Italian Pesto Almond Torte

  • Servings : 12

This pesto torte, made from soaked almond cheese, is always a showstopper! I have taught it to thousands of people since I created it in 1990. One taste of this and people understand that raw food does not mean just salads. I guarantee that if you make this for your guests, they will not guess it is raw and will doubt it is vegan.


Almond Cheese

  • 2 cups almonds, hot soaked and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons light miso
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • Chlorine-free water, as needed

Basil Pesto

  • 1 cup basil leaves tightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (1 cup = 2.5 oz), soaked 3-4 hours
  • Reserved tomato water, if needed
  • 2 soft dates, pitted
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 4 leaves chiffonade of fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt


Almond Cheese:

Step 1

Blend the Almond Cheese ingredients in a blender until creamy adding as little water as possible.

Step 2

Pour almond batter into a cheesecloth-lined colander and allow it to ferment on the pantry shelf or in a cupboard for 10-12 hours. Place a weight on top of the cheese after about 2 hours of fermenting.

Step 3

When the fermentation time is completed, place the cheese in a tightly covered container and refrigerate for another 8-10 hours or until well chilled and firm. Remove cheesecloth and serve as desired. (See assembly directions, below.)

Basil Pesto:

Step 4

To make the basil pesto, place the ingredients in a food processor using the "S" blade and puree, leaving it a little bit chunky. Chill.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto:

Step 5

To make the sun-dried tomato pesto, place the ingredients in a food processor using the "S" blade and puree, leaving it a little bit chunky. Chill until needed.

To assemble the torte

Step 6

Prepare a mold by draping it with damp cheesecloth. Evenly pack 1/3 of the almond cheese into the bottom of the mold.

Step 7

Next, create a layer of sun-dried tomato pesto using all of the tomato pesto. Firmly pack pesto into place. Evenly pack another 1/3 potion of the almond cheese on top of the sun-dried tomato pesto.

Step 8

Next, using all of the basil pesto, gently and firmly place a layer of basil pesto on top of the cheese. Firmly pack pesto into place.

Step 9

Finally, spread the remainder of the almond cheese evenly on top of the pesto. Press gently. Invert the torte onto a plate and remove the cheesecloth. Serve with crudités, sliced cucumbers or sliced apples.

The torte may be stored in an enclosed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Reprinted with permission from Zel Allen of Vegetarians in Paradise.
Photograph © Vegetarians in Paradise.

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