Gluten Free

Nut Cheese with Pickled Vegetables

Though Pana Chocolate are typically known for their sweet treats, today head chef Amber Roche is exploring a more savoury side of her repertoire!

Like all Pana’s recipes, Amber’s nut cheese is vegan, raw and gluten free.  Here, it’s served with pickled vegetables and savoury cacao crumb ‘soil’ – bringing together sweet and salty, smooth and crisp, sour and fresh all on one plate!

Amber Roche of Pana Chocolate
Tasty Tuesday is proudly sponsored by Siemens

Nut cheese with pickled vegetables ingredients. Stone Fossil Trivet from Safari Living. Styling – Lucy Feagins, styling assistant – Nat Turnbull, photo – Eve Wilson.


Nut cheese served with pickled vegetables. Tapas dinner plate from Country Road, HAY Gold Dot glass from CULT and Cutipol Fork from Francalia. Styling – Lucy Feagins, styling assistant – Nat Turnbull, photo – Eve Wilson.

Amber Roche of Pana Chocolate
21st of July 2015

We’re typically known for our sweet treats at Pana, but we thought this month presented a perfect opportunity to showcase our more savoury side!

This is a dish that brings together both the traditional concept of cacao (sweet) with the challenge of new (savoury). The pickled vegetables ‘growing’ from the cacao soil combined with the nut cheese brings together a myriad of flavours which touches sweet, salty, smooth, crisp, sour and fresh in one plate. This is the dish if you dare to be different!

1/2 cup quinoa
Filtered Water
2 cups cashews, soaked (see tips below for soaking)
1/4 cup Rejuvelac
Pinch Himalayan pink salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon, juiced
Additional nutritional yeast
220g nut flour
20g cacao powder
2 pinches Himalayan pink salt
150g Medjool dates
150g cashews, soaked (see tips below for soaking)
1 cup coconut sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar


For the nut cheese

To make the rejuvelac

Rinse quinoa and place in a large jar. Fill with water and soak at room temperature for 24 hours. After 24 hours, drain and rinse quinoa and place back in jar. Leave to sprout at room temperature for two days. Little sprouts should start to form after one day.

When sprouted, gently rinse quinoa and place back in jar. Fill with 2 cups of filtered water. Cover the top with a cheese cloth or cloth that will allow the mixture to breath. Sit at room temperature for 2-3 days.

After this time, drain and store liquid in fridge (see tips for alternate uses of liquid).

To make the cheese

Blend all ingredients together using a high speed blender and blend until very smooth. Scrape down sides occasionally to ensure all is blended evenly.

Cover and sit at room temperature for two days. The rejuvelac helps with the fermentation process of the cheese. You will notice the cheese expanding, it will resemble bread dough.

Once the cheese has expanded, add nutritional yeast, salt and lemon juice to cheese mix. Stir to combine. The nutritional yeast adds a natural cheesy flavour which really compliments the fermented cashews.

Place 300g of the cheese into a sausage shape between baking paper. Try to get out all of the air before rolling up and tightening on both sides. Keep tightening to compact the cheese mix into a sausage shape (approximately 14cm long x 6cm thick).

Refrigerate for three days so the cheese has time to firm up. Keep in fridge until ready to serve. The mixture will keep for a couple of weeks like this. Roll cheese in nutritional yeast again 2 days prior to serving.

Spread remaining cheese mixture on to a dehydrator tray lined with a silicon mat and dehydrate at 40 degrees overnight in a dehydrator (see tips below for dehydrating in conventional oven). Break this in to small shards to become your parmesan crisps!

For the cacao ‘soil’

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until mixture comes together slightly and resembles soil. You may need to add an extra date if your nut flour is too dry.

For the sour cream

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth. Taste and add further salt and lemon as required to resemble the taste of sour cream.

Place in container with an airtight lid. Refrigerate until needed. The mixture will firm up a little overnight.

For the pickled vegetables

Place ingredients in a bowl and whisk until sugar has dissolved.

Prepare vegetable and place in pickling solution. This can be done in advance as vegetables will keep for a couple of weeks if completely covered in liquid.

To serve

To serve, place two heaped tablespoons of sour cream into each bowl. Cut cashew cheese into 2cm rounds and place on top of each sour cream dollop. Cover cheese with 1/2 cup of cacao soil and distribute a range of pickled vegetables over cacao soil. Garnish with some fresh vegetables and herbs and finish with some parmesan crisps!


For dehydrating :
We use a dehydrator a lot at work to obtain a crispy texture whilst ensuring all our ingredients remain raw. If you don’t own a dehydrator, you can use a conventional oven on the lowest possible temperature, and using baking paper instead of a silicon mat. However, if the lowest setting is above 42 degrees, the dish will no longer officially be considered ‘raw’, but the end result will be very similar in taste / texture. Timings will differ per oven, but generally slow and steady is best, as you don’t want your ingredients to cook! Allow at least 8 hours (or overnight) and keep an eye on the dehydration process in the final stages.

For nut soaking :
We suggest using filtered water for best results, however you can also use tap water.

Rejuvelac :
Rejuvelac can be used as a nutritious drink as well as for making nut cheeses. It is a probiotic which is great for regulating gut bacteria. Soaking and sprouting quinoa and mixing with water is like creating a fermented beverage. Bit sour, not so flavoursome, but still refreshing.

Recent Gluten Free