Basil pesto meets sour and savory cultured cashew cream. Pesto cream cheese toasts anyone?
No lemon juice or vinegar here, cashew cream cheese is traditionally cultured, and that makes a lot of difference. I used mesophilic culture, but it works well with vegan probiotics, or even rejuvelac. Each one results in a slightly different taste.
This recipe is a lot easier to make than my other cheese recipes. Only 3 ingredients are needed for the cream cheese: cashews, water and cultures. Plus a pinch of salt for flavor. The process consists of soaking the cashews overnight, draining them and blending with water and cultures. Then you transfer the cashew cream to a bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 24-48h, depending on the temperature. That’s it!
Swirl some homemade pesto into your creamy cashew cheese and you are ready to go. If basil is not your thing, swap it for dill, parsley or even mint!
The great thing about this pesto swirl cream cheese is that you get the full pesto flavor combined with the sour cream cheese with each bite!
Use it a a dip with roasted vegetables or spread on toasts or bagels. Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Vegan Pesto Swirl Cream Cheese
Fresh basil pesto swirled into cultured cashew cream cheese.
- Yield: About 2 cups 1x
Cultured cashew cream
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/3 cup water (or more if needed)
- 1/16 tsp mesophilic culture, or 3 capsules vegan probiotics
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups packed fresh basil
- 1/4 cup raw cashews (or pine nuts)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cultured cashew cream
- Drain the soaked cashews and rinse under cold water.
- Place the cashews and water in the bowl of a blender. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, scraping down the sides from time to time, it took me about 5 minutes. Stir in the mesophilic culture or vegan probiotics and blend for another 10 seconds. If the cashew cream is too thick, add more water until you get the desired consistency.
- Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with a clean towel, or plastic film. Let sit at room temperature, away from direct sunlight for at least 24H. After 24 hours, taste it to see if it has a slightly sour flavor, if it still tastes like cashews, cover and let sit for another day. Once cultured, stir in the salt and mix well. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
- Transfer the cultured cashew cream to a serving plate or large bowl and swirl 1-2 tablespoons of basil pesto. Don’t add too much pesto or it will cover the taste of the fresh cream cheese, you want a nice balance between the two. Use as a dip, spread on toasts or bagels, serve with roasted vegetables, etc.
- The cashew cream will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.
- Gently wash the fresh basil. Combine basil, raw cashews or pine nuts, nutritional yeast and garlic in food processor, pulse until the nuts are roughly chopped. Stir in the olive oil and process again until smooth. I like to keep some nut pieces for more texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a clean jar, it will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
This recipe makes more pesto than needed, use the leftovers in salads, sandwiches, vinaigrette, or with avocado, tomatoes, etc.
If you want a stretchier texture, add 1 tsp of xanthan gum when blending the cashews.
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Calories: 53
- Sugar: 0.5g
- Fat: 4.4g
- Carbohydrates: 2.9g
- Fiber: 0.3g
- Protein: 1.4g