By: Angela Joy

One of my favorite things to make in the kitchen is my special dairy-free cheese sauce.

Cashew Ricotta Cheese (1)

Photo taken from thesimpleveganist.blogspot.com

Over a year ago I decided to eliminate dairy products from my diet in an effort to promote a healthier digestion system and reduce internal mucus build up (see link to detailed articles on dairy: http://bit.ly/1n4x3eV or http://bit.ly/1OiHD1z or http://bit.ly/18BUf3B)

Baked ziti and lasagna had been fairly common meals in my home; therefore I wondered if there was a way to create a similar dish with healthier ingredients.

I, thankfully, stumbled upon a recipe to make a nut-based “cheese” sauce.

The sauce is made from nuts and adds a unique and delicious flavor to any meal!

Cashew

Photo taken from originaleating.com 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw nuts (soaked) – you can choose one specific nut such as cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts; or you can mix an assortment of nuts. I have had my best results with cashews – yum!
  • 1 teaspoon of oil – olive oil works best in my experience
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of hot water
  • A touch of salt and pepper
  • Spices such as rosemary, basil and oregano can also be added too for extra flavor.

Making the sauce is quite simple.

Cahsews mixed

Photo taken from insonnetskitchen.com 

  1. You must first soak the nuts 1-12 hours (depending on how much time you have).
  2. Place the nuts in your blender, Ninja, or Vitmaix (whatever is available).
  3. Add 1/4 cup of hot water
  4. Add the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt + pepper and spices.
  5. Blend the ingredients on high until the mixture appears smooth – like a sauce.
  6. And, voila!  You have a dairy-free nut “cheese” sauce

Cashew dip

Photo taken from thekitchn.com 

What can you do with your delicious nutty “cheese” sauce?

  1. Baked ziti
  2. Lasagna
  3. Pasta sauce
  4. Vegetable dip – great appetizer
  5. Cracker dip – great appetizer
  6. Sandwich spread – much healthier than mayonnaise
  7. Potato topping
  8. Salad topping
  9. Toast spread

I recently created a Grilled Vegetable Panini with my nutty “cheese” spread:

Grilled Veg Sandwiches

I grilled the vegetables with a touch of coconut oil, garlic and lemon. Then I toasted quinoa bread.

Nut Cheese Spread Sandwiches

I wiped the bread with a thick layer of the nutty “cheese” sauce, filled it with vegetables and popped it in the oven for five minutes.

As a result, I created a delectable sandwich that — everyone enjoyed! Most could not believe that they were eating nuts, because it was SO good 🙂

March Meal

*Note: In this sandwich I used almonds 

The possibilities are truly endless …. And so much fun! 

There is so much that you can do with the sauce. Therefore, when I make my sauce I double the recipe and store the remaining half of the batch in my fridge to use throughout the week.

What I also love about this recipe is how creative it is. Who would have thought that you could create a “cheese” sauce out of nuts?!

If you asked me if I wanted some nutty “cheese” sauce on my salad two years ago I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Today, however, my response would be “yes, I would like seconds!”

Nuts for runners:

All nuts are great for runners to eat as a snack post-run.

The nut family is huge! Each nut is from a different location, offers a different taste and carries a variety of incredible benefits.

My favorite nut is the cashew because of its sweet taste and awesome benefits. 

Cashhew

Photo taken from hungryforchange.tv

The cashew nut derives from Brazil. The nut is known for the many minerals that is offers. According to Mercola.com, the cashew contains 31 percent of our recommended daily copper intake, along with 23 percent of daily manganese intake, 20 percent of daily magnesium intake, 17 percent of our daily phosphorus intake, and 12 percent of the daily recommended vitamin K intake.

Cashews can play a role in providing bone strength, joint flexibility, eliminating migraines, improving memory, lowering blood pressure, protecting against UV damage, heart disease and cancer.

My second favorite is the almond because of the powerhouse of nutrients that it offers. 

almonds

Photo taken from healingisessential.com

Almonds offer a powerhouse of nutrients. They derive from locations such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel. Some of the nutritional benefits of the nut include vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, iron, niacin and magnesium. They also offer minerals such as zinc, selenium and copper.

Therefore, almonds help develop and maintain brain function, maintain healthy cholesterol, reduce risk of Alzheimer’s, regulate blood pressure, prevent diabetes and so much more!

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