I love cheese. Most of the people I know love cheese too. With holiday season imminently knocking on our doors, we are now entering the time where we'll be hosting and attending family gatherings, get-togethers with friends, office pot lucks and other social events where cheese platters and dips are always a main offering. But here's the thing with cheese: as wonderful as it tastes and as versatile as it is, it's not the best choice for everyone.
Many people, myself included, cannot consume or choose not to consume dairy products due to food sensitivity/allergy issues, health concerns, personal preferences, ethical or environmental reasons. So what's a cheese lover to do when there's a hankering for a hunk of cheese and there are hunks of cheese all over the place? One whips up a batch of my wonderful Cashew & Leek "Brie" Spread, that's what they do! I have been making this recipe for quite some time and it is a huge hit with dairy lovers and non-dairy lovers alike. There is never any left at the end of the evening which is sad for me because I always want to take some back home.
Now you might be saying to yourself "Hold up...aren't cashews high in saturated fats? How can they be any better eating real cheese?". While cashews do contain saturated fats, they are actually much higher in monounsaturated fats...three times higher in fact. 100g of raw cashews contains 8g of saturated fats and 24g of monounsaturated fats. These are the good fats! These are the ones that our bodies thrive off. They won't clog arteries or cause inflammation like animal saturated fats or highly refined polyunsaturated fats which are often found in processed cheeses. In addition, 100g of raw cashews will provide you with 37% of your daily requirement of iron, 73% of your daily requirement of magnesium (which we all could use more of!), 20% of your daily requirement for vitamin B6 and 18% of your daily requirement for potassium. So let's just say that cashews are a very health-friendly nut!
Cashews aren't the only nutrient dense ingredient in this delicious recipe. Tahini paste (made from hulled sesame seeds) is also high in iron and magnesium, as well as calcium and mono and polyunsaturated fats . Garlic is a powerhouse ingredient, offering cholesterol and immune boosting benefits. Garlic's other special nutrient, also found in the leeks, is sulfur, a powerful mineral required by the liver to enhance its detoxification capabilities which we all could use a boost with every day! Nutritional yeast, which provides the wonderful "cheesy" flavour, is a B vitamin superstar providing well above the daily requirements of all B vitamins, including vitamin B12, per 16g serving. Finally, we have parsley which is also a helpful detoxifier and basil, an excellent source of calcium and vitamin K, both essential for bone health.
Okay okay...you get the picture. This is a healthy cheese!! How about the recipe please!!
Cheers to cheese with benefits!
If you would like to explore how working with a holistic nutritionist can help you achieve your best and most vibrant health, please feel free contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 519.404.9919 to schedule your free 15 minute discovery session to discuss how I can help you reach your goals.
Jill Taylor is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. She is the mom of two pretty awesome teenagers, s very dramatic dog, a hedgehog and a snake (yikes!). Jill assists her clients in achieving true wellness through thoughtful and compassionate dietary and lifestyle coaching. Feel free to visit the "Contact" page to get in touch. Jill would love to hear from you!