Arugula Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread is ideal party food, especially during the holidays. The combination of zingy balsamic vinegar, peppery arugula, sweet maple syrup, cozy toasted pecans, and cheesy nutritional yeast creates a uniquely delicious, nutritious crowd-pleasing addition to your cheese board!
It's true, my absolute favorite way to eat is vegan. Plant-based. Real whole foods. Eating this way doesn't just make me feel better. I now find it tastes better, and it's food I can trust, food I know and love as food without including any "gross factor" - there's nothing that I would have to avoid thinking too much about in order to continue eating, and I certainly like taking the "gross" and "inhumane" out of the equation. There's no inner turmoil anymore about what my food is made of. I just like eating 100% plants and I've learned that scientifically it's optimal, so I do. I find real plant-based food generally tastes better and I feel better than ever.
One thing I do miss as a vegan, though, is a good ol' cheese platter. Back in the day, my favorite cheese platters always included a variety of cheeses, each pairing differently with something like fig so that the fig experience altered depending on the cheese it was eaten with. I remember how wonderfully a decadent, rich cheese goes with fruits, veggies, crackers and breads. Cheese platters are one of those great communal dining experiences, and I like the idea of bringing that experience into a vegan lifestyle.
So much to love
- a crowd pleaser, with a rich, salty-sweet flavor that pairs deliciously with anything you’d normally include on a cheese platter
- quick and easy to make, requiring only about 15 minutes of your time
- oil-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan
- only six ingredients needed, plus salt - just real whole foods
- such a delicious way to eat some greens
I recently found myself longing for a cheese platter, so I started messing around in the kitchen, looking for a way to take a first step toward a vegan version. Anytime I can create a recipe that's quick, easy, AND delicious - well, then I feel like I've reached my ultimate goal. So, I steered away from complicated processes and even wanted to avoid the delay of soaking nuts. Instead, I toasted nuts so that they were ready to go in 5 minutes. Toasted nuts add depth and richness to this spread, creating the ideal foundation for something cheesy. From there, I added flavors I thought would pair well with fruit, veggies, and crackers, including the cheesiness of nutritional yeast, and the result is so rich and satisfying I don't miss the actual cheese.
I'm so loving how this came out. The spread is dreamy while including fresh greens - the arugula brings a lovely pepperiness to the spread. We are relying on just basic, real-food ingredients here with no need for added oils to achieve that richness - yay! The texture is slightly sticky and holds together enough to form into a shape, like a disc or ball - yay, yay! I'm getting inspired to create a few more varieties of cheesy goodness so that I can eventually make a whole vegan cheesy platter, but for now we will consider this the First Cheesy.
- raw pecans
- unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds
- nutritional yeast
- maple syrup
- an oven or stovetop for toasting the pecans
- a food processor or blender to combine ingredients - a small herb-sized food processor works well.
- a large biscuit cutter or other form to shape the spread, if desired
Three simple steps:
- toast the pecans, either in a pan on the stove or in an oven
- combine the ingredients in a food processor or blender; a small processor will do
- form the spread into a ball or shape with a form
I have stuck with this recipe's ingredients each holiday; however, changing the nut or green should yield other interesting and delicious results, too! Let me know if you give it a try.
This spread lasts well in a sealed container, refrigerated, for up to a week - depending on the freshness of your arugula.
This recipe serves one wedge to 12 people. If serving a large group, double or triple the recipe and create multiple rounds so that you can easily replenish.
Pair this recipe with other delicious spreads to create a wonderful cheese and veggie board!
Excellent on these crackers!
Arugula Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread Recipe
- cooktop or oven
- small food processor or blender
- ½ cup pecans raw
- ½ cup coconut flakes unsweetened
- ½ cup arugula
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- For stovetop: Pre-heat a small pan over medium heat for a couple minutes. Reduce to medium-low, then add the pecans. Toast the pecans in the pan for about 5 minutes, shaking or flipping the pecans occasionally to toast evenly. Remove from heat and let cool a couple minutes. For oven: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, or until the pecans are fragrant and look toasted.½ cup pecans
- Meanwhile, place all of the ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Once cooled a bit, add the pecans. Process until all ingredients are well incorporated and evenly chopped.½ cup coconut flakes, ½ cup arugula, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ½ cup pecans
- Form into a ball or use a biscuit cutter to form into a disc. Alternatively, simply place it in a container. Top with nuts, herbs, fruit, or other decorative toppings. Spread on crackers, figs, sandwiches, or anything else you'd like to spread it on! Store in the refrigerator up to a week, depending on the freshness of your arugula.