This is another guest post from our newest writer, Leigh A. Hall. Leigh runs a really cool blog site called My Bikram Yoga Life
She tells us that she’s a big fan of Pinterest, and has heaps of vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes pinned up there that she fully intends to try out. She has no idea how she’s going to make all of them during her current lifetime, but she reckons it’ll be fun to try.
I’VE ATTEMPTED TO make a vegan grilled cheese sandwich numerous times. In my quest, I have tried many vegan cheeses – both store bought and ordered online. I managed to find a vegan cheese online that was not too bad, and that was the best I could do. Eventually I just gave up on the idea.
However, when I saw this recipe for vegan grilled cheese with caramelized onions, my excitement was renewed. The first step was to make the cashew cheese sauce. I was nervous about the sauce. I tried making nut-based cheese about six months ago and it was an utter fail. But this was a new recipe, and I decided to give it another shot.
Making The Sauce
I took my butt down to Whole Foods and got the raw cashews. Whole Foods lets you buy these straight from the canister so you can get as much as you need. I knew cashews would be expensive, but I was disheartened to see they were $13.99 a pound (and I needed half a pound). So there I was, spending $8.00 or so on cashews and worrying it was going to turn into an epic, expensive fail. But I proceeded on. You can also get your nutritional yeast at Whole Foods, and it’s not that expensive.
The cashews have to soak overnight. That was the easy part. The next morning I got up and was excited to see how this would work. I dumped all the ingredients in the blender and got ready for action!
Okay… turns out I needed to give things a bit of help. The cashews blended and everything else just sat on top. So I gave everything a stir, blended some more, and repeated the process until it was all done.
I noticed that my sauce was not turning orange like the picture in the recipe, but that didn’t deter me. Then I tasted it and thought…..
Ewww…..this is not that great.
But having spent about $15 on cashews, nutritional yeast, and bread, I was determined to work at this sauce a bit more. If you make this recipe as is, and find out you don’t much care for it, try the following:
- Up the chili and onion powder. I just kept adding and blending an extra ½ teaspoon at a time (I put in 2.5 tablespoons of each at the end), blend it, and taste it.
- Don’t forget the salt. I just dumped in a little bit at the time and kept adjusting until I liked it.
- Add pepper! I dumped some in twice. Yes, dumping is an official measurement.
When all was said and done – DIVINE!
The first step in the sandwich is to caramelize the onions. I used about a quarter of a yellow onion, and it worked out to be plenty. This took about 10 minutes to do, but of course you’ll do it to whatever consistency you want.
While you are waiting on your onions, here are some things you can do:
- Bust out the cheese sauce. Realise it is even more delicious after sitting in the fridge.
- Find a small piece of bread, spread some sauce on it, and snack!
- Repeat step #2. Realise you are using bread as an appetiser for a sandwich. Rationalise this by simply choosing not to care.
- Make your sandwich. Put the spread on both pieces. Eat some more spread out of the container. It’s your container. Dip your finger in it if you want. Think about all the things you can dip in this sauce.
- Smack on some spinach. I ended up buying baby spinach in a container from the store as opposed to a fresh bunch. If you have a case of the kitchen lazies (like me), this is an excellent choice. Just pull the stems off and toss the pieces on the sandwich. No need to chop anything up to make it fit. Put on as much as you want.
- Add the onions. They are done now.
- Cook the sandwich in olive oil or a vegan butter of your choice. I used Earth Balance.
A Few Notes
On the surface, this seemed like an expensive lunch to me, but in reality the whole thing cost me around $20, and it will last for the week. The cashew sauce makes a lot. The recipe says it makes two cups, and I thought that sounded small, but it really isn’t. It also is supposed to hold for weeks. I’ll eat mine before weeks are up so I will never be able to comment on that. You could cut the sauce recipe in half and save a bit of money on the cashews if you want, but if you love this sauce like I do you will wish you had made two cups.
Leigh A. Hall loves to make vegetarian, vegan, and raw foods and write up her experiences about it on My Bikram Yoga Life where she also blogs about all things Bikram. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.