It’s Friday!! Which means it’s time to kick off those work shoes, put that bottle of rosé on ice (or two), invite some friends over, and whip up a batch of this vegan and paleo pimiento cashew cheese dip for dipping ALL THE THINGS! 😍
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m in the camp of “delicious dips are life”.
In case you want to know the exact order of where my love for delicious dips falls, it goes something like this:
- My family and friends
- My cat
- Delicious dips
Yep. That list looks about right 😉
I’m not sure where the idea to make a pimiento cashew cheese dip came from (cuz really?! Pimiento cheese?! It’s been a loooong time since I’ve thought about that). But I think it started with a container of glistening spicy cherry peppers calling out to me at our natural foods store. Sometimes one single ingredient can be such an inspiration!
And as all the sunshine starts to inch closer and more friend and family gatherings fill our calendars, why not dream up some nutrient dense snacks that we can feel good about sharing with the one’s we love the most?
Of course I wanted to create something that was reminiscent of old school pimiento cheese, but without all of the icky ingredients that can creep into it. Because nobody needs icky ingredient’s in their life.
What type of swaps did I make?
- Mayonnaise with inflammatory vegetable oils? No thanks! Gonna go ahead an replace that with healthy fats from cashews!
- Velveeta or american cheese loaded with binding agents and preservatives? Ew! Nope. How about some yummy whole food flavor enhancers to pair with those healthy fats for a winning flavor combination?
Although this recipe isn’t going to taste exactly like the classic stuff, you’ll feel better knowing that what you’re eating and sharing won’t be loaded with inflammatory ingredients. Instead it’s full of simple nutrient dense goodies that will totally satisfy your cravings!
Not to mention all the healthy fresh veggies and grain free tortilla chips you can serve with it! Is anyone else obsessed with these chips 👆🏼 by Siete Foods? They’re finally on the shelves of our Whole Foods and I couldn’t be more stoked!
But you might be wondering…
what does cashew cheese taste like?
The beautiful thing about cashew cheese is that you can make it taste like WHATEVER you want! Cashews (especially when raw) have a very mild, impressionable flavor. Which makes them the perfect vehicle for whatever scrumptious flavor combination you have in mind. And when soaked, they can be blended into a dreamy state that will rival any creamy dip or sauce.
The main ingredients that I always start with to give cashew dip it’s “cheesy” flavor are:
- lemon juice
- a little garlic powder
- nutritional yeast
But beyond that you can improvise and add just about any spice or flavor that sounds good! Dill, black pepper, cilantro, or chives would all be amazing add-ins!
so how do you make cashew cheese?
It’s so crazy easy!!
The hardest part – and I wouldn’t even necessarily call it hard – better described as the most time consuming part – is waiting for your cashews to soak! That really is the key to getting the smoothest cashew cheese.
Once you soak your cashews for at least 40 minutes (but up to several hours, or even overnight! You can literally start soaking your cashews as far in advance as you want – and the longer you soak them, the creamier a result you’ll get), you add them to a food processor or high speed blender along with the other ingredients – lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, nutritional yeast, and in this specific recipe – pickled pimiento (cherry) peppers, white wine vinegar, hot sauce and olive oil, and process until smooth and creamy.
That’s it! So easy, right?
but wait. Which is better – food processor or high speed blender?
Either will work!
There’s advantages and disadvantages to both.
I really wanted this cheese dip to be on the thicker end of the spectrum – and less of a sauce, so I chose to use the food processor.
A food processor will yield a thicker result because you’ll need less liquid to keep the motor running. However since the food processor is not quite as good at getting that perfectly smooth texture, this does mean that you’ll need to let the motor run for quite a while, several minutes total. Stopping every once and a while to scrape down the sides.
If you choose to use your blender, you have the advantage of getting that super silky smooth texture more efficiently, however you might need to add a little water or more olive oil to get the motor running in the first place, which may mean that you will end up with a less thick dip.
But really neither way is right or wrong, and you can totally choose whichever option works better for you!
So let’s get dipping!
Want more delicious cashew recipes? Check out these favorites!
- how to make cashew cream
- caramelized onion smothered pork chops with herb whipped parsnips and kale
- easy cinnamon cashew milk
did you make this recipe? I would love to know how it turned out for you! when you rate my recipes and leave feedback it helps me continue to improve. you can leave me a comment below, or snap a picture and post it to instagram and tag me for a chance to be featured in my insta stories! @nyssaskitchen and use the hashtag #nyssaskitchen! xoPrint
Paleo pimiento cashew cheese dip is the perfect whole food + dairy free swap for a southern classic!
- 1 cup raw cashews
- boiling water
- 1 1/2 cups marinated cherry peppers (pimiento peppers – can usually be found at your grocery stores anti pasta bar)
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional, or to taste)
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- vegetables, chips or crackers for serving
- In a heat proof bowl, cover cashews with boiling water and let sit for at least 40 minutes, but up to several hours or overnight.
- Drain cashews and add to the food processor along with marinated cherry peppers, 2 tbsp hot water, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, olive oil, salt and hot sauce.
- Process for several minutes, stopping every so often to scrape down the sides until very smooth.
- Taste, adjust salt/vinegar if desired and serve with all the things to dip!
- Can also be made using a high speed blender. This option may require a little more boiling water/olive oil to get the motor running smoothly.
- Will last about 5-6 days in the refrigerator.