The holidays are upon us, and it’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re holiday spread is going to please everyone at the party. That makes for a lot of pressure and deep meditational thought if you’re a planner like me. A lover of from scratch hummus and cheeses, I set out recently to create a cheese-like spread option that would make vegans in my life happy and still be enjoyed by my gluten-free, dairy-free, and flexitarian friends too.
Case in point–one of my recent favorite New Yorker cartoons, a throwback from 2010:
I must also take a moment to gush over the platter I used in this shoot–it’s handmade by potter Monika Dalkin and was acquired on a recent trip up to Seattle. Her studio is Fifty One and a Half, and this platter I purchased from her is magical–with its soft curves, bright white color, it makes me giddy to use! It’s the little things, right?
Macadamia Cheese with Dill (Vegan, DF, GF)
- 165 grams (approximately 1 1/4 cups) Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts (grab ’em here)
- 2 1/2 T Nutritional Yeast
- 1/3 C reserved macadamia nut water
- 2 T lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 t Salt
- 1/4 t Cumin
- 1/2 t Garlic powder
- Fresh cracked Pepper
- 2 T Fresh dill, chopped (or more to taste)
- 140 grams (approximately 1 cup) chopped Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts, (optional, for rolling on cheese, see Option 2)
Begin by soaking the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts in hot water (~200°F) for up to an hour. If you’re using chopped macadamia nuts, you may shorten the soak time to 30 minutes. Strain, and reserve the water to the side. Combine all other ingredients in a food processer and blend until smooth, adding in the water midway through the blend. Once smooth, taste and add pepper and salt to taste. At this point it becomes a bit more of a “Choose Your Adventure” so read ahead and select one of the following options for serving.
Option 1: Transfer spread to lidded container and chill for 1+ hours prior to serving. This will allow you to serve as a spread (think, hummus-y), topped with additional fresh dill, pepper, and chopped hazelnuts.
Option 2: Transfer spread to a cheesecloth suspended over a bowl (I typically will use a rubberband to keep things in order), and refrigerate for 2 hours. This will strain out any additional liquid and make the cheese more malleable. Serve as a block or should your cheese sit longer than 2 hours, you will be able to roll the cheese in chopped roasted macadamia nuts and serve as a festive cheese ball!
Use any leftover dill sprigs you might have to line the bottom of your serving plate with some color–I like serving my cheese with a few different options–in the image you’ll see Belgian endive, radishes, baby carrots, and crackers.
This recipe serves 4.