A cheese board is perfect on any table at any time, especially in spring when the market is full of peas, fruits, and radishes.

However, some of us don’t really eat cheese…

Enter: My version of adaptogenic plant “chz.”

As a plant-based chef I have been experimenting with the fermentation of nuts for many years: cloth drying, curing, smoking, and ageing various versions, looking for the tastiest cheese replacement. I’ve cultured macadamia, almond, pistachio, and even seeds like pumpkin and sunflower, but the best and easiest chz I find comes from cashew.

To make a chz board that will impress any dinner party, pair the chz along with sourdough bread, fermented dijon, watermelon radish, raw cauliflower, nasturtiums, as well as beets, cucumbers, and turnips (all pickled). The richness from the chz with the smokiness of the bread and zing from the pickles is a classic combo reinvented for a plant future!


3 cups Cashews, raw

1 Probiotic Pill

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Umami Powder (optional)


1 | Soak the nuts in a glass jar overnight.

2 | Drain the water and rinse the nuts.

3 | Blend them in a high speed blender with the probiotics, salt, and umami. Add water if needed to get a smooth, creamy texture.

4 | Wrap and hang in a cheesecloth overnight to let the water drain.

5 | Transfer to a glass jar and store in a warm spot. (The fermentation will happen much slower if it’s done in a cold spot.)

*To make a harder chz that is slicable and more cultured, ring mold the mixture on the racks of a dehydrator, pushing out all the air and placing in the dehydrator at 120 degrees for several days.

**Makes eight chz wedges.

Greg Arnold is the owner and chef of Dark Horse Organic. Before starting the company in 2017 Greg spent many years as a head chef opening some of Los Angeles’ favorite plant-based restaurants, including Sage, Cortez, Mesa Verde, Plant Food and Wine, and Of Aire. Learn more on social media at @darkhorseorganic.

In Your Inbox