This recipe was originally written as a feature for Dawn.
You may want to call it herbed cheese but it works as a dip, a spread and all things that go on to make a toast or sandwich taste delicious. I am not going to make it sound like a compromise for those who miss ‘cheese’, because that would mean depriving a delicious dish of its true character. It serves as a dip with vegetable sticks (raw cucumber and carrots), and makes a good base for a vegan wrap. It is versatile and allows adaptation as per taste. You can substitute parsley with coriander or mint and add a touch of onions or carrots – your call.
Relish. Make your own versions. Enjoy. It has everything your body needs. If you suffer from the notion that cashews are high cholesterol, you need to read this. Cholesterol build up is possible only through direct/indirect intake of animal products. No plant product unless pumped with dubious animal derivatives can give you cholesterol.
Recipe: Cashew parsley dip | Vegan herbed cream cheese | A sandwich or wrap spread
Yield: 1.5 – 2 cups
Raw cashews, soaked for about 2-3 hrs or overnight – 1 cup
Curled parsley, trimmed – ½ cup + 1 tbsp.
Garlic cloves – 5, chopped fine
Black salt or kala namak preferred over sea salt – to taste
Olive oil – 2-3 tbsps.
Chilli flakes – as per taste
Nutritional yeast flakes (optional but recommended) – ½ cup
Lime juice/apple cider vinegar – 1 tsp.
Brown sugar or jaggery (if using apple cider vinegar, avoid this as the vinegar sweetens) – 1 generous pinch
Drain cashews and blitz in a mixer to chunky pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients except oil. Blitz more till the ingredients are well blended. Adjust salt, and chilli as per taste. If needed add a tbsp. of water to get a soft dip. Remove and add olive oil and chopped parsley. Stir well.
Pour a teaspoon of olive oil in a clean, air tight bottle and swirl to let it coat the base and sides. Pour the dip. Top with another tsp. of olive oil. Keeps well for a month in the refrigerator.
Use this as a sandwich spread in place of cream cheese or butter. Add cucumbers, onions and tomatoes, top with another bread slice coated with the vegan cream cheese.
Use as a base in for a whole wheat tortilla wrap/paratha: Spread the cream cheese dip generously over tortilla. Arrange a layer of tender, roasted vegetables such as carrots, red and yellow bell peppers. Top with more cream cheese spread and freshly chopped parsley/mint/coriander. Roll and serve.
Use as a dip with fresh, cut salad vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots.
The bread was secondary, as it was just needed to showcase the vegan cream cheese, which was the undisputed hero of the day.