Good morning and happy Monday! I hope you are all enjoying your summer, taking care of yourselves and staying in good health.
A few months ago my friend and fellow blogger Lisa Angarame made a macadamia nut cheese that looked irresistible! I knew I would make it eventually but put it on the back burner until I came across a recipe for Dukka covered goat cheese that I had to try. Since I tend to avoid dairy as much as possible, I knew it was time for some alchemy in the kitchen. I immediately went out and bought macadamia nuts.
Dukka is an Egyptian spice blend made from a mixture of herbs and nuts, most traditionally cumin, coriander, and hazelnuts. It can be added to salads, eggs, and fish or sprinkled on vegetables. If you don’t like cumin, then you can use any herb or spice like caraway or even mint. Anything goes really with this versatile spice blend. It is so yummy you can eat it as a snack all on its own.
Using Lisa’s recipe as a guide, I also did a little research on other nut cheeses to get a better sense of what I needed to do. Lisa recommends soaking the nuts overnight but in other posts I read it stated that soaking macadamia nuts in particular makes them bitter. Compromising on the two, I settled on 4 hours of soaking to remove some of the enzyme inhibitors and allow the nuts to soften up for better blending.
I have tasted some amazing nut cheeses, particularly when I’ve dined at Pure Food and Wine in NYC. They’ve really perfected their recipes and it is impossible to tell that they are made from nuts. And while the end result of my experiment was delicious, I’ve got a little work to do to make it indiscernible from goat cheese. The Dukka really made it into something special though, particularly when I added it to an arugula salad. It was the perfect combination of spicy and savory and a nice protein alternative for lunch.
It was a lot of fun to make this recipe and for the love of cheese, but in an effort to continue my dairy-free lifestyle, I am going to spend some time this summer finding the perfect recipe for a nut cheese that tastes exactly like the real thing… Stay tuned.
Enjoy! And have a great Monday!
Macadamia Nut Cheese
- 1 pint macadamia nuts
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon probiotic powder
- Lemon juice
- Himalaya salt
- Nutritional yeast, optional
- Blend the first three ingredients in a blender until smooth. Put in a cheese cloth and squeeze out all the excess water you can with your hands.
- Place the cheese cloth in a colander (be sure to have a plate underneath), and then place a dish on top of it and on top of that place a heavy can to weigh it down and allow it to strain overnight at room temperature.
- Blend in 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon, 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast and some salt into the mixture.
- Place mixture on parchment paper and roll into a log.
* You can serve this as it is without the Dukka. Another option is to chop some tarragon leaves and roll the cheese in that. Yum!
- ½ cup assorted nuts (I used hazelnuts, pine nuts, walnuts and almonds)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon Himalaya salt
Pulse ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Putting it together…
Roll nut cheese into balls. Place Dukka on parchment paper and roll nut cheese over Dukka and press the mixture into the cheese. Serve with crackers or on salad. Enjoy!