Eat Well Jul. 31. 2018

Cracker Bites With Lemon Cashew Cheese Dip

Jul. 31. 2018
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Cashews that are rich in minerals and healthy fats make these cracker bites with lemon cashew cheese dip a crowd-favorite.

If you’re in a meal planning rut or just have no idea what to make last minute when a group of your girlfriends comes over to hang out, then you’re going to love this creamy, cheesy dip.

With the bright flavor of lemon, this is a new spin on the classic NS favorite, cashew cheese. It’s rich in protein, minerals, and healthy fats, it tastes delicious and it only requires two steps — perfect for throwing together for a quick appetizer for a get together with friends or batch cooking for the week to add to any meal on the fly.

How To Keep Meals Interesting — Put A Dip On It

Batch cooking can seem overwhelming at times but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re struggling with feeling uninspired with what to make, try rotating in dips and sauces each week. Dips and sauces are so easy to make, and they can add so much flavor, versatility, and a fun factor to staple foods you enjoy eating from week to week.

Try this lemon cashew cheese dip on Nourish Bowls, with your favorite raw or roasted veggies, or on your favorite crackers plain or with a little wild-caught smoked salmon and dill.

The Best Hack For Making A Quick Appetizer

It’s key to make your pantry and fridge work for you, meaning that you’re always stocked with the ingredients you need to make recipes on the fly or when you need to.

So, if you’re throwing a party or inviting your friends over last minute, try this recipe! It’s going to look like you put in a lot of hard work and time into it, and it’s truly about making something homemade and being resourceful with your pantry items.

Yes, you can totally make homemade crackers and I love to, but when it comes to having healthy snacks ready to go, I always have a pantry full of whole food brands that I love, including crackers. I always keep Simple Mills gluten-free crackers stocked because they’re made with simple, nutrient-dense ingredients — the almond flour crackers only have 10 ingredients which is completely NS approved. You can find them at any Whole Foods nationwide which makes it easy to stock up on and they also come in convenient snack pack options that I love to have on me any time I need a quick snack that I can feel great about.

Next up, make the dip! It’ll take about 10-20 minutes depending on how speedy you are in the kitchen, then all it requires is you to spread the dip on a cracker, top it with smoked salmon, fresh dill, and fresh black pepper then voila, you just created an appetizer your friends will think is super fancy.

Another fun way to serve these cracker bites is to leave some plain with just the lemon cashew cheese and black pepper for those who don’t enjoy salmon — you can sprinkle protein-rich hemp seeds on them instead or a little fresh herb. The possibilities are endless! I even served these cracker bites one evening with a couple trays of veggies and fruits and my friend added a sliced strawberry to the cracker bite with lemon cashew cheese and it was delicious too!

This post was in partnership with Simple Mills — we only partner with brands that are NS approved and all our opinions are authentic and remain our own.

If you do make a batch of the lemon cashew cheese on your batch cooking day, make sure to store in an airtight container in the refrigerator so you can enjoy all week long, and if you’re making this as an appetizer for friends to enjoy, go ahead and plan on not having any leftovers, because this dip is that delicious!

Plant-Based Protein

That nutritional yeast? It’s a great source of plant-based protein —and B vitamins and fiber — in a very small volume. Just 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast contain 8-10g protein (depending on brand), and it’s a “complete” protein. Thanks to its strong flavor, it’s a great cheesy substitute without using any dairy. Read more about nutritional yeast here.


Cashews contain minerals such as zinc, manganese, copper, and selenium, all of which are important for our immune system and overall health. Salmon also contains iron, an essential mineral for thyroid health.

Healthy Fats:

We can thank the cashews for a nice boost of healthy fats. Fats provide our body with a layer of protection, insulating our organs and keeping our core body temperature normal.

They also help us digest fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K to keep our brains, cells, hormones, tissues, hair, skin, and nails healthy, and provide the structural component to many cell membranes which are essential for cellular development.


The Recipe

Serves 6-8


1 cup raw cashews (ideally soaked for 20 minutes in warm water, discard the water)

1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon plain unsweetened coconut kefir (may also use coconut yogurt)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste

Fresh black pepper, to taste

1/3-1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

2-4 tablespoons of hot water, as needed

Used in assembly:

2-3 ounces of wild-caught Alaskan smoked salmon, optional

Fresh dill

Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers

Step 1

Ideally and if you have time, soak the raw cashews in warm water for 20 minutes to until just softened. If you only have 5 minutes, then add boiling water to the raw cashews to soften them quickly.

Add all ingredients, except the “for the assembly” ingredients, to a food processor and pulse until creamy.

Step 2

Adjust all seasonings to taste. Depending on the soak time of the raw cashew, you may need to add a little hot water to the mix, and that’s okay. The texture of this dip is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, similar to hummus. 


Have Leftovers? Here’s What To Do With Them:

As always, store in an airtight glass container that we recommend from the NS Shop for up to 5 days. Enjoy for a quick snack or appetizer at your next hang.

Can’t wait to see you try it!

Did you know that you can submit your own photo of whatever recipe you make from NS? Scroll down to the bottom right and you’ll see a section for you to show off your creations from home!

Can’t wait to see how you make these and share your meal with me! Tag us on Instagram @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped

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