpeas. M prefers a more traditional sandwich, so I made him one with regular toast, apple, zesty orange cashew cheese, and butter lettuce. He declared it one of his favorites, ever, and said he could eat it every day. That’s what I call a recipe success.

What’s your favorite way to eat cashew cheese? And what’s the last unexpected sandwich you threw together, and loved?

See you all tomorrow! Happy start to the week…

xo

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 6, 2011 at 9:33 pm

My roommate thinks I’m crazy, but I took a piece of whole grain bread, dipped both sides of it in one scrambled egg, cooked it until crispy on the frying pan, then topped it with Plum and Rum Jam! soooo yummy :)

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 6, 2011 at 9:48 pm

“As I’ve said many times before, I’d rather you think of my food as a template on which to build and expand, rather than a prescription”–

Amen, Gena!

I say the same thing about my recipes. NOTHING I make is so precise, delicate, inflexible or incapable of withstanding some pretty major tweaks and changes. The great thing about raw-ish cooking/baking, is that you really can’t mess it up. And if you do, just add more cashews. Or dates. Or cocoa powder :)

And with entrees, sauces, or cooked food…I NEVER make things the same twice. It’s always dependent on what i have, what’s open, what needs to be used up…that’s what goes in.

I love the apple wraps.

The last unexpected “sandwich” I made was using cucumber slices as my “bread” and making a PB & J sammie out of that. I never buy bread, so this is how Skylar and I eat PB & Js together.

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Elle March 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm

PB&J on cucumber slices sounds so good! I’m putting cucumbers on my shopping list now.

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Mindy March 6, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Can’t wait to try this one. Just an FYI, I made the lemony hemp bars tonight. They are delicious. Lara Bars can’t hold a candle. It’s really kind of crazy to buy bars like that. They are so easy to make, and they taste so much fresher (naturally) and more flavorful.

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Karen March 7, 2011 at 10:32 am

I made the raw lemon-kissed bars also, substituting almonds and adding a sprinkle of granulated ginger. They were delicious and as simple as can be! Thank you, Gena, for energy bar inspiration!

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Hannah March 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I’d never, ever heard of apple going in a sandwich until I went to America! At first I thought it was crazy, but I trust your judgement rather a lot Ms Gena, so I think I see some cheezy fruity wrappin’ in my future ;)

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Micaela March 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm

It’s probably not that weird, but lately I’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches with uncooked plain tofu, hummus, raw carrots, and spinach. I think carrots on a sandwich is a little odd but I like it.

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats March 6, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I discovered cashew cheese through you and Tal Ronnen mainly – and I have to say, I agree with all the uses you mention, but sometimes I can just eat it straight with a spoon – that applies to any variety, but I particularly love your pizza cheese for that approach :)

Last unexpected sandwich – probably what I had today: swiss chard wraps with red pepper, black bean hummus, tomato paste and one of your conservation burgers. It was awesome!

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bitt March 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm

You forgot: Stick your finger in and lick it. :-) That’s my fave.

Never combined apple and cashew cheese…I will try that for sure.

I just did the lasagna one and posted on my blog. With my fave cashew cheese.

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 6, 2011 at 11:49 pm

LOL! That’s my favorite way too. I eat a fork-full before almost every workout.

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Love March 6, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Great post! I love Cashew spreads too! But can never find good quality Cashews in the store.. I think the best are the REALLY RAW Cashews! Where do you get your Cashews? Thanks Gena

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Gena March 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

I get them in the whole foods bulk bin.

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Christine (The Raw Project) March 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

I have similar chard in my fridge from my farm box, what a great use for it! I adore cashew cheese as a spread or dip. MY latest unexpected sandwich was a Sunshine burger wrapped with Veganaise, mustard and sprouts in a collard wrap.

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Christin@purplebirdblog March 7, 2011 at 12:17 am

I really do thank you so much for the collard/chard wrap inspiration… I have been wrapping up EVERYTHING!! I can’t get enough. :)

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Casey March 7, 2011 at 1:51 am

I adore nut or seed pates also layered between grilled or baked zucchini too. Yum! That’s what I did with the Sunflower and Zucchini Dip with a Kick recipe I posted n my blog last week! So decadent tasting!

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JL goes Vegan March 7, 2011 at 5:58 am

Great ideas! Recently I’ve realized how grateful I am that I do not have nut allergies. Since eating higher raw, I’m cuckoo for nuts and seeds!

Last week I used an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla and rolled up leftover, braised asparagus spears (cold), avocado slices and a cashew-tomato dressing. Mmm Mmm, a new favorite wrap!

I love the idea of adding apple to a cheese / green leaf wrap!

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Lisa @ Thrive Style March 7, 2011 at 7:11 am

That sounds like a fabulous combination!

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Erin March 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

I’m curious about M’s famous veggie box – is it a CSA? I’m in the DC area too, and always looking for good sources of veggies!

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Gena March 7, 2011 at 10:59 am

Hey Erin!

It’s actually not a CSA, and it’s not 100% local, but it’s a wonderful, organic box of mostly local/regional veggies that arrives weekly. The outfit is called Washington’s Green Grocer, and you can explore them here: http://www.washingtonsgreengrocer.com/.

I love getting the weekly box–it’s like a vegan iron chef challenge for me to figure out what I’ll cook. And while we do supplement with our own grocery shopping, we also get fresh produce at a good price. If you’re curious, Katie uses them, too, and you could also ask her about it.

Gena

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Erin March 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Thanks! I checked them out, and I think I’ll give it a try. I’m using Fruit Guys now (I also really like that Iron Chef aspect, and that it short-circuits my tendency to always just buy my favorites at the grocery store and gets me to try new things), but this looks like a better value.

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Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day March 7, 2011 at 11:43 am

I made a Blue Cheese out of cashews and made a panini out of it.. with cranberry chutney, spinach and dijon.. it was so so good.

I love cashew basil garlic cheese as a raw pizza topping.. on onion bread. So good!

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melissa March 7, 2011 at 11:48 am

Looks amazing! I am still dreaming of your mexican rice! Do you know of a good substitute for soy/braggs with less sodium?

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Hoshigaki March 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for the nut pate/dip ideas. For some reason the title “cashew cheese” really grosses me out. I’d like the think of it as cashew butter or dip or spread or something. I don’t know why those would be better alternatives. I guess I’m desensitized to “butter” as it’s omni-applicable whereas “cheese” is such a lacto-specific term. Meh.

Yesterday I made a delish scallion-sunflower seed pate/dip. I soaked raw sunflower seeds (from the bulk bin at Whole Foods) and then food-processed them with a bit of warm H20, 3 chopped scallions and sea salt and stuck it in a jar and then to fridge. The consistency straddles the line between dip and dressing but I usually douse my salads in Santa Cruz lemon juice so it gets thinner when I mix it in. It made a great breakfast-salad topper this morning. Like you, I’m not so tolerant of onion so a little scallion is about as much as I’ll like. Worth a try!

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Kelsey March 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Great ideas!! As someone who has not yet attempted cashew cheese, I’m now very excited to try! Love the addition of apple to the wrap.

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Ashley March 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm

The idea of zesty orange cashew cheese sounds amazing!!! I am a huge cashew cheese lover, but have only made savory versions. I bet you could make an awesome basil lemon cashew cheese too! mmm Possibilities are endless, just like you say!

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Ela March 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I love what you say about putting a new recipe on a pedestal–that captures that tendency perfectly! And I love how clearly you spell out the need to mix and match and change up contexts.

I’m not a sandwich eater, but I’ll wrap anything in lettuce leaves…Nothing recent and good comes to mind, but when I lived in HI I went through a phase of making extra-spicy guacamole and wrapping it up in lettuce with banana slices! I thought it was delectable…

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Kim at I March 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Whenever I’ve got more cashew cheese than I think I can finish I spread it flat on dehydrator trays and make it into crackers, or mix it with some ground flax and pat it into tart pans to dehydrate for tarts!

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn March 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Omgggg now I HAVE to try it! I love anything cheesy tasting with apples. So darn good.

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janet May 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm

You were right, Gena. This is truly a great way to enjoy the sinfully delicious cashew spread. :) I never would have thought to wrap an apple in there, but the slight bitter sweetness of the chard works so well with the crunch of the apple and zingy sweetness from the spread. Yum!

I wrote about my success here: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/zesty-cashew-orange-spread-and-apple-swiss-chard-wrap

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India March 1, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Hi I like to add dill weed, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and garlic powder.
It is awesome.

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