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Pumpkin Seed “Cheeze” (Non-Dairy) with Garlic and Herbs

Pumpkin CheezeHere’s another vegan fermented “cheeze,” this one nut-free for those who do not want or cannot eat tree nuts like cashews or almonds.  Pumpkin seeds are a great source of fiber, protein, iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and potassium.  They are also reported to help lower cholesterol and address cardiac issues.

Tasty as a dip, filling for pasta (think stuffed shells or cannelloni), or in grilled sandwiches, this cheeze packs a punch with lots of fresh garlic, spicy hot peppers and fresh and dried herbs. This delicious spread is made with organic pepitas (from Trader Joe’s), which are shelled pumpkin seeds, ready to use.  Please note that a high-speed blender is needed to get a really creamy end product.

Pepitas Jar SpilledINGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Organic Pepitas, soaked overnight or 8 hours

2 Tbsp. Coconut Yogurt (can use other non-dairy yogurt)

1-2 Tbsp. Tbsp. Naturally Fermented Pickle or Sauerkraut Juice (Optional – can reduce yogurt by 1 Tbsp. if using)

¼ Cup Water

½ Tsp. Salt

Pepitas½ Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Dried Italian Herbs (spicy preferred – can also add ¼ Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes)

1-2 Tsp. Chopped Herbs (Basil, Thyme, Parsley work well)

4 Cloves Garlic, Crushed

Pumpkin Cheeze Closer UpHOW TO MAKE IT:

Step One:  Drain soaked pepitas and place in container of a high-speed blender (Vitamix, Blendtec, etc.) along with yogurt, pickle juice (if using), water and salt.  Blend at high speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping sides as necessary.  You can add more water if too thick but you do not want it too loose.

Step Two:  Place in a glass bowl, covered with cheesecloth and set aside in a warm place for 24-72 hours.  The mixture may have a greenish tint – heck, it’s from green seeds — so don’t worry about it should that be the case.

Step Three:  The fermentation should begin in about 36 hours.  Taste each day to assess tanginess.  When cheeze begins to ferment, mix in pepper, herbs, and garlic.  Let mixture sit for another day or so, covered with cheesecloth.

Step Four:  Adjust seasonings when cheeze is fully fermented.  It will have a tangy, spicy flavor.

ENJOY on crackers, toast, potatoes, etc.  Also pairs well with a sparkly beverage or wine.

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