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.