WGBH Craving Boston: It’s Nut Unusual to Be Loved by You

Described in the Boston Globe as “an oasis of sophisticated dining that just so happens to be vegan,” True Bistro at Teele Square in Somerville abstains from using animal products — meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, and honey — but you won’t miss them, because he uses other ingredients so creatively.

Case in point: Chef Stuart Reiter sprouts wheat berries submerged in filtered water to create “rejuvalec,” which he then uses as a culture for fermenting nuts, which gives us the magical “cashew cheese.”

Other nuts can work, and he sometimes uses them, but prefers cashews. “Lots of other nuts either don’t break down fine enough or impart too strong of a flavor,” says Reiter. Pinenuts, for instance, overpower the dish, while almonds require peeling and produce a grittier texture, more akin to feta.

The cheesecake-with-no-cheese (so, cake?) is creamier and more wonderful than any you’d imagine, featuring a strawberry swirl and topped with a few thin slices of crispy sugared strawberries.

The crust tastes like graham cracker but is actually made with almonds and dates. It took a number of iterations to replicate the texture Reiter was aiming for.

The “Devil on Horseback” tastes like smoky bacon wrapped around a date stuffed with creamy cheese, but is actually smoked tofu — 21st Century Tofu in Jamaica Plain, the best around, says Reiter — encasing a date stuffed with cashew cheese.

For a healthier dish, the roasted beet and fennel salad stars large coins of golden beets, with arugula, hazelnut, Dijon dressing, balsamic, and a smear of ricotta-like cashew cheese. The medley of fresh vegetables is as yummy as the plating is pretty.

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