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Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Vegan Cheese Log with Thyme

Vegan Pumplin Cranberry "Cheese" log

I’m in a holiday mood. It feels so welcome and refreshing because I haven’t felt this way in a while. For the last two years, I have been in the process of getting ready to move or had recently moved and I was simply too exhausted to put my normal holiday effort forth. Everything felt last minute and I had an attitude of “just get through it” which is completely out of character for me.

Back in Minnesota, Thanksgiving was a huge feast that brought family and friends together. Shortly after Thanksgiving, I would start decorating for Christmas, my favorite time of year. Every room was touched with candles, lights, or ornaments. Each fireplace had elaborate pine swags that I arranged, little piece by piece. Berries, holly, pinecones, all created a magical picture.

Often, even though I swore I would get the outside lights up before the first snow, I would find myself on the steep roof, standing in a couple of feet of the white stuff, clipping the strings to the edge of the roof. I know it sounds strange, but I loved it. The wind might be blowing and the snow falling but how can you feel bad when your arms are full of little white twinkling lights and snowflakes are blowing all around?

My first Christmas season in California was a struggle. I missed the cold and the snow. I missed the grey November skies have a beauty all of their own. The winter light playing off of the dark bare trees can be breathtakingly beautiful. These are the skies I was used to. The skies I love and missed horribly.

I also missed the silence. When the earth freezes and is covered by a blanket of snow, it is quiet. Blissfully quiet. You may hear the occasional winter birds or the wind in the pines but the daily hum of summer completely disappears. There is silence and it is peaceful. And restful. And a wonderful time to settle in and slow down a bit.

Somehow, looking out the window at palm trees (transplanted since we are in Northern Ca but here none the less) just wasn’t doing it for me. November would hit and I would get grumpy. I was tired of the sun and hearing crickets and lawn mowers in November. It just didn’t feel right for this Minnesota girl.

But this year something is shifting. I feel a little ember of desire. I am looking forward to getting the holidays in full swing. It took me by surprise yet delighted me at the same time.

Where I notice it the most is in the kitchen. Everything I am inspired to make has a holiday or entertaining theme and I am loving it.

I am grateful to be once again inspired by the holidays. And with a daughter now only 3 hours away in the mountains, snow is back on my happy-happy-joy-joy list!

Today’s “raw vegan cheese log” recipe is a great recipe for entertaining. It is easy, beautiful and  full of flavor! Pumpkin seeds, cranberries and pecans marry beautifully and the sharpness of the cashew cheese sets the sweetness of the pecans and cranberries off in the most tasty way! You will need to start this in advance but it refrigerates and even freezes well which is great when entertaining.

You can refrigerate this for a few days in advance or freeze it for up to a month.

Pumpkin Seed Cranberry "Cheese" Log with Thyme

  •  2 cups cashews, soaked at least 6 hours
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 probiotic capsules (use the probiotic powder, discard the capsules)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt
  • couple grinds cracked pepper
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, divided
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  1. Combine soaked cashews, water, lemon juice and probiotic capsules in high-speed blender. Blend until smooth
  2. Line a strainer with cheese cloth, spoon cashew mixture into the cheesecloth, cover and let sit out overnight.
  3. Put cashew mixture into bowl. Stir in yeast, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of the dried cranberries and 1/2 of the pumpkin seeds.
  4. Cover and place in refrigerator for one day to set up.
  5. Chop remaining 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and pecans. Mix together.
  6. Shape “cheese” into a log and roll in pecan mixture.
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  1. Seraphina wrote on October 21, 2015

    Can we use any vegan probiotic or do you recommend only that one? I have some on hand but they aren’t that brand.

    • Susan wrote on November 23, 2015

      Hi, Seraphina, You can use what ever probiotic you wish! Cheers!

  2. Jill wrote on December 23, 2014

    Fresh or dried thyme?

  3. sue wrote on December 5, 2014

    Hi, are the probiotics essential for this recipe or if I leave them out will I still get a good result?

    • Susan wrote on December 10, 2014

      They are in mostly to develop a nice flavor. You don’t have to use them but you will not get the same results. Cheers!

      • Jannine wrote on November 23, 2015

        What type of taste? If you don’t want to use a probiotic what could you substitute that for? Nutional yeast maybe?

        • Susan wrote on November 23, 2015

          Hi, Jannine, It gives it a little tangy punch that helps balance all the flavors. There already is nutritional yeast in the recipe so you really don’t need more. You can leave it out but the flavor won’t be quite the same. Plus you will lose all the wonderful benefits of the probiotics. Cheers!

  4. Sarah wrote on November 25, 2014

    Hi Susan,

    Do you have a recipe for the crackers in the picture of this recipe?



  5. Aimee wrote on November 24, 2014

    Hi Susan,

    I just wanted to stop back in and say thank you!!! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question (about soaking the cashews). Right now the cashew mixture is in the cheese cloth and it’s draining a bit. I’m sure this will taste amazing when it’s all done. Thank you for the wonderful recipe and for your help. I hope you have a great holiday!

  6. Aimee wrote on November 24, 2014

    Hi Susan,

    I began making this recipe last night. Let me first say that I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian but I am making a Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws and they are all vegan, so I’ve decided just to make the entire Thanksgiving meal vegan friendly. I love trying new things anyway. Being new to all of this, I’ve never soaked cashews before and I’m worried i may have soaked them for too long. They were soaking for about 12 hours (honestly, I meant to only soak them for 6 or 7 hours but I fell asleep!) … so as one might expect, they are now rather soft and quite “plump.” Is there a way I can save these…maybe by cutting back the water while mixing everything up in the blender, or should I just start over and soak them for half the time? Any advice would be invaluable at this point :)

    Thank you so much!

    • Susan wrote on November 24, 2014

      They should be just fine. Go ahead and use them. Cheers!

  7. Brandy wrote on August 22, 2014

    Does “let it sit out” mean let it sit on the counter, unrefrigerated? Thanks!

    • Susan wrote on August 30, 2014

      Hi, Brandy, I let it sit on the counter to let it culture a bit. But if it is really hot, you can put it in the fridge. Cheers!

  8. kristina wrote on July 2, 2014

    Yeah what can we substitute for the yeast?

    • Susan wrote on July 5, 2014

      You can leave it out. It is for flavor. If you wish, maybe a teaspoon of miso. Cheers!

      • Diana wrote on November 22, 2014

        Mmmm, miso, what a great idea. Thanks!

  9. lynntofu wrote on March 12, 2014

    Yes I would also like to know what to sub for nutritional yeast. Want to take this to a raw potluck and some people there are 100% and don’t do nutritional yeast. Thanks!

  10. Heidi wrote on February 17, 2014

    Can I replace the probiotic capsules with something a bit less expensive?


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