I’ve made the nut free Parmigiano, but here is the basic version of that made with cashews. Most vegan cheese recipes will call for cashews, because they have a great texture, flavor, and really lend that cheese consistently well. I like to add basil because that way I am getting 2 in 1 shot; I always put fresh herbs and Parmigiano on all my dishes so better to combine them. A sprinkle of this can transform any pasta, rice, or grain bowl, to have that extra bite and taste.
Native to the Brazilian rainforest, the cashew tree was spread all over the world by Portuguese explorers. The cashew is a kernel attached to the bottom of a fruit similar in shape to a pear, called a cashew apple. The hard exterior of the cashew shell is poisonous and must be removed to reveal the cashew nut (it’s really a seed). Cashews are loaded in vital nutrients; a handful provides enough selenium, manganese, potassium, zinc, copper for the day. They also host a range of necessary B vitamins, important for metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. High in calories, fiber, heart healthy essential fatty acids, antioxidants, with phytochemicals that can help protect from diseases and cancer. Buy them raw, whole or in pieces, and keep them in a sealed glass jar to last longer and stay fresh. If you are going to use them for blending into smoothies, making ice creams, or cream sauces, soak them overnight for 12-24 hours first. They absorb the water and it allows them to blend into a cream much better while improving the taste and texture.
Nutritional yeast flakes (sometimes called nooch) are very popular among vegans. It’s what grated cheese is to non vegans. Many of us use these yellow flakes to top our savory dishes and it adds a rich and almost nutty cheese like flavor. They are grown from sugarcane and beets and have been a staple health food for many years. You can find them at health food stores, Whole Foods, online, and most markets. Not to be confused with baking yeast or brewers yeast, these are a condiment.
These flakes pack more than flavor. They are immune boosting, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, loaded with B vitamins, protein, and minerals. Also helps lower cholesterol, nourishes hair, skin, and nails, improves digestion, prevents cancer, improves metabolism, balances blood sugar, promotes brain health, helps build muscle, and increases overall vitality. It is great for those with malnutrition or looking to get a potent nutritional food source. And, it will not lead to candida but will strengthen your body to fight intestinal imbalances.
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