Vegan cheese & a Pesto recipe

Yesterday marked my first experience with vegan cheese. The cheese of choice was Cheezly’s Italian Hard Cheese.

Now this might be a rookie mistake but I opened up the pack and decided to take a bite, like I would any other cheese. This was a mistake! It didn’t taste good, and it didn’t smell good. I had to hold my breath while I grated it up to go on my pomodoro pasta.

Once it was mixed in and melted it was ok, so I guess that’s the lesson here; this cheese is better for melting not eating on its own!

Anyway, today I made fresh pesto dip with the Cheezly and the smell was a bit less repugnant, so perhaps it just takes some getting used to?!

I have to say it’s my most successful homemade pesto yet! I got the idea for adding milk to pesto years ago from the book “Audrey Hepburn: Elegant Spirit” which contains a couple of Audrey’s favourite pasta recipes, and I’ve adopted the method ever since. It makes a creamy pesto and means you can use less olive oil. I also added spinach because I’m trying to get as much veg into my diet as I can. I’ve tried this recipe with avocado and that worked nicely too – you can’t really taste the extra veg above the basil and garlic etc. so its good for sneaking secret greens to people who don’t like them (like my other half!).

As ever, adapt and amend this to suit your tastes, because I’m a strange individual who loves strong tastes like raw garlic 🙂

FRESH PESTO DIP:

100g of tofu, drained as much as possible
200g of spinach, cooked & drained as much as possible
50g fresh basil
1 garlic clove
30g toasted pine nuts (I toasted them in a dry pan on the hob, tossing them every couple mins until they went golden brown)
50ml extra virgin olive oil
25g Italian hard cheese (or more if you’re a cheese fiend like me!)
Generous splash of unsweetened almond milk
Freshly ground black pepper

TO PREPARE:

Shove it all into a food processor. Nice and simple! 🙂

I ate it with some raw cauliflower, raw carrot, cherry tomatoes, a few sun-dried tomatoes and some leftover sweet potato fries. All excellent dipping materials!!

As it makes an ample amount I will use up the remainder with pasta and add some more olive oil and milk to thin it into a sauce.

I’ll be back soon with more Cheezly adventures! If you have any vegan cheese recommendations or recipe ideas, please leave me a comment 🙂

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