Last week, as I gorged on cashew cauliflower cream sauce I was awash with appreciation for the cashew nut. Not only are these guys high in protein, bone-building magnesium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but they are also one of the most versatile ingredients in a dairy-free kitchen. From non-dairy cream cheese to ice cream to sour cream to nut cheese, cashews can basically replicate all of your favourite dairy goodies, but without leaving you with the whole bloaty stomach/liquid poop thing.
Dairy-free cashew cream is an easy, basic recipe that you can adapt and modify to suit your tastes. All you need is a blender, cashews, water and salt to make it happen. Here is my starter recipe:
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed
½ cup – 1 cup water
Salt to taste
Instructions: Add cashews and ½ cup of water to a blender. Blend until smooth. Depending on how thick you want your cream to be, or how strong your blender is, you might need to add more water. When you’re satisfied with the consistency, salt to taste.
And now the fun part! Here are fun ways to flavour cashew cream. Of course, you can adjust any of the amounts of herbs and spices in here to your taste. I’ve also separated the creams into three categories: blended, stirred and sweet.
Blended Cashew Creams
I recommend blending these in your blender or food processor until smooth.
Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream
1 cup cashews cream + 2 roasted red peppers + pinch of chilli flakes
Spicy ‘n Smoky Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + ½ tsp smoked paprika + ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Curried Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 1 ½ tsp mild curry powder
Sweet Pea Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 1 cup cooked peas
Smoky Tahini Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 1/3 cup tahini + ½ tsp cumin + ½ tsp coriander + flesh from 1 roasted eggplant
Stirred Cashew Creams
No need to pop these in the blender – just mix in a bowl and stir well.
Dill Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 4 tbsp chopped dill + 1 tbsp lemon juice
Roasted Garlic + Rosemary Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 4-5 cloves roasted garlic + 2 tbsp lemon juice + 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
Herb-Loaded Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 1 tbsp chopped dill + 1 tbsp chopped mint + 1 tbsp chopped basil + 1 tbsp chopped parsley + 1 tbsp chopped chives
Spinach-Flecked Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 1 cup finely chopped spinach + 1 tbsp minced garlic
Ginger Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 1 tbsp grated ginger + 1 tsp lemon juice + 1 tsp honey + pinch of cayenne
Sweet Cashew Creams
For the sweet cashew creams, just add a pinch of salt before sweetening. You can also increase or reduce the sweetener to taste.
Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + ¼ cup maple syrup + ½ tsp cinnamon
Chocolate Chip Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + ¼ cup maple syrup + 1 tsp vanilla extract + 1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
Mint Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + ¼ cup maple syrup + 1-2 drops peppermint oil
Mocha Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + ¼ cup cacao powder + ¼ cup maple syrup + 1 tbsp Dandy blend or ground coffee
Strawberry Cashew Cream
1 cup cashew cream + 1 cup strawberries + ½ tsp cinnamon + additional sweetener if needed (blend this one)