Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread Appetizer by Beautiful Ingredient

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread Appetizer by Beautiful Ingredient

vegan | wfpb | gluten-free | dairy-free  | oil-free | 10 ingredients or less | 15 minutes or less

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread with Figs, by Beautiful Ingredient

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread with Figs, by Beautiful Ingredient

It's true, my absolute favorite way to eat is vegan.  Plant-based.  Real whole foods.  Eating this way doesn't just make me feel better.  I now find it tastes better, and it's food I can trust, food I know and love as food without including any "gross factor" - there's nothing that I would have to avoid thinking too much about in order to continue eating, and I certainly like taking the "gross" and "inhumane" out of the equation.  There's no inner turmoil anymore about what my food is made of.  I just like eating 100% plants, so I do.  I find real plant-based food generally tastes better and I have never felt better since eating this way.  

One thing I do miss as a vegan, though, is a good ol' cheese platter.  Back in the day, my favorite cheese platters always included a variety of cheeses, each pairing differently with something like fig so that the fig experience altered depending on the cheese it was eaten with.  I remember how wonderfully decadent, rich cheese goes with fruits, veggies, crackers and breads.  Cheese platters are one of those great communal dining experiences, and I like the idea of bringing that experience into a vegan lifestyle.

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread Appetizer by Beautiful Ingredient

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread Appetizer by Beautiful Ingredient

Vegan cheese platter cheesy Spread #1

When fresh figs finally became available recently, I found myself longing for one of those cheese platters with figs as the star fruit.  So I started messing around in the kitchen, looking for a way to take a first step toward a vegan cheese platter.  Anytime I can create a recipe that's quick, easy, AND delicious - well, then I feel like I've reached my ultimate goal.  So, I steered away from complicated processes and even wanted to avoid the delay of soaking nuts.  Instead, I toasted nuts so that they were ready to go in 5 minutes.  Toasted nuts add depth and yes, richness to this spread, creating the ideal foundation for something cheesy.  From there, I added flavors I thought would pair well with figs, including the cheesiness of nutritional yeast, and the result is so rich and satisfying I don't miss the actual cheese.  

I'm so loving how this came out.  The spread is dreamy with the figs - mission accomplished!  I am so happy to include some fresh greens - the arugula brings a lovely pepperiness to the spread.  We are relying on just basic, real-food ingredients here with no need for added oils to achieve that richness - yay!  The texture is slightly sticky and holds together enough to form into a shape, like a disc or ball - yay, yay!  I'm getting inspired to create a few more varieties of cheesy goodness so that I can eventually make a whole vegan cheesy platter, but for now we will consider this the First Cheesy.  

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheese-y Ball, by Beautiful Ingredient

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheese-y Ball, by Beautiful Ingredient

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread is rich, salty, a little sweet, and pairs deliciously with anything you'd normally include on a cheese platter.  Especially figs!


arugula-pecan vegan cheesy spread Recipe


vegan | wfpb | gluten-free | dairy-free  | oil-free | 10 ingredients or less | 15 minutes or less

Yield:  About 1/2 cups

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  5 minutes

Total time:  15 minutes

Primary Tools:  small pan, small food processor or blender, biscuit cutter (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsweeted coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup arugula
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

  1. Pre-heat a small pan over medium heat for a couple minutes.  Reduce to medium-low, then add the pecans.  Toast the pecans in the pan for about 5 minutes, shaking or flipping the pecans occasionally to toast evenly.  Remove from heat and let cool a couple minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place all of the ingredients in a small food processor or blender.  Once cooled a bit, add the pecans.  Process until all ingredients are well incorporated and evenly chopped.
  3. Form into a ball or use a biscuit cutter to form into a disc.  Alternatively, simply place it in a container.  Spread on crackers, figs, sandwiches, or anything else you'd like to spread it on!  Store in the refrigerator up to a week, depending on the freshness of your arugula.
Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread, by Beautiful Ingredient

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread, by Beautiful Ingredient

Use a simple biscuit cutter to form the cheesy spread into a disc.  By beautiful Ingredient

Use a simple biscuit cutter to form the cheesy spread into a disc.  By beautiful Ingredient

To FORM THE CHEESY SPREAD INTO A ROUND:

Stainless Steel Circle Molds/Biscuit Cutters

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Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread Appetizer for a Vegan Cheese Platter, by Beautiful Ingredient

Arugula-Pecan Vegan Cheesy Spread Appetizer for a Vegan Cheese Platter, by Beautiful Ingredient