This post is sponsored by Little Northern Bakehouse, who kindly sent me free samples of their gluten-free bread. As always, all opinions are my own.
Whether you're a vegan- eater or a cheese-lover, this faux almond cheese spread is so delicious, you'll want to eat it with a spoon - but try it on some toast!
Guys, I did something I never thought I would do. I made vegan cheese.
I've heard about cashew or almond nut cheeses, and I've even seen them in stores. But, since I personally don't follow a vegan diet, and dairy doesn't bother me, I always passed them by. I mean, why would I have nut cheese when I could eat regular old cheese?
Newsflash. That was kind of a mistake. Everyone needs some nut cheese in their life, whether you eat dairy or not. Because almond cheese is creamy, spreadable, loaded with healthy fats, and oh, so, GOOD!
Here's how it happened: I was invited to try Little Northern Bakehouse gluten-free
And, oh yes, I was right.
Unlike regular cheese, vegan cheese is a more heart-healthy option. It's packed with healthy unsaturated fats from nuts and olive oil, so it's a great choice for everyone, whether you're a vegan or an omnivore. This one is also flavored with harissa - a savory, spicy, Tunisian, hot pepper spice that's absolutely delicious in this recipe. I love the one from Trader Joe's. Harissa is one of those "must-have" seasonings, kind of like Sriracha, that should be in every refrigerator.
My afternoon snack often includes some cheese, nuts, vegetables and crackers, but I love this toast option instead of crackers because it's even more satisfying.
And here's what I like about Little Northern Bakehouse gluten-free breads:
- Their products are sourced from gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and whole-food ingredients, including seeds and grains for a boost in nutrition.
- They're found in the freezer section, which means they're not full of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
- Unlike most packaged bread on the market, Little Northern Bakehouse bread is certified as Glyphosate Residue Free. They even display the Bio-Checked Non Glyphosate Certified seal. That means they use third-party testing to confirm the absence of this chemical which The World Health Organization classiﬁes as a “probable carcinogen,” or cancer-causing substance.
With only 5 ingredients (plus some salt and water), this vegan almond cheese is super-easy to make. If you're not feeling like spicy harissa, you can skip that, or add other herbs for a faux Boursin cheese. Add it to a slice of toast and top it with some veggies (I love crisp cucumbers and sun-dried tomatoes) and you've got a snack that doubles as a light meal. And every, single ingredient is good-for-you.
Vegan Harissa Almond "Cheese" Spread
- 1 ½ cups whole almonds
- 1 ½ cup cold water divided
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 teaspoons Harissa paste or to taste
- Place the almonds in a bowl and cover them with approximately ¾ cup of water. Cover the bowl and let it soak overnight or for about 12 hours. Drain and rinse the nuts prior to using. *NOTE this first step is optional but the nuts will be softer and much easier to blend into a creamy texture.
- Place the drained nuts into a high-speed blender, and add an additional ½ cup of cold water, the lemon juice, olive oil and garlic powder. Blend until smooth.
- Add the salt and harissa paste to taste. If the mixture is too thick, or grainy, add additional water. Blend again to combine everything.
- This can be used immediately but tastes even better the next day when the flavors have a chance to blend. Store it in a covered bowl for up to a week, and if any water seeps out at the bottom, just drain it off.
Have you ever tasted nut cheese before? If you try this recipe, tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy and let me know!