Put away those cheese puffs and try this easy, healthy snack. Don’t let the name of the recipe scare you away; these “chips” are easy to make and also, extremely delicious!
Cashews are such an amazing food and nut. They are ripe with proanthocyanidins, a class of flavonols that studies have shown to reduce the risk of cancer. They are also sources of phytochemicals and antioxidants that helps prevent heart disease. Cashews are low in fat and contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that is found in olive oil. They actually contain less fat than other nuts such as peanuts, almonds, and walnuts. When you add nuts to your diet, research has shown that it helps with weight loss in people who eat nuts twice a day versus those that do not include nuts in their diets.
Throw in kale, which is high in fiber, it is also filled with antioxidants that help lower the risk of bladder, breast, colon and prostate cancer. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
Here is how to make cashew cheese
- 1 1/2 cups of cashews (soaked in water for an hour; drain the water)
- 1 whole roasted red pepper (or more if you like; it gives the cashew cheese its color)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Juice of half a lemon or lime
- 2 tablespoons of onion powder
- 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast (this can be found in the organic food section in the baking section; this gives the cashew the “cheesy” flavor. It is a source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium and is free of sugar, dairy, and gluten.)
- Small head of kale (remove tough stems and separate the leaves)
- Blend the first six ingredients in a food processor until they become the consistency of hummus.
- Transfer the cashew cheese into a bowl.
- Preheat the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dry the kale leaves after rinsing it in water. Put it in a bowl. Drizzle the cashew cheese generously on top of the kale leaves. Mix the kale and cashew cheese with your hands until the kale leaves are evenly coated with the cheese.
- Lay each kale leaf out on to a cookie sheet.
- Put it in the oven for at least 45 minutes to an hour.
- Bake until the kale chips are golden and crispy.
Use the leftover cashew cheese as vegetable dip. Cut up some carrots and cucumbers as a healthy snack alternative. If you want to get creative, substitute real dairy cheese with cashew cheese (i.e. in pizza, pasta, veggie burger, etc.). You’ll be surprised how delicious they are!