Cream cheese is a great ingredient. So tasty, smooth and luscious and great on bagels, biscuits, pizza and in creamy sauces to go with pasta or stews or a great dish like aubergine cannelloni. Making an unctuous vegan cream cheese spread at home is very easy too, also you can add amazing subtle flavours that can elevate a simple spread to the next level. With this vegan cream cheese recipe, we have added the healthy oily texture of delicate pine nuts/pine kernels. An ingredient well known for adding a subtle nutty flavour to pesto, and rich roasted garlic that has much more of a sweet rounded flavour than the spicy strong taste of fresh garlic.
The best vegan cream cheese recipe
The base of the cheese is soaked cashew nuts which are then blended to a smooth fine paste with nut milk. For this vegan cream cheese recipe we have used cashew milk as we wanted to continue the creaminess that the nut adds to compliment the roasted garlic and pine nuts. You don’t need to soak the cashews for a long time. Pouring boiled water over the nuts you can get away with 20 minutes soaking time. However, if you have the time the best result comes from soaking the nuts overnight. Fully drain the cashews before blending.
Other than the flavour of sweet roasted garlic which can either be done by yourself, it is easily found in the supermarket these days for ease and pine nuts, the other flavours that create a cheese and umami flavour are nutritional yeast and white miso which is made from fermented soybeans.
Simply combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and process to a fine smooth consistency.
This is a great cream cheese recipe to get to know and make over and over again rather than buying shop-bought plant-based cream cheeses which can be (in our opinion) a bit plasticky. Knowing how simple this is to create you can experiment with the additional flavours. Try the classic addition of chives or our amazing slow-roasted tomatoes and Mediterranean herbs for a beautiful spread for the taste of summer. Mint and cucumber make a lovely tzatziki flavour and a yeast extract makes a great spread for a breakfast toast.
The reason that we are offering our own vegan cream cheese recipe is that it has been suggested via research that there is a correlation between animal proteins and the growth of certain cancers. This is why we look to minimise as much dairy products as possible for recipes in our kitchen. However, the result for this plant-based cream cheese is wonderfully smooth, spreadable and flavoursome and of course, nutritious and healthy.
Let’s talk more about the health benefits of our vegan cream cheese main ingredients.
Health benefits of cashews and pine nuts
Different nuts and seeds offer different nutrients great for the body, including all the essential vitamins, minerals and elements we need. These include pine nuts, small yet sweet seeds harvested from a pine tree’s kernel, also known as pinyon pine nuts or pignoli. Another is the kidney-shaped, crunchy healthy delicacy known as cashew nuts with a huge effect on our overall health. Widely used in many vegan creamy and cheesy sauces and snacks, pine nuts and cashew nuts contain huge health benefits.
A nutrient-packed plant, cashew offers many nutrients from magnesium, proteins, phosphorus, iron, fiber, selenium, carbs, manganese, zinc, Vitamin B6 and K, Thiamine to copper and lots of unsaturated fats. Cashew nuts health benefits include:
Lessening cardiovascular disease risk – Cashews contain polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, palmitoleic and oleic acids indicated as some of the best essential fatty acids with the ability to lower heart attacks, heart diseases and strokes.
Helps in weight reduction – Cashews, like most nuts, have been found to be highly beneficial in weight management through energy expenditure in thermogenesis and feeling full in the stomach.
Enhanced immunity – Some of the nutrients in cashews, especially zinc and copper are highly critical in ensuring the immune system works fine. Zinc is vital in cell development throughout the immune framework, including influencing regulators of the immune system as well as in antioxidant enzymes’ release.
Protections against oxidative damage – Cashews are laden with a lot of antioxidants, which are critical in ensuring free radicals are neutralised. If left unchecked, free radicals lead to oxidative damage affecting cells, which could cause cancer. Together with iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium in cashews, antioxidants also boost skin health.
Reduces gallstone risk – The low cholesterol levels in cashews help lower the risks of painful bouts of gallstones. A consistent intake of cashew nuts is effective in reducing gallstones risk.
Eye protection – Cashews contain Zea Xanthin, an antioxidant pigment important in the maintenance of eye health. Once in the retina, the pigment ensures UV rays don’t affect the eye by creating a layer of protection around the retina.
Diabetes type 2 management– Adding cashews in our diet has been found to help in diabetes type 2 prevention due to high levels of fibre while ensuring insulin levels remain low.
Pine nuts aren’t really nuts but seeds usually found in pine cones. They’ve been consumed for millennia if the biblical account in Hosea 14:8 is anything to go by, which offers an analogy referring to a “fruit” found within a tree.
A source of really healthy fats, pine nuts come with lots of nutrients and health benefits in addition to protein, sodium, fiber, carbs and sugars. Health benefits include:
Heart health – Consistent intake of pine nuts has been found to impact heart health, particularly due to high levels of vitamin E, magnesium and monounsaturated fats. Pine nuts are also effective in blood pressure management, attaining a proper body mass index and ideal waist circumference.
Reduces Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s risk – Pine nuts can be effective in reducing cognitive decline that results in conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia courtesy of old-age and Parkinson’s disease. Intake by senior citizens improves brain function while lowering signs of depression.
Glycemic management-Contains magnesium that has been found to enhance the intake of glucose aiding in the control of blood sugar. Sugar in blood is also stabilised and maintained by fibre, healthy monounsaturated fats and protein in pine nuts.
Lessening colon cancer risks–In a study, pine nuts were found to be effective in lowering colon cancer in both genders through enhanced antioxidants and fibre levels.
Weight loss-With a low-calorie level and fibre content pine nuts are known for supporting manageable waist circumference, reduced body mass index and weight loss; intake hasn’t been found to increase body weight in humans. Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps in the management of appetite and lowering weight.
Gluten-free uses-Like many tree nuts, pine nuts are known for being gluten-free and highly needed in gluten-free diets and formulas. For all manner of health reasons such as celiac ailments and allergies caused by wheat products, gluten-free alternatives such as pine nuts are highly advised.
In summary, easting cashews and pine nuts is definitely recommended due to their amazing high-nutrient properties. They can be consumed in many ways, everything from a crunchy snack in cookies, granolas, chocolates, energy bars and biscuits, to pestos, creamy sauces and of course our best ever vegan cream cheese recipe.
Have you made this vegan cream cheese recipe?
- 1 cup of unsalted cashews
- ¾ cup of cashew milk
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon of white miso
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
- 1-2 roasted garlic clove or 1 teaspoon of roasted garlic puree
Start with preheating your oven to 200°C/400°F) to roast some garlic on a baking tray for 30-35 minutes. There is no need to peel the garlic cloves, just crush them gently with the side of a knife. The peel will peel off easily after roasting.
In a bowl, cover the cashew nuts in boiled water and soak for at least 20 minutes or overnight.
Completely drain before blending.
Add all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until completely smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape the sides of the blender to completely blend the mix.
Empty into a sealable jar or baking paper lined dish and put in the fridge to chill and set, approximately 20 minutes.