Arugula Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread is ideal for 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
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.
- 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
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.
To Form the Cheesy Spread into a Round:
Stainless Steel Circle Molds/Biscuit Cutters
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Pair this recipe with other delicious spreads to create a wonderful cheese and veggie board!
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.