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, so I do. I find real plant-based food generally tastes better and I have never felt better since eating this way.
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 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.
What you’ll love about Arugula Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread:
it’s a crowd pleaser, with a rich, salty-sweet flavor that pairs deliciously with anything you’d normally include on a cheese platter
it’s quick and easy to make, requiring only about 15 minutes of your time
it’s oil-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan
only six ingredients needed, plus salt - just real whole foods
it’s such a delicious way to eat some greens
how this cheesy Spread came about
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.
arugula-pecan vegan cheesy spread Recipe
vegan | wfpb | gluten-free | dairy-free | oil-free | 10 ingredients or less | 15 minutes or less
Yield: up to 12 wedges
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Primary Tools: small pan, small food processor or blender, biscuit cutter (optional)
½ cup raw pecans
½ cup unsweeted coconut flakes
½ cup arugula
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
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. Oven: Bake for 12 minutes at 325 degrees.
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.
Form into a ball or use a biscuit cutter to form into a disc. Alternatively, simply place it in a container. 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.
To FORM THE CHEESY SPREAD INTO A ROUND:
Stainless Steel Circle Molds/Biscuit Cutters
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