Almond Feta Cheese with Herb Oil vs. Cultured Cashew Cheese: A Fight to the Finish

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There are a handful of homemade nut cheeses in cookbooks and on the internet. Most of them are time consuming, even the simple ones, and it took me until this summer to try one. That one was the Cultured Cashew Cheese from The Conscious Cook. I had planned to make another cashew cheese to compare the two, but then the Almond Feta Cheese with Herb Oil recipe from Vegetarian Times caught my eye, so I made that one instead. Which one of these am I most likely to make again?

Ease of preparation

Both recipes called for soaking raw nuts for 12 hours or so, pureeing them and combining with other ingredients. I had to blanch the almonds for the almond feta for that recipe first, while the cultured cashew cheese required that I locate and purchase a specific brand of probiotic powder and leave the “cheese” in a warm place to culture. The almond feta had to be baked to finish the dish. Even though it required this extra step, this was not as much trouble as acquiring the probiotics. The winner: the almond feta, by a nose.

Clarity of instructions

The cultured cashew cheese called for pureeing the soaked, drained cashews by themselves in a blender or food processor. The instructions did say that a Vita Mix blender was perfect for this, but it wasn’t required. I used my KitchenAid food processor and ended up with a gritty texture which I found unpleasant. The almond feta recipe, on the other hand, called for pureeing the nuts with lemon juice, olive oil, and 1/2 a cup of water. I used only three tablespoons of water and got a very creamy mixture. I think that since I wasn’t using a Vita Mix I should have added water to the cashew cheese also and the recipe should have said so. I suspect that this one wasn’t tested on ordinary kitchen equipment, a big failure in my eyes. The winner: the almond feta, by a lap.

Best flavor
The major flavors in the almond feta are lemon juice, salt and olive oil, while the major flavors of the cultured cashew cheese are nutritional yeast and white pepper. I am not a huge nutritional yeast fan, while I love lemon juice. The winner: the almond feta.

Best texture
Several people who’ve made the almond feta have noted that theirs was creamy, but mine was somewhere between creamy and crumbly, somewhat like powdered Parmesan. As I mentioned in the clarity of instructions section, the cultured cashew cheese was gritty. The winner: the almond feta.

Cheesiest
After I cultured the cashew cheese, it smelled delicious and sweet, like ricotta. However, after I added the additional ingredients used for flavor, I couldn’t taste the sweetness. I’ve never thought nutritional yeast was especially cheesy (it reminds me more of the flavor from a bouillon cube). The almond feta was very salty, like dairy feta. The winner: a tie.

Most versatile
The cultured cashew cheese would be good on a sandwich. In fact, the only thing I did with it was to make sandwiches and eat some on crackers. The almond feta, being as salty as it was, wasn’t good on crackers, but was perfect on pasta and in a salad. I’m going to put some on a pizza soon, too. The winner: the almond feta, by a nose.

The verdict
The almond feta was the only one of the two recipes that I’d make again. It was so good, in fact, that I went on a hunt for more recipes with feta cheese in them in order to have a reason to eat more. Make this and you’ll be glad you did!

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3 Responses

  1. Oh how cool, thanks for all the info – I would love to try some.

  2. I’m glad you liked the comparison Jennifurla. I’m positive that I’ll be making the almond feta again and again.

  3. wow! I`d like to try this feta!

    have a nice time,
    Paula

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