BRYANNA'S VEGAN LABANEH (“YOGURT CHEESE”) SPREAD

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup    raw cashews 

1 12.3 ounce box    extra-firm silken tofu 

1/4 cup           soy or coconut yogurt  

1/2 teaspoon        salt  

1/2 teaspoon    probiotic powder (optional)  

1/ 1000-2000 mg    vitamin C pill, crushed to a powder (for tang!)  

(place the pill on a flat surface and crush with the flat bottom of a bowl or plate, then crush any larger pieces left with the back of a spoon.)  

1/4 teaspoon        sugar  

Traditional topping:  

   olive oil  

   Za'tar (Levantine herb mixture of wild thyme, sesame seeds and sumac.)

 

Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand while you prepare the tofu.

Crumble the silken tofu into a colander lined with a square of clean cotton sheeting or something similar (don't use cheap household cheesecloth-- the holes are to big!), with the cloth hanging over the side of the colander so that you have enough cloth to twist together at the top.

Gather the ends of the cloth together and twist and squeeze the cloth to extract as much water as you can from the tofu. After a few twists, open it up and scrape the tofu down to the bottom of the "bag" and twist again. With the ends of cloth twisted tightly and held in place, squeeze or press the bag-- anything to get as much water as possible out of the tofu.

Place the resulting tofu in a food processor or powerful blender. Drain the cashews well and pat dry and add them to the machine with the tofu, along with the other ingredients. Process or blend until as smooth as possible-- this may take several minutes.

Scrape the mixture into a wide, shallow bowl and spread it out evenly. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the Za'tar, too, if you like, or paprika, chopped fresh parsley or mint, etc.. Serve with Middle Eastern meals, pita or other flatbread, Greek olives, cucumbers and tomatoes, etc.

          Nutrition (per 1/4 cup serving)(not counting the olive oil): 102.1 calories; 54% calories from fat; 6.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 195.9mg sodium; 163.7mg potassium; 5.3g carbohydrates; 0.5g fiber; 1.9g sugar; 4.8g net carbs; 6.6g protein; 2.5 points.