Zesty Orange Cashew Cheese

by Gena on March 5, 2011

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It’s no great secret that I love cashew cheese. From the basic variety to my “pizza cheese” to my cashew cheese with meyer lemon and dried cherries, to my new favorite—sweet potato cashew cheese—I find that cashew cheese is one of the tastiest and most versatile raw, vegan spreads around. So it’s no surprise that I woke up this morning with a cashew cheese craving. Only problem was, I didn’t know how to flavor it. I would have been happy with the plain variety, but c’mon: I write a food blog, and you guys have seen that one before. It was time to get creative.

I spent all morning thinking about how I might add some zest to the cashew cheese, and then, as I stared at a basked of navel oranges at the grocery store, it came to me: zest. Orange zest. That, and a nice squeeze of fresh orange juice, promised to deliver me a batch of sweet, salty, and surprising cashew cheese. And it made good on that promise.

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Zesty Orange Cashew Cheese (Raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free without miso)

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 1/4 cups raw cashews
1 tablespoon mellow white miso (totally optional, but if you leave it out, you’ll want to add a little more salt)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp freshly squeesed lemon juice
3/4 cup fresh (or bottled) orange juice
1 1/2 tbsp orange zest
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Empty cashews into a food processor along with miso, salt, and lemon juice.

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Grind the cashews till they’re well ground, about 30 seconds.

2) With the motor on, add orange juice in a thin stream. If the consistency starts to get thinner than you want, just stop adding liquid. Likewise, if the cheese remains too thick, add more than 3/4 cup juice.

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3) Add zest and pepper, and pulse to combine.

I love cashew cheese as a sandwich spread, a pasta topper, or in wraps. But I especially love it in a nice big scoop above a big green salad, which is exactly how I ate it today.

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D.C. Blogger Meetup?

By the way, this post comes to you from the comfort of M’s apartment here in D.C. Next week (Thursday the 10th-Thursday the 17th) I’ll be in town for my spring break. Any D.C. guys or gals interested in a blogger (and blog reader) meetup? A lunch would work best for me, if we can manage to find a place that’s easily accessed from everyone’s workplaces. Aside from that, I’m totally open about the spot (as long as we avoid Café Green; still too traumatized by the tiny portion sizes to return). Emily, Valerie, Sana, and Katie, I’m curious to hear what you think, obviously! Comment on this post or email me if you’re interested in joining.

Happy weekend, all—so glad it’s finally here.


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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 5, 2011 at 1:18 am

Cashew cheese sounds amazing! I bet the orange zest really makes it pop.


Emma March 5, 2011 at 2:03 am

How do you store this cashew cheese/how long does it keep? It looks fantastic, but I think I’m the only one in my lil college roommate family who would eat it!


Anonymous March 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I’m not sure about a raw version, but I made a cooked version of cashew cheese that lasted at least a week in the fridge (I ate it all!), and also froze well.


Hannah March 5, 2011 at 2:17 am

I just blogged about a cashew fig and molasses nut butter that I made, and which I whole-heartedly love, but now I want to make cashew cheese and I ain’t got no more cashews! What a shame that I’ll have to gobble up my cashew nut butter double quick so that I can justify making this ;)


Kirsten @ Cooking in Japan March 5, 2011 at 3:42 am

Is miso really considered raw? It’s made from cooked soy beans. I’ve always wondered why it is considered raw.


Gena March 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

Hi Kirsten,

No, miso’s not considered raw. So this is a almost totally raw recipe.



Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 5, 2011 at 6:18 am

The cheeze looks awesome, Gena! I love it b/c there’s no: garlic, onions, or much added salt. But I really love the sounds of it b/c of the ORANGE juice in it. YUM!

I make salad dressings all the time w/ O.J., oil such as EVOO or coconut, and various spices and seasonings depending on my mood but I love using OJ as the base. Never thought to pair it with cashews for cheeze. Creative and awesome and can’t wait to make it.

And I love the super smooth consistency that you got from it too.

I wish I was in D.C. to meet up with you. Can’t you just come out to CA instead?


Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living March 5, 2011 at 6:22 am

What a delicious and fresh way to liven up cashew cheese! I bet it would also be fantastic with a touch of maple syrup as a sweet orangey frosting-like dessert dip.


JL goes Vegan March 5, 2011 at 6:42 am

Love this recipe. Cashew cheese (or spreads, pates, etc) have become a new staple as I eat higher raw. Love a new citrus twist on it…thank you!

Jealous of the DC meet-up! We still need to meet up in NYC!


Maya March 5, 2011 at 7:13 am

I go to the University of Maryland, and I am SO interested in meeting you! I’ve met up with other bloggers who said you are a delight to meet, and I should have a wide open schedule next weekend! Looking forward to hearing the details.


Anna March 5, 2011 at 8:00 am

I’m a DC-er and would love a meet-up! Hmmm I can’t think of any good places off the top of my head (as I’m sure you know, DC has yet to catch up to NYC in terms of veggie dining) although sweetgreen might work. They have several convenient downtown locations and I know that if you call them in advance about a big party they can accommodate you.


Gena March 5, 2011 at 10:43 am

Nice, Anna! I’ll get a full sense of interest and then we’ll choose a spot.


Allie (Live Laugh Eat) March 5, 2011 at 10:53 am

I’m interested in meeting you (again)! Please keep me posted!


Christine (The Raw Project) March 5, 2011 at 10:55 am

This cheese sounds wonderful, I can’t wait to try it – the citrus flavor sounds perfect to get into a spring/warmer weather mood.


Katie March 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

This looks SO good. When you mentioned putting it on a green salad, would you use any other dressing? Maybe fresh-squeezed orange juice with balsamic or something? Or just go greens + cashew cheese and other veggies?

Thanks, Gena! Can’t wait to try this.


Gena March 7, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I used a simple vinaigrette, but your ideas are good, too!


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn March 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

I have never tried making my own cashew cheese! This is so simple, I will definitely be trying this soon. Especially pizza “cheese”!


Kelsey @ Unmitigated Grub March 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

Yum! This cashew cheese sounds so delicious! I love the addition of orange zest, very creative.


Sana March 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Lunch is perfect! How about Saturday? I can’t wait!


Andrea March 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Clearly, I’m in for a blogger/reader meet up! Excited to see you!


s March 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm

i’m interested in a blogger meet-up :) i’m a grad student so my hours are pretty flexible next week, though i’ll be away over the weekend. i will try to make it, though, if i’m here in dc.


Valerie @ City|Life|Eats March 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Yay DC blogger meet-up. I emailed you a couple of options. Sweetgreen is totally a favorite, and I sent you the review I put up today of Litestars which has vegan options.


bitt March 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Shoot I am going to DC on the 18th! I guess I’ll miss you all.

Just made some cashew cheese too. It’s the best.


Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama March 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I’m excited to try this. I absolutely love your cashew cheese with meyer lemon and bing cherries.


Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day March 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Yum! That sounds really good. I really love zest so much..


Julie J March 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Lunch in DC would be great! Just say when and where.


Emily Malone March 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Would love to have lunch again! My schedule is kind of weird next week – gone from Thursday – Sunday, but I can get together during the week if that works for you! If not, don’t plan the group around me. Hope to see you sooooooooon. xoxo


lauren @ spiced plate March 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Yum…this looks so good. I just bought an orange to make chutney, maybe it will have to share between chutney and cashew cheese!


BroccoliHut March 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Ooh! The texture of this cashew cheese looks delightfully similar to that of hummus. I must try it!


Christin@purplebirdblog March 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I make an awesome sweet potato dish with OJ in it, which has me wanting to combine your sweet potato cashew cheese with this new orange version!


sasha March 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm

That sounds so yummy. I will have to go buy some cashews. I used mine today in a truffle. I was debating sweet or savory as I held my bag of cashews. Love the orange zest.


Jamie March 6, 2011 at 8:59 am

It looks like there is Nutritional Yeast added in with the cashews in the pic. Did u maybe forget to add it into the recipe list of ingredients?


Gena March 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Hi Jamie! I actually had some cashews in an old nooch container, hence the powder. But hey, it would be a tasty addition :)


GirlonRaw March 6, 2011 at 9:10 am

I know it’s too late for your upcoming blogger meet up but this might be of interest to you for future as you tend to spend quite a bit of time in DC.

There will be a high end juice bar and fine raw foods cafe opening just outside of Washington D.C at the end of July/August. Contact Amy at 301-633-4196 or amywaldman@mac.com


Katie (quickcookrice) March 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

1. Just when I needed a new cashew cheese recipe, you delivered! Last night my friends and I threw a ‘lil celebration of vegan food for mostly non-vegans and your meyer lemon/dried cherries cashew cheese was a huge hit. It’s amazing how fascinated people are by cashews. They only think of them as salty nuts that come in a can and are usually served during football games.

2. D.C. lunch meetup: yes, please! As you are well aware, DC is seriously lacking in quality vegan dining options compared to NYC. I’ll email you later about this. Can’t wait!


Ada March 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Aww I was hoping you would be in NYC over spring break so that we could finally meet! I’m glad you’ll get to spend some nice quality time with M though. Maybe when you return we shall grab a bite sometime?

Good luck on midterms if you have any left!


Lisa @ Thrive Style March 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I love cashew cheese…and now I’m going crazy with your recipes since I finally bought miso! Love this one!


Mimi (Gingersnaps) March 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm

-sigh- I miss my Vita! Your cheese recipes are some of my absolute favorites. Even my mom loves them!

I actually ate some raw vegan cheese at a restaurant recently and was surprised that it was quite firm. Spreadable, but still sliceable. Is there some trick to crafting really firm cheeses?


Elizabeth March 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Looks good. I am going to try it with macs or perhaps hemp.
Peace and Raw Health,


Jane March 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

Hi Gena! I was wondering if you soaked the cashews first?


Gena March 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

You know, Jane, I used to soak nuts, but I rarely have time or energy, and I don’t find that soaking vs. not soaking makes a difference, so I rarely do!


Erin March 15, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Yummy! I am always looking for ways to make my cashew cheese more exciting. I love this idea. I just made a spicy cashew cheese today!



Katie March 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm

GENA: this is TREMENDOUS. :) :) thank you!!


janet April 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Gena, I made this. As a cashew cheese virgin. I fell in love. This is super delicious. I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing in one sitting. ;)

I wrote about it here: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/zesty-orange-cashew-spread/


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