Photo by Michelle Schoffro Cook
This dairy-free, vegan cheese has a deliciously salty and savory flavor with the rich, buttery texture that walnuts offer. It has a distinct but ever-so-mild walnut flavor that’s unlike any other cheese. Even if you’re not a fan of walnuts, I encourage you to buy some high-quality raw walnuts that have been refrigerated in your local health food store. I never liked walnuts, or so I thought, but it turns out that I love fresh walnuts. They offer high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids that are needed to protect your brain, maintain a healthy immune system, balance moods, and lessen pain and inflammation in the body. They’re also a good source of vitamins B6 and E, as well as magnesium and potassium.
This recipe takes only about 10 minutes of actual preparation time, but the flavors are superb when the walnuts are allowed to culture for a day. Of course, you can culture it for less time if you simply can’t wait to enjoy your next batch. It’s delicious on its own, or cut into disks and served with crackers, grapes, or figs. Alternatively, spread it on fresh, warm bread, and savor the rich flavor as it slowly melts.
Yield: 1 medium-sized block.
- 1 cup raw, unsalted walnuts
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 probiotic capsules or 1 teaspoon probiotic powder
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 inches in length
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- Place walnuts and water in a small bowl. Empty contents of probiotic capsules into bowl and stir to combine. Cover and let sit in a warm, undisturbed spot for 2 days.
- In a small frying pan over low to medium heat, sauté thyme sprigs in olive oil until lightly crisped, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Pull thyme leaves off sprigs. Sprinkle leaves across the base of a small glass dish.
- Purée probiotic mixture with sea salt and coconut oil until completely smooth. Pour into dish sprinkled with thyme leaves. Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 4 hours.
- Gently remove cheese from bowl, serving upside down so the thyme leaves are on top of cheese. Keeps in refrigerator, covered, for about 1 month.