Paleo Lemon Zest Cashew Cheese

As a kid, I spent most of my summer days running around my backyard and splashing around in the pool. My brother and I are a year apart in age so we would have all of our friends over and spend our days laughing, swimming, and playing. After a long day in the sun, we would come inside and grab a bag of tortilla chips and shredded cheese to make our delicious microwave nachos. I carried this recipe with me until I began dating my husband. He would come over after work, and I would impress him with my shredded cheese layering skills resulting in the perfect microwave melt over every single corn tortilla chip. He was happy, and I was proud to have provided him with a tasty snack. Fast forward over 9 years later since we began dating, I moved on from the microwave nachos and now make my own cashew cheese from scratch.

Cashew cheese takes time to make because it requires soaking. Along with all the other ingredients, it can be even more time consuming to craft. I woke up one morning and wanted to create a delicious spin on my old-school nachos, so I put some cashews in a water bowl before leaving for the day and came home to them perfectly soaked. I opened my fridge to see how I could make a delicious cashew cheese by the time he came back from work. I put all of my heart and soul into creating the tangiest, delicious, and fresh cashew cheese that I had ever tasted. The garage door opened around 8:30 pm, and he walked in with the same smile that he did when we started dating. I presented him with my cashew cheese, and his eyes lit up before he could take a bite. After trying my cheese, it was certain that this was his new favorite item. I put a lid on it and took it to the fridge to save for later. The next evening, when I went to grab my cheese to take another photo before letting my husband dive in, it slipped, and the glass and cheese exploded all over the kitchen floor. All of that effort was shattered into inedible pieces. I was devastated as I cleaned up my once beautiful creation that was now a clumpy, gooey mess. The excitement of enjoying my cashew cheese with my homemade crackers was soon turned into an embarrassment. I made such a simple mistake as my husband was watching me in what I thought was going to be a proud moment. While I was scooping up the cashew blob and shredded glass off of the kitchen floor, I thought of the lesson of the sand mandala.

The sand mandala ritual is part of the Buddhist culture, where Buddhist monks from Tibet make beautiful works of art with sand then destroy them once finished. The process of creating the mandala is to show that nothing is permanent and we are always in a constant state of flux. The beautiful part about this tradition is the peace and harmony that comes from creating the work and not from the end result. With the cashew cheese, I was so focused on the end result that I forgot to enjoy the process. The process of cooking and working with food fuels me and allows me to have a creative outlet. If I am only focused on the end result, then I am depriving myself of positive emotions. I will take this lesson with me as I am off to create more adventures and new recipes.

Paleo Lemon Zest Cashew Cheese

Tangy and zesty with a hint of lemon, this cashew cheese is both refreshing and satisfying.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Cashew, Cheese, Lemon
Servings: 6
Calories: 150kcal
Author: Jessica Gatena


  • Food Processor


  • 1 cup Raw Cashews
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 tbsp Golden Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Water


  • Measure 1 cup of raw cashews and soak in 2 cups water for a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Once soaked, drain and add to a small food processor with all remaining ingredients, adding the water last.
  • Blend until all cashews chucks are removed and a paste forms.


Store in an airtight container up to 7 days in the fridge.

Calories 149.42/ Fat (grams)10.55 / Sat. Fat (grams) 1.80 / Carbs (grams) 9.83 / Fiber (grams) 2.56 / Net carbs 7.27 Sugar (grams) 1.45 / Protein (grams) 6.88 / Sodium (milligrams) 266.19 / Cholesterol (grams)0.11