Savory Vegan Christmas Cheesecake

On my quest of producing some tasty vegan cheeses using nuts and herbs, I decided this baked cashew cheese came out more like a perfectly crumbly New York style cheesecake, hence, the inspiration for a savory holiday dessert was born.

Cheesecake Base
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 8 hours in cold water, rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Blend all ingredients in food processor or high powered blender until completely smooth and creamy.  Place mixture in an oiled dish (I used a small 3 by 5 inch rectangular shaped oven safe dish).  Place in 300 degree oven for about 40 minutes until edges pull away from side (top will be a little bit crispy).  Allow to cool to room temperature and place in refrigerator over night or until completely cool and firm to touch.

Green Christmas Topper
1 bunch of fresh cilantro (or fresh basil would be delicious too)
1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic
1/8 cup raw cashews or other nuts of choice (soaking not necessary)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon agave (optional)
Blend all ingredients in food processor or high powered blender until completely smooth and creamy.  Store in a jar in refrigerator and serve by the dollop on the cheesecake base.

Red Christmas Topper
Large handful of sun dried tomatoes slices into bite size pieces (Any variety would work fine.  I used Trader Joe's brand that come in the ziploc style bag)

To assemble your individual plate, slice desired size piece of chilled cheesecake and scoop a dollop of green topper and finish with red topper.  This could also be made family style by assembling the entire cake and serving individual slices (but you might want to double the recipe for the cake!).  Dish can be served at room temperature or chilled.  It would be a fantastic addition to a cheese course for a holiday party.

Makes 4-6 servings.  Can be made up to a week in advance and stored in refrigerator.  Clearly one can be very creative with their toppings and could easily make this sweet or savory depending on the mood.  Next time I make this I will probably make my pesto with basil for a more Italian flair.  I just didn't have any fresh basil on hand and I adore the flavor of the tangy cilantro paired with the sun-dried tomatoes.   Let me know how it turns out!  See you soon!

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