I think it’s fair to say that I’m a bit obsessed with cashews. Addicted might be a better word. It’s just that, well, raw cashews have magical powers. Seriously, Beth? Magical powers? Ok, no. But. They are AMAZING. I can’t stop experimenting with all the possibilities they contain in their small kidney-shaped package. Exhibit A – Savory Cashew Cream.
Raw cashews can be blended with water to make cashew milk, and cashew cream, and they are both delicious in their own right. But by playing with the cashew to water ratio and adding some flavorings, now we have a concoction that can transform any recipe needing a creamy, lip-smackingly savory component. Here are but a few examples of how you might use this versatile ingredient.
– As a vegan mayo substitute (chickpea salad sandwiches, anyone?)
– As a cheesy sauce in a vegan quesadilla
– As a thickener in soup
– As a dip for crackers or veggies
– As a substitute for “cream of” condensed soups in a casserole
This is just off the top of my head, and I could keep going but I figure you might want me to get to the part where you actually learn how to make this stuff. So let’s do it already.
To make savory cashew cream, you’re going to need some cashews. Raw cashew pieces, to be precise. Why pieces? Because they are at least 50 cents cheaper per pound than whole cashews, and you’re going to be blending them to smithereens anyway, so save your money. For more cashews. For the savory part, you’ll need white wine vinegar, nutritional yeast, chickpea miso (or other light miso), and salt.
Blend all the ingredients together with 1 cup of water until smooth and creamy. Now you have a savory cashew spread that’ll last at least a week in the fridge, but if it actually does last that long then you must have made it right before leaving on a week-long vacation. Because this stuff is way too good to leave sitting around in your fridge. Around here, it lasts maybe 48 hours.
I use a Vitamix to get this sauce ultra creamy and smooth. A couple years ago I had some surprise cash come my way, and it went straight towards the best blender a cashew addict could ever hope to own. I use it multiple times a day for all kinds of things, and don’t really want to remember what it was like to cook without it. But I know there are lots of you out there who don’t have one of these high-speed blending contraptions, and I’ve got you covered. To get this creamy consistency in a standard blender or food processor, you’ll just need to soak the cashews in water for at least a couple hours before draining and blending. Soaking the cashews helps to soften them up so they’ll blend much easier.
This is a foundational recipe that will be used in lots of tasty posts coming up! Get excited. I know I am. 🙂
- 2 cups raw cashews (see note about soaking methods if not using a high-speed blender)
- 1 cup water
- 1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. chickpea miso (any light miso will work), optional
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 T. white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or coconut vinegar
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until creamy and smooth.