Jan 15 2015

Cashew Cheese Sticks

File this under:

In the years I’ve been vegan I don’t think I’ve ever had a vegan cheese stick. Not really sure how that’s possible, but it is. I’ve seen recipes that use Daiya for this and I’m sure it’d be easy enough with some Follow Your Heart Mozzarella but if we can make it on our own, why not?

Don’t be freaked out by the lengthy ‘total time’ down there in the recipe. It’s so long because you’ve gotta soak cashews and let the cashew mixture cool. No worries. The total time it takes to actually put all of this together is a little under an hour. You’ve got this!

*A little note: I often use tapioca starch/flour to thicken cashew cheese. Not having any on hand I opted for all purpose flour. If you’re GF then tapioca starch would be the way to go. At some point I’ll make these again and use tapioca starch as I think it might even add that sort of stringy texture we’re so used to with cheese sticks. Also, I figured flour would be good since tapioca starch probably isn’t a kitchen staple.

**Another little note: I’ve updated this to call for tapioca starch. The flour does work but it’s just not quite right. Seek out the tapioca starch!

***Triple note: I love smoked paprika but if you don’t have it just use regular paprika. No worries.

Total Time to Prepare: 4 hours 50 minutesCooking Time: 30 minutesServes: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1.25 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. To start off: you'll need a small bread loaf pan and a sheet of greased wax paper pressed down into it. We'll eventually pour our cashew mixture into this. You'll also need a greased large baking sheet to put the cheese sticks on when they're ready.
  2. Soak the cashews overnight (or for at least 2 hours). If you're in a rush you can boil them in plenty of water for approximately 10-15 minutes.
  3. Blend 1 cup of the soy milk, the cashews, 1/2 tsp of salt and the 3 tbsp of flour (or tapioca starch/flour) altogether. Blend it good my friend, like...really good. We want this smooth.
  4. Pour that blended mixture into a small sauce pan and turn the heat to high. Use the 1/4 cup water to swish around your blender and get all the remnants. Pour that into your blended cashew mixture.
  5. Alright, now, stir, constantly stir for about 2 and a half minutes. This is going to get thick, quick, and you don't want to let it burn. So, stir, stir, stir your little heart out. Keep stirring. Did I say stop? No. I can't express how important it is that you stir.
  6. At the end of 2.5 minutes it should be nice and thick. IMMEDIATELY pour this into your wax paper lined bread loaf pan.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight. (I actually stuck mine in the freezer for about an hour, even though I hear you shouldn't do that sort of thing). I just want better for you.
  8. Go ahead and mix your breadcrumbs, the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, oregano, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, and smoked paprika together. Sift them well so it's all nice and mixed together.
  9. After you've let the cashew mixture set, peel away the wax paper and cut into 1/2 inch strips. You should get about 10-12 strips depending on how thick you cut.
  10. Preheat your oven to 375º F
  11. Using two bowls and two forks, pour your other cup of soy milk into one bowl. Add the breadcrumb mix to the other.
  12. Now you're going to use one fork (the milk fork, we'll call it) to dip a cashew strip in the milk. Then using the other fork dip the milk ladened cashew strip into the breadcrumbs and completely cover.
  13. Set the breaded strip aside. Repeat for all the other strips.
  14. THEN, run through this dipping process again. We want to double dip here.
  15. Bake at 375º F for 15 minutes. Flip them, bake for another 15 minutes.
  16. Allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes before eating. They'll be piping hot.
  17. Serve with a nice marinara or vegan ranch (if that's your thing).