Your heart will “beet” for cashew cream cheese? Yup! This delightful vegan appetizer is filled with dairy-free nutty goodness, sweet earthy beets, and toasted crunchy bread. We are obsessed with homemade cashew cream cheese and you will be too! The nutty flavor of cashews with a hint of lemon is a scrumptious and nutritious addition to toasted breads, bagels, and crackers.
Crostini (Italian for “little toasts”) is usually made with a fresh baguette and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (long or short). Brushed with olive oil (and sometimes rubbed with garlic), crostini can be topped with endless ingredients, such as spreads like cream cheese, tomato and garlic (to make bruschetta), and roasted vegetables. Roasted beets with basil is always a winning combination.
This roasted beet recipe features heart beets (diced roasted beets work well too) to celebrate the beet’s healthy heart benefits. The beautiful heart-shaped roasted beets are perfect for Valentine’s Day, the month of February (It’s American Heart Month), and all year long! Both beets and cashews offer incredible nutrition for boosting heart health and helping prevent cardiovascular disease. We can always give some extra love to our heard-working hearts and cardiovascular systems.
Are you a fan of cashews? Studies show that adding more nuts, like cashews, to your diet may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels to help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Additionally, cashews are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Minerals, such as iron, selenium, magnesium, and copper are vital for healthy body functions; cashews are a rich source of these essential minerals.
Cashews are a fatty nut, but they contain “good fat”! This type of healthy fat (monounsaturated fat) improves cardiovascular function and may help prevent heart disease. Awesome! Besides improving heart health, healthy fats are important for many reasons as they reduce cravings, reduce inflammation, reduce belly fat (yup - eating foods with fat doesn’t equal adding fat to your body), and reduce the risk of diabetes.
As with most things in life, moderation is key. Cashews are high on the caloric intake, so if you’re a calorie counter, then you may want to eat cashews in moderation. The benefits of healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants are definitely worth adding a few extra calories to your diet. At least, we think so!
Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese can also be spread on your morning bagel or breakfast sandwich, used atop gluten-free crackers, and even thinned to make a cashew cream for tacos.
Roasted Beets and Vegan Cream Cheese Crostini Recipe
1 fresh baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick (slice at a slight angle for longer pieces)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 - 1 cup vegan cashew cream (see below)
1/2 cup Roasted Heart Beets
a handful of fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly brush both sides of baguette slices with oil and place them on large baking sheets.
Bake baguette slices until golden, about 10 minutes (longer for extra crispy toasted bread). For even toasting, flip over slices halfway through baking.
Once cooled on baking sheets, top each crostini with toppings. Cashew cream and roasted beets may be cool if just removed from the fridge. If you prefer warm toppings on your crostini, add cashew cream, basil leaves, and heart beets to each slice and place back in the oven for 2-3 minutes to warm.
If adding regular roasted beets (not heart shaped ones), roast beets (1-2 small to medium) for 20-25 minutes. After beets have cooled (to the touch), remove skins and dice beets or make a beet puree. Spoon diced beets or puree onto each crostini. Enjoy!
VEGAN CASHEW CREAM CHEESE INGREDIENTS
1 cup raw unsalted cashew nuts, soaked overnight
juice of 1/2 lemon (or whole lemon for extra lemon flavor), about 1-2 tbsp
1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
Soak the cashews overnight. Rinse them well and add them to a blender with a splash of water, lemon juice, and salt.
Start blending, scraping down the walls of the blender regularly. Add more water as needed to make the cashew cream thick and smooth. Be patient! You may need to scrape the walls of the blender a few times, but take your time adding a dash of liquid periodically. Adding too much water or lemon juice will make your cashew cream cheese runny.
Season with salt and more lemon juice if preferred.
Cashew cream can be served immediately but is best chilled for a few hours before serving. Cashew cream can be made in advance and stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.