Cooling Cucumber Crostini with Herbed Cashew Cheese + Tomato Jam

We are always on the lookout for simple, classy, healthy foods we can whip up easily and serve to a number of people. 

 This recipe is perfect for a simple weekend brunch, apps with wine for girls’ night, or most recently, a baby shower.  These crostini are loaded with nutrients, flavor and texture (because that counts too) — creamy cashew cheese, spicy heirloom tomato jam and cool cucumber stacked in perfect balance. We try to keep our recipes gluten and dairy free (vegan when we can). We eat this way and find it helps satisfy a majority of others’ food restrictions. Plus, its always fun to bring something different to the table and surprise your friends (and yourself!) with new and exciting flavors.

Heads up! This recipe requires a little prep work — soaking the cashews and letting them drain overnight. Don’t fret, make the “cheese” in advance and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the crostini. (Try not to eat it all before you finish the recipe, its that good!) If you’ve never made your own cashew cheese before you’re in for a real treat and (bonus!) everyone will be super impressed with your new skills!  

Seriously delicious, these crostini pack a healthy punch. Nutritional yeast lends a “cheesy”, savory flavor and is full of nutrients — specifically B Vitamins (super helpful for plant based diets), folic acid, protein and zinc. The spicy heirloom tomato jam will knock your socks off and keep your skin glowing! Tomatoes are high in lycopene which is not only great for your skin but is also helpful in fighting several types of cancer. Tomatoes also contain Vitamins A  + C and are high in antioxidants (hello shiny hair!) Cucumbers are more than a spa accessory (although they are great for reducing puffy eyes).  They contain mostly water which is great for eliminating toxins and keeping the body hydrated, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals that help fight cancer and keep your joints strong. This super cool veg balances out the heat from the tomato jam to perfection. 

So gather up your goods (you can find a majority of these items at your local grocer or health food store) and jam on it. Ha! See what we did there.. 

Cooling Cucumber Crostini with Herbed Cashew Cheese + Heirloom Tomato Jam

INGREDIENTS
GF Rosemary Focaccia Bread – Canyon Bakehouse
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin circles and then halved
optional: balsamic vinegar finishing drizzle

Drain cashews, but keep the water they have been soaking in just in case you need extra liquid. Place all ingredients (except for the chopped herbs) into a blender or food processor and blend until thick and creamy. Scoop out and fold in your chopped herbs. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and pour cashew cheese on top. Gather the cheesecloth and tie with a rubber band or string. Set the cheese/strainer set up on top of a small bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain any excess liquid from the cashew cheese and allow to drain overnight. *this cheese can then be baked and served warm, or served cold like we are in this recipe.

for the cashew cheese
1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for at least 2 hours)
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced onion
juice from 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pepper (to your liking)
1/2 teaspoon of each: thyme, oregano, basil, parsley 

 

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often to prevent tomatoes from sticking to the pan. Cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened to a jam-like consistency, close to an hour. This will keep for at least a week in an air-tight container kept in the refrigerator. Enjoy on anything that calls for a savory-sweet kick!

for the spicy heirloom tomato jam
3-4 ripe heirloom tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 
1/2 cup maple syrup
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt

assemble the crostini
Place a slice of herbed cashew cheese on top of toasted bread slices and top with cucumber and a dollop of spicy heirloom tomato jam. 

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