Tangy, rich, and SO cheesy, plus a hint of spice, this Vegan Pimento Cheese is obsession-worthy! Try it just once, and you'll completely understand. Made with real ingredients (including one secret ingredient that changes everything). Gluten- and oil-free, with a nut-free option. A high-speed blender makes this cheese in a snap! Don't have one? See instructions for soaking the nuts/seeds.Yield: makes about 1¾ cups
1cupcooked rice such as jasmine, basmati, or Arborio (see Notes section)When measuring the rice, spoon it into a measuring cup, don't pack it completely full. You can always add more rice later, but you can't take it away. More rice = drier/firmer pimento cheese.
1cupraw cashews (for nut-free sub ⅔ cup raw sunflower seeds)If not using a high-speed blender see instructions below.
2tsphot sauce (I like Crystal brand; sub other red hot sauce if desired)
1 tspfine sea salt
⅓cupchopped pimentos (4 oz. jar), drained and gently squeezed to remove some of the liquidIf your pimentos are in strips be sure to chop them.
NOTES:It's important to measure accurately, especially with acidic ingredients. Small variations can throw off the salt/acid balance.Don't have ahigh-speed blender? Place raw cashews in a bowl, and cover with hot water. Let soak for about two hours (or soak seeds for 30 minutes). Then, drain very well, and proceed with steps below using a food processor if you have one, and if not, a standard blender.
Combine the cashews, water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, rice vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, salt, and cayenne in a blender (this is everything except the rice and pimentos). Gradually increase to high speed, and blend for about 30 seconds or until mostly smooth. Add half of the pimentos, and blend until completely smooth.
Pour the cheese mixture into a bowl. Use a spoon or silicone spatula to remove as much of the cheese as possible from the blender. Stir in the rice and remaining pimentos. Lightly press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the cheese to protect from air. For the best flavor, refrigerate for several hours before serving. This allows the rice to absorb the cheese sauce and for all of the flavors to mingle. It tastes even better the next day.
The pimento cheese will firm up as it chills. Serve cool.
Type of Rice8/10/20 update: I originally thought brown rice wouldn't work in this recipe, but I'm happy to report that it does! I still recommend one of the white rice options for the best results, but if brown rice is what you have on hand, or you just prefer to eat whole-grains only, definitely go for it! The pimento cheese flavor and texture will still be great. Storage:Lightly press a piece of plastic wrap onto the pimento cheese to protect from air. Cover fully, and refrigerate. Best consumed within 3 to 4 days.