Tomato Napoleon with Raw Basil “Cheese”

by Susan on September 1, 2009


Food inspires me. Working with the ingredients, smelling them, tasting them, trying to guess what will go with what. I am amazed at how you can have an idea, start throwing some things together and with in a matter of minutes, transform the familiar into something completely new yet wonderful. It is a transition from the unknown to the known. Plus we get to eat it!

As I started writing this post, I was struck by the similarity that life has with creating food. We are in a time of huge transition. The whole planet is finally waking up, looking around and saying, Man…we have really created a mess here.

The amazing thing is that with this recognition things start to happen. People are becoming more aware of how they live. We are no longer taking everything for granted and living with a mentality of excess. Living Green is becoming main stream. We are aware of the benefits of local foods and sustainable farming. We are becoming aware of our carbon footprint. We are even becoming aware of what we eat and how it is affecting our health.

We are taking the ingredients and combining them in a whole new way. A less complex, but more meaningful way. Respect is being developed and attention is being paid. The new meal is being made and while it is simple, the flavor is divine.

This little tomato Napoleon is quite simple but delicious. A quick and easy basil cashew “cheese” is combined with the layers of tomato and zucchini. It is a great end of summer treat.

Tomato Napoleon with Basil Cashew Cheese and Basil Oil

For each Napoleon you will need:

1 small tomato

2 slices zucchini (the same size as the tomato)

Basil Cashew Cheese Spread

Basil Oil

Cut the tomato in thirds. Form a patty of the Cashew Cheese the same size as the tomato slice. Layer tomato slice, zucchini and cheese, repeat. Drizzle basil Oil over top. You can also add balsamic vinegar (highly recommended).

Basil Cashew Cheese Spread

1 C Cashews, soaked at least 6 hours

2 T. Lemon Juice

1 Clove Garlic

Pinch Salt

1 C basil leaves

Start food processor. Drop clove of garlic into processor and run until garlic is chopped. Add cashews, lemon juice and salt. Place all ingredients except basil in food processor and process until smooth (it will be a little grainy). Add basil and pulse until basil is chopped up and combined into cheese.

Basil Oil

Finely chop 4 T basil and add to 1/4 C oil

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennyjen September 2, 2009 at 12:46 am

PERFECTION! I can’t wait to make this gorgeous dish.


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) September 2, 2009 at 2:00 am

That is beautiful. What a gorg presentation. And the cheese recipe looks really good. Although I never even crave “cheese” it’s always nice to have options that I have filed away for a rainy cheese day.


Wind4me September 2, 2009 at 7:25 am

lets EAT!!! That is one Yummy looking Mater!


Mandi September 2, 2009 at 10:00 am

Wow that looks beautiful. I have been craving a caprese salad-like dish for a while now. And all the basil and tomatoes in my garden have been taunting me. I’m making this ASAP. Thanks as always.


Janet September 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Oooooh, my mouth watered just looking at that gorgeous picture! Hooray, “cheese” for the lactose intolerant! Definitely gonna make this up!


Heather September 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm

That is simply gorgeous!


Lena September 8, 2009 at 6:10 am

Beautiful image and yummy-sounding recipe. Now, if only I had a decent food processor. *Sigh*


Janet October 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Made this w/the help of hubby for dinner tonight. Told him to slice tomatoes—we ended up with Leaning Towers of Tomato Napoleans! Hilarious but oh so tasty along with your Mango Broccoli Avocado salad—whatta meal!


Carol G. November 28, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Super creative display. Yummy looking. Trying to cut back on the wonderful nuts and it’s not super easy.


Sheila Bocchine, Photographer November 21, 2010 at 9:16 am

Oh my gosh! Total deliciousness! I only made the cheese because I wanted to try a cashew cheese, but I’ll definitely make the whole ensemble one day. I blogged about this recipe on my website!


Lise Richard June 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I was also wondering about the amount of nuts I see in raw recipes.
Im currently transitioning into a raw diet from vegan/vegetarian and I am finding it difficult both time and finance wise.
How does the number of nuts effect heart/blood health ( I know it is healthy fat – but it is still fat and seems like a lot of it because 1 – 4c of cashews almonds or something else are used for everything!)

Is there a substitue? Could I use a seed instead? or just something else. I find after I eat large amount of cashews I start getting a lot of mucous production in my ENT area (why?? I have no clue)

thanks for you help.
Your blog has become my number one visited site!


Susan June 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm

If you are concerned about the use of nuts, I would suggest finding recipes that don’t have nuts. We use nuts in raw food to replace dairy, flour, etc. Also, recipes like this are considered gourmet. You need to balance things out.


Sarah August 26, 2011 at 1:29 am

My cheese didnt turn out :( It was all crumbly and doesnt look creamy like urs. I added some water and oil to make it more creamy but it didnt turn out at all :( ANy tips???


Susan August 26, 2011 at 10:13 am

Did you soak your cashews until they were soft?


Nadu February 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

I cant get enough of this amazing flavors in my mouth. The only changes if I may share with you is I added fresh organic dill instead of basil to the cheese mix as well as added 1 fresh red chili cuz I like mine spicy. Thank you for your amazing recipe.


Susanne April 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

When you say soak the cashews for 6 hours, is that in water or something else?


Susan April 8, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Filtered water. Cheers!


Victoria July 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Made this late last night, (my cashews were already soaked) the taste was so delish, light and refreshing.


Claudia November 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I am obsessed with your website! I am not very good in the kitchen but I try my best. So I struggle with the simplest recipes but I LOOVE all of your recipes. I dont have a food processor, but I just purchased a KitchenAid diamond blender, do you think I can use it for making nut meal/flower or for grinding?

Thank you,

Much love from Florida,


Aslana January 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Get your raw freak on! This is great. I made it with little hothouse tomatoes so I had 6 little tiny “burgers” one thing I added was a strip of kelp! It was super yummy and very easy and fast to make. I’ll be making more of these for sure because it’s great when you want a nibble or fast lunch and keep you from grabbing something less tasteful.


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