Vegan Cream ‘Cheese’, Spiced Pickled Beetroot & Lettuce Sandwich
This vegan cream cheese, pickled beetroot & lettuce sandwich is fabulous for packed lunches. Indeed it’s a good standby for any time you need a quick meal in a hurry. The recipe for vegan cream ‘cheese’ is super simple to prepare and is made with only 3 ingredients (not counting salt and water). If you’re a beet fan like me, you’ll also find an easy recipe for spiced pickled beetroot.
Vegan Cream ‘Cheese’, Spiced Pickled Beetroot & Lettuce Sandwich
If I’m at home at lunch time, I tend to have an omelette or poached egg on toast, but when I’m taking a packed lunch to work, I invariably make up a cheese and beetroot sandwich. Sometimes, however, I feel a break from dairy is needed. That’s where this vegan cream ‘cheese’ comes in. It’s principally made from cashew nuts that have had a good soak in water. Cashews are brilliant for absorbing flavours and they are easier than other nuts to blend too. I used my Optimum Vac2 Air Vacuum Blender*, which did a brilliant job, as ever.
I know beetroot isn’t everyone’s favourite vegetable, but I really like it. Pickling these deep purple roots is a good way of having some to hand in an accessible and tasty form. Throw in a few spices and a hottish chilli and it transforms this most humble of veg into something almost exotic. If pickled beetroot really isn’t your thing, you could use some of these delicious carrot pickles instead.
For my sandwich bread, I cut a couple of slices from my homemade rye & spelt sourdough bread. I don’t have the exact recipe on my blog, but it’s very similar to this apple and hazelnut spelt rye sourdough loaf. Instead of adding apple, hazelnuts and cinnamon, I throw in a variety of seeds. My favourites are linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and caraway seeds.
My vegan cream ‘cheese’ tastes surprisingly like a good tangy dairy cream cheese. It’s really very tasty. It’s also easy to spread on bread or crackers; making sandwiches has never been less trouble. I spread both slices of my sandwich bread with the cream ‘cheese’, then add a layer of beetroot and a layer of lettuce. It works for me.
Once you’ve made your sandwich, you’ll have the added benefit of a large jar of delicious spiced pickled beetroot slices and a bowl of vegan cream ‘cheese’ to enjoy for many days to come.
5 Ways to Add Variety to Your Vegan Cream Cheese
The recipe I’ve given is for a basic cream ‘cheese’. This is very good on its own, but sometimes it’s good to change things up a bit. Here are a few optional extras that’ll make your vegan cream ‘cheese’ more interesting.
- Stir in a very good grinding of black pepper.
- Substitute smoked sea salt for ordinary sea salt.
- Add ½ tsp smoked paprika at the blending stage.
- Blend in 1 clove raw garlic or 2 cloves of roasted garlic.
- A few sprigs of fresh herbs. Choose your favourite or mix them up a bit. Chives are particularly good. These can either be added at the blending stage to make a light green cheese, or finely chopped and stirred in afterwards.
Suma is one of my favourite wholefood suppliers. They’re ethical, have a massive range of organic produce and you can buy in bulk. Space is a bit of an issue, as I don’t have a particularly big kitchen, but I try to bulk buy some items as a) it’s cheaper and b) I like to be well stocked with a few basics.
Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what spices I was going to use for my spiced pickled beetroot, so I ordered a few to give myself some wiggle room. In the end I went with a cinnamon stick, a clove, star anise and one of our own dried chillies.
Apple cider vinegar is my favourite vinegar for pickling. It isn’t too harsh and it has a fantastic flavour. Its also quite good for you, especially if it hasn’t been heat treated. Suma stock a really nice brand that produces raw vinegar, just as I like it.
Rather than use cane sugar, as I normally do when pickling, I decided to try coconut sugar instead. It’s said to have a lower glycemic index than ordinary sugar and contains quite a few welcome minerals. I’ve used it quite a lot in baking, but reckoned it would work well with the earthy flavour of beetroot. It did.
As for the vegan cream ‘cheese’, I ended up using cashew nuts only, though I had considered adding tahini at one point. I might try that next time I make some.
Vegan Cream ‘Cheese’, Spiced Pickled Beetroot & Lettuce Sandwich – The Recipe
This tasty vegan sandwich is fabulous for packed lunches and when you've made the cream 'cheese' and pickled beetroot, you'll have a well stocked fridge that will keep you going for days.
- 2 slices of good quality wholemeal bread
- 1-3 crunchy lettuce leaves depending on size
- 4 medium sized beetroot - scrubbed well
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 200 ml cider vinegar
- 50 g coconut sugar
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 clove
- 1 dried chilli hot
- 1 star anise optional
- 175 g cashew nuts
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ⅓ tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp filtered water
- Place the beetroot and salt in a medium pan and cover with water. Cook for 30-40 minutes until just tender, but still firm. Drain, but reserve the salted cooking water.
- Allow the beets to cool, then cut into slices - about the thickness of a £1 coin.
- Place in a sterilised 750ml jar.
- Place the remaining ingredients into a pan along with 125ml of the cooking water and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to the boil then pour over the beetroot slices. Allow to cool, then seal.
- Place the cashew nuts in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Place a lid or plate on the bowl and leave to soak overnight.
- Drain and rinse the cashews.
Place all the ingredients into a blender or small bowl food processor - I used a Froothie Power Blender - Optimum Vac2 Air Vacuum Blender*.
- Pulse until the cashews are finely ground, then blend on low speed for a 2-5 minutes, until you've achieved a smooth and non-grainy consistency. The time taken will depend on the machine you're using. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more water.
- Spread a tbsp of the cashew cheese over each slice of bread.
- Lay 2-4 slices of pickled beetroot over one slice (depending on size of slices).
- Cover with lettuce, then sandwich with the remaining cheese covered slice.
Cheese will keep covered in the fridge for a good week or so. Once opened, the beetroot will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks. Star anise has a distinctive and powerful aniseed type flavour, so use it with caution. If you can't get hold of coconut sugar, use dark muscovado sugar instead.
Other vegan sandwich recipes you might like
- Curried chickpea smash sandwich via A Bit of the Good Stuff
- Lentil ‘tuna’ spread via The Green Loot
- Pulled jackfruit in a bun via Tin and Thyme
- Not yo momma’s eggy sandwich via Hey Brittney
- Roasted vegetable and tofu sandwiches via Tinned Tomatoes
- Tofu, lettuce & tomato sandwich via Tin and Thyme
- Tuna salad melt via The Hidden Veggies
This vegan cream cheese, spiced pickled beetroot & lettuce sandwich is my sixteenth recipe for the Suma Blogger’s Network.
I’m also sharing this vegan cream ‘cheese’ & spiced pickled beetroot sandwich with Casa Costello for #CookBlogShare. As both the beetroot and ‘cheese’ will last a while, I’m sending the recipe to Searching for Spice for #CookOnceEatTwice.
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Vegan Cream ‘Cheese’ Sandwich. PIN IT.
Some of the ingredients for this recipe were provided by Suma Wholefoods. I was not expected to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. This post contains affiliate links to Froothie Optimum products*. Links are marked with an *. Buying through a link will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging.