Pimento cheese is right up there with egg salad on my comfort food meter. Craving pimento cheese recently, but lamenting that even the vegan version is pretty calorie-laden, it occurred to me that shredded carrots–lightly blanched until tender-chewy–could perhaps substitute for shredded cheddar. Indeed!
No cheese-lover will be completely fooled, but they won’t be bothered one bit because this tasty spread is delicious, healthy, golden-orange, and an addicting nod to its namesake that can be enjoyed in all the same ways.
Tip for success: for an appetizing texture, it is critical that the carrots be dry before blending them with the other ingredients.
Yield: approximately 3 cups
- 1 pound carrots, scraped and shredded (I use a food processor for this task), blanched for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water, rinsed with cold water, drained, then blotted dry with paper towels (the blotting is VERY important to prevent a soggy product!)
- 1/4 cup grated yellow onion (I prefer the texture of grated onion to chopped in this recipe, but you may finely chop if you prefer)
- 7 ounces diced pimentos, rinsed, and drained both in a colander and on a paper towel-lined plate
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise, homemade or prepared
- 1 cup roasted and lightly salted cashew halves and pieces
- 1 teaspoon vegan miso (any color, but golden is nice) or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry or semi-dry red wine (I used a Petite Syrah)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Place blotted and very dry shredded carrots in a large mixing bowl along with grated onion and diced pimento.
- Combine remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process for several minutes or until quite smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Adjust the seasoning if desired. Scrape this “cheese” mixture into the bowl with the vegetables and stir gently, but thoroughly, to combine.
- Cover tightly and chill for at least 2 to 3 hours or until cold throughout.
- If the mixture seems more moist than you would like, you may place it, covered, in a colander over a bowl to drain for several hours (discard liquid); but it shouldn’t be if the carrots were dry going in.
Serve this Vegan Pimento Cheese Spread with crackers, spooned into the depression in celery sticks, or on toasted whole wheat bread as a sandwich.