I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Garlic & Dill Cheeze

A few months ago, I was telling you all about my first experiment with fermented nut cheeze. It's one of those things that may look intimidating, but is definitely worth the time and effort. The result is simply unbelievable; so similar to the 'real thing' in looks, texture and even flavor.

As Heathy had yet to try her hand at nut cheese-making, she asked me to put it on 'The List'. Plus, cheeze and crackers were the perfect complement to our daily soups and salads; leaving plenty of room for the decadent desserts that have been rolling out of our sunny kitchen. ;-) (Not to worry, I promise to give you a detailed photo summary once we've landed in our new home.)

Anyhoo, I decided to make the delicious Herb Cheeze that was featured in my 'Not Cheeze Pleaze' post. After reading the tantalizing combinations that someone posted on Raw Freedom Community, I also came up with a Garlic & Dill variation that turned out really well. We served the last of it to our friends, John and Livina, who joined us for dinner yesterday and they were very impressed.

Garlic & Dill Cheeze

1 cup Cashew Cheeze (See recipe below)
1 generous teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced chives
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
Finely ground almonds, dried dill and garlic powder for the crust

Combine Cashew Cheeze, chives, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Stir until well mixed. Add fresh herbs and stir until well distributed. Taste and adjust salt, if desired.

Shape the Cheeze mixture into a round or press firmly into a small container or bowl lined with plastic film. Sprinkle mixture of ground almonds, dried dill and garlic powder on top. Allow to chill for at least 12 hours or until it firms up.

When firm, de-mold, turn over and transfer onto a plate. Sprinkle more dried herbs on top and sides.

Store in fridge in airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.

Basic Cashew Cheeze

3 cups cashews, soaked 12-14 hours
3 capsules probiotics
2/3 cup fresh rejuvelac (see instructions in this post)

In high speed blender, blend the soaked cashews with probiotics and rejuvelac until smooth.

Line a sieve with a double thickness of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Transfer the mixture to the sieve, drape the cheesecloth over the top, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place to ripen for 14-16 hours.

Season according to one of the following recipes (or come up with your own variation!)

Alternatively, shape the mixture into a round, place in a covered container, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or until it firms up.

Store in fridge in airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.

Carmella's Notes:
~ I forgot to soak the cashews ahead of time so I did a little experiment; I ground them up finely in the Vitamix first and added a little more water. The mixture didn't blend as easily as with soaked cashews so I ended up using more liquid than in the original recipe. The texture of the resulting Cheeze was a touch softer and had more the consistency of Boursin. Out of this world!

~ Our place was a bit cool so I let the Cheeze ferment for about 24 hours.

Serve with your favorite crackers!
Amazing stuff!


  1. Looks and sounds delicious! I like the combination of garlic and dill. I also have yet to try my hand at making raw nut cheese but I do plan to give it a try.

  2. I just tried your spinach and linguine casserole. OMG it was SO good. I didn't make the Parmesan cheese and did not dehydrate the dish...but it was FABULOUS! I am going to try the cheeze next. Do you know if the cheezes will set if you do not use probiotic powder? I looked for it today at my health food store and the kind they had used dairy.

  3. Ingrid!

    You ought to take the plunge and make this! It sure got Heathy all excited at the prospect of playing with her own variations.

    So glad you enjoyed the spinach pasta dish. Actually, that reminds me I haven't made it in ages and I do have all of the ingredients handy.

    The fermentation process will work without the probiotics; it might just take longer, that's all. I would however recommend that you use rejuvelac and, if you can, some miso as I've seen some sauerkraut recipes call for it instead of the probiotics to give the fermentation a head start.


  4. Mmm Mmm Mmm! This really IS the BEST cheese ever! Tastes exactly how i remember the "real" thing. I was thrilled that Carmi made it during my visit - and now I'll try my best to duplicate :) *keeping fingers crossed*

  5. I will have to try this sometime. I have had a sample of some "cheese" and it was so tasty!

  6. Are you measuring the cashews before soaking or after? They expand quite a bit so I just want to make sure I get this right. The photos look amazing BTW.

  7. Good question snarkyvegan! It used to confuse me too when I first got into raw food prep. The key is where the 'soaked' is placed in the sentence. For instance, 1/2 cup soaked cashews vs 1/2 cup cashews, soaked. In this case, the cashews are measured dry.

    Hope you enjoy the cheeze as much as I do!

  8. Hi Carmella! I've followed your blog for ages (love it, BTW!!), but I just now got all the ingredients ready to make the fermented raw cheeses. One question though, I want to make the full batch with 3 cups cashews, but I don't think we'll use it all within 3-4 days. SO, does this freeze ok?

    I don't want to make a small batch because of the extensive work :)


  9. Hi Nicole!

    Thanks for the kudos! Glad you like hanging around my virtual kitchen. ;-)

    Funny as I haven't made cheeze in ages, but am planning to this week too! Absolutely; it freezes really well so no worries there.

    Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  10. Hi Carmi,

    I've been making this and have been experimenting:) I've added chickpea miso and probiotic powder and let the cheeze ferment for five days in a nut sprouting bag placed in a stainless steel colander which is sitting in a glass bowl - all covered with a kitchen towel.

    I've been doing this for a long time - it's really great! (Of course, I wouldn't leave it out that long if it were 80 degrees - but it's been 67 degrees in our house in sunny LA:!) I've been wondering if you know how the company, Dr. Cow, ages their cheeze? Have you seen this? Does anyone know?:)

    Keep up the great work, Carmi!!!!

  11. Hi Sarah!

    Five days eh? Wow! I'll have to try that sometime.

    Hum, I had their cheeze only once, but I wouldn't be surprised that they either dehydrate it or leave it uncovered in the fridge for long periods of time in order to get it to be so hard.

  12. Thanks for this recipe! It sounds awesome! I came across it looking for info because I think I accidently fermented my cashews... I was just going so soak them, which I usually do by leaving them in an air-tight container overnight on the counter, since cashews are always old and dry where I live and take a long time to soak. However, the next day I didn't get around to preparing them so I just tossed the container in the fridge... now, three days later I took them out and drained and rinsed them and they taste sour. Not unpleasant or rancid, but sour, like buttermilk or sour cream.
    Can I use these for cheese instead, or are they bad and should be thrown out? I'd hate to waste them, but I also don't want to get sick!

  13. Jess,

    Sounds like you've indeed made cashew cheeze by accident! I'd suggest blending them until very smooth with as little water as you can, then adding whatever seasonings you like, such as the ones in this Garlic & Dill recipe.


  14. this cheese is RAWMAZING!!!!!!!!! I made it for a demo i did for some friends and it was a huge hit!!! I'm making some more right now and I can't wait, I already have a couple of people that want me to make them some too!!!!!

  15. Dear Carmella,
    love your book (delightfully raw) and recipes, they all turn out so amazingly good :) Thank you so much! Now I would like to try out this recipe and since probiotics are so expensive in my corner of the world I see that you recommend using miso instead. Can you recommend how much miso I should use instead of 3 capsules of probiotics?

    Best wishes, Maria

    1. Thanks Maria!

      Hum, I've never tried it with only miso so I'm not exactly sure. One thing to keep in mind is that it will give your cheeze saltiness so you don't want to overdo it. You'd also have to adjust the seasoning accordingly. Having said that 2 or 3 tsps for a 3 cup batch of basic cheeze should be ok.

      I'd also make sure to use rejuvelac rather than water as it will provide lots of natural probiotics to help with the culturing process.

      Hope this helps!

    2. Thanks a lot I will try it this way :)

  16. Hi there! Im really keen to try this, I have your book that came with my new OmniBlend :) Exciting. What im worried about is fermenting.... its a real foreign concept to me, to me leaving things like this out on the bench for hours seems so wrong. Its been bred out of me i guess! So if i taste it and its kind of tart and seems like its almost got lighter and airy inside does this mean its fermented? I mean how can i tell if its gone bad... i dont want to make it and feed it to my family and make them sick :S They would never forgive me for making them eat vegan cheese haha.

  17. Tash,
    Sounds to me like your cheeze is ready and just fine! You could leave it longer if you wanted it to be tarter in taste. If it was bad you'd know right away; it would smell off and taste yucky. I've made dozens of batches of cultured cheeze in the past and had only a couple of bad batches. One was due to using not so fresh cashews that were pieces rather than halves, the other had to do with reusing a cheesecloth that wasn't cleaned properly. Note that in both cases the excess liquid that had dripped in the bowl was yellowish and slimy.

    So the chances of your cheeze being bad are quite minimal. Again, it if smells pleasant and have a tart taste you're all good.

    Hope this helps!