Getting Nutty with Cashews

Thursday, August 16, 2012

grilled vegetable stack with pesto and cashew basil ricotta
I am curious by nature and for better or for worse, I've always enjoyed experimenting.  Recently my experiments have led me into the kitchen working with delicious, seasonal and sometimes raw plant-based foods.  My goal has been to honor the food whether it be fruits, or vegetables, and eat it fresh in it's most natural state.  Preparing raw plant-based food is fairly new to me and it's been a nice addition to the fresh fruit and cooked vegetables I already eat.


Today I want to share a Raw Cashew Basil Ricotta recipe with you.  Don't be scared to try this one.  It's super easy to make; it only takes about 10 minutes, once you've soaked your cashews (you can do that while you sleep).  This cashew ricotta is a great dairy-free version of a classic cheese.  It is a nice companion for fresh figs as a morning breakfast or snack and it's a great way to lift your summer veggies to new heights (literally).
A few facts about cashew nuts:
  • One ounce of cashews has 155 calories and 12 grams of fat
  • Most of the fat in cashew nuts is unsaturated fat.  Increasing the amount of unsaturated fat and decreasing the amount of saturated fat can improve your total cholesterol.  We like this!
  • Consuming an ounce of nuts at least 4 times per week has shown a 37% reduced risk of coronary heart disease compared to people who never eat nuts.
  • A quarter of a cup of cashews contains 38% of the daily value of copper.  Copper is important in several physiological processes like, aiding in the elimination of free radicals in your body.
  • Studies have shown that people who eat nuts at least twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than people who never eat nuts.  Because cashews are high in fat limit your intake to an ounce a day if you are watching your weight.

fresh figs with cashew basil ricotta
Raw Cashew Basil Ricotta
RAW CASHEW BASIL RICOTTA  makes one cup

Ingredients:
1 cup of raw cashews (soaked)
1 handful of basil
1/4 cup of almond milk or any nut milk of your choice
the juice of one lemon
the zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  Soak your cashews 4-8 hours in water and store in the refrigerator
2.  Drain and rinse your cashews, place in a high speed blender or food processor with almond milk
3.  Add the remaining ingredients: basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper

*Note:
  • If you don't like garlic or want to use your cashew ricotta on fruit I would suggest leaving out the clove of garlic.  
  • I did use a clove of garlic in the cashew ricotta recipe when I made this vegetable stack.  The stack is a portobello mushroom,  a slice of zucchini and a tomato that I cooked in my cast iron grill pan. 
  • It's delicious either way;  remember it's all an experiment.  Have fun with it!
Ingredients for Raw Cashew Basil Ricotta

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