Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta

You probably already know the health benefits of nuts—they’re full of protein and unsaturated fats. But what you might not know is that each kind of nut has unique health benefits. Another little-known fact? They can be made into delicious dairy-free cheeses!

I love using macadamia nuts when making fermented cheese, because they contain vitamin A, iron, protein (two grams per serving!), thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. They also contain small amounts of selenium (an antioxidant), calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

What all of this means is that macadamia nuts support digestion, bone health, and protect skin and hair. So you can probably guess that I love finding excuses to use these in my dishes. If you’re still not loving macadamia nuts, almonds are another great option for this recipe.

New to using nuts? One tip: nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted because they contain enzyme inhibitors that can strain the digestive tract when consumed in excess. Soaking your nuts makes them easier to digest and their nutrients more readily available. Salt also activates enzymes that neutralize enzyme inhibitors.

Now, on to the recipe…

Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta

Yield: 2 cups nut cheese

Ingredients
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
1 cup coconut kefir, or 1 cup water with 2 capsules of probiotic powder
1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion
1-2 tsp. nutritional yeast flakes or miso
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼-⅛ tsp. salt, plus more for soaking the nuts

Equipment
Jar for soaking the nuts
Nut cheese bag (Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag or Iqzeens Nut Milk Bag) or a paint strainer bag from you local hardware store. Alternatively, try this cheesecloth.

Directions

  1. Soak nuts overnight in salt water, then dry in a warm oven or dehydrator.
  2. Blend nuts and coconut kefir in a high-speed blender and continue to mix until smooth. Add more of your liquid if necessary to form a smooth, creamy texture. 
  3. Pour into a nut bag or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to strain for 18-48 hours.
  4. After the fermentation process, remove the cheese from the nut bag or cheesecloth. Combine with the green onion, nutritional yeast, lemon, garlic, and salt.
  5. Refrigerate the cheese until ready to use. Season further or sweeten your cheese as desired before serving.

Gut Girl Notes

  • Be sure to store your cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator; nut cheese will last for up to two weeks.
  • When straining, you can place the nut bag over a bowl or a colander with a weight on top. This will apply pressure and push out the excess liquid over the process time. The longer it sits the more tart your nut cheese will be, so feel free to give it a little taste along the way. I like to let it sit for a couple of days.  

Next week I’ll be sharing my Watermelon & Fermented Goat Cheese Summer Salad, so be sure to check back for a fun way to use your new cheese-making skills. And you can always let me know what you think in the comments below, or snap a picture and tag us! I’d love to see what you create.