Make Ahead

Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese

December  2, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves a crowd
Author Notes

We usually stick pumpkin at the end of the meal, in the form of pie. But my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese Dip brings pumpkin to the head of the table. Place a large warm pot of this stuff on your coffee table surround it by fresh chopped veggies, crackers and bread and you are set! Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese Dip is cozy enough for a pajama party yet chic enough for a party dress gathering. - kathynyc —kathynyc

Test Kitchen Notes

Kathynyc's delicious and versatile Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese is a really solid dip recipe to have in your recipe files. I tried three variations - one with the pumpkin pie spice, one with garam masala, and one with ancho and they were all great. I would like to try making it again with chipotle, which seems like it would also work well. The pumpkin seeds toast up nicely in the oven, the top takes on a pretty golden color, and it has a nice, thick texture. In addition to using as a dip with apple slices and crackers, I've been eating this on toast for breakfast. I highly recommend this recipe! —VanessaS

What You'll Need
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in salted water
  • 1/2 cup reserved soaking water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons sea salt
  1. Soak the raw cashews overnight in salted water. Drain, but reserve the water for use in the dip.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  3. Add the drained cashews, pumpkin, maple syrup, lemon juice, oil, salt and spices to a food processor or high speed blender, Add the water in a few splashes at a time. (If you are infusing the water with saffron, as I mentioned in my Hot Dip Tip, be sure to add in that step) Add more if needed. You want to process the cheese into a thick texture - a bit thicker than hummus. Process until the desired texture is reached (at least 2 minutes on high). Do a taste test. Add in more spices/salt/sweetener/lemon juice as you see fit. You can also add in additional flavor changers like harissa for a smoky/spicy taste. Or crushed sage for a warm herbed flavor.
  4. Pour your cheese into your baking serving dish. Sprinkle a few modest spices on top. You can also top with a few pumpkin seeds as a nice garnish. The seeds will toast up nicely in the oven. Shallow dishes will result in a firmer/drier end product. Deep dishes will keep your smooth creamy texture.
  5. For a shallow dish, bake at 250 for 50+ minutes. For the deep dish where you only want to warm the center and crisp the top you only need to bake at 250 for 20-30 minutes. The cheese dip will dry out the longer you bake it. The more you bake cashew cheese the more familiar you will get with your baking preferences.
  6. Plating. Serve warm. You can also chill and firm up in the fridge if you'd like a cold pumpkin cheese dip. I enjoy both options. Serve with veggies, crackers, bread cubes. You can also add a drizzle of oil and/or maple syrup over top the final serving cheese if you'd like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lazyretirementgirl
  • kathynyc
  • SavoryinSTL
  • Blissful Baker
    Blissful Baker
  • hardlikearmour

10 Reviews

Lazyretirementgirl April 11, 2019
This was absolutely lovely on toast and as a dip for sliced pears. Thanks so much for a delightful idea.
BTLover2 May 3, 2012
This recipe sounds fabulous! I'm wondering if it would change the flavor tremendously if I substituted canola oil for the grapeseed. Thanks!!
Lazyretirementgirl April 11, 2019
I actually used sesame oil since it seemed apt with the flavor profile and it worked nicely. I suspect substituting one neutral oil for another would make no difference in the taste or texture.
humbled January 14, 2011
Hot Dip Tip?
kathynyc January 14, 2011
yikes! Yes, both those "cakes" are supposed to be "cups" if an editor could fix that would be fabulous!
SavoryinSTL January 14, 2011
Editor: Are the ingredients really supposed to read "1/2 cake reserved soaking water" and "1/4 cake maple syrup"? I'm thinking "cup." Although who doesn't love cake?
kathynyc January 14, 2011
yes, cakes = cups ..whoops...
Blissful B. January 14, 2011
I don't think words can express just how fabulous this dip is. I found this on Kathy's blog before Thanksgiving & brought it to a potluck celebration with friends. It was the hit of the party. Literally every guest asked for the recipe, and many of us went on to make it for our families at Christmas, where it was just as popular. You don't often find something that's vegan, gluten free & delicious. (Don't let those words scare you away! I'm a dairy-loving carnivore with a sweet tooth & I love this dip.) It's a hit with kids & adults alike. I serve it with sliced apples, cauliflower florets & naan bread.
kathynyc January 14, 2011
BB, so sweet! this comment made my Friday. ~K
hardlikearmour December 2, 2010
This sounds yummy. One of my friends is vegan so it's nice to find some new recipes to try.