Cashew Cream: A Vegan’s best friend
Post by Olivia Martino, Registered Dietitian and Co-Owner, Nourish Northwest
Before we started teaching Vegan Cooking Classes, I knew I had a good handle on how to make a delicious veggie-centric meal while avoiding all animal products. But I wanted to become an expert on making these dishes really stand out, be satiating and balanced. I wanted to master some of the “tricks” to make vegan meals something that anyone could find delicious, even meat eaters. The key was replicating some of the flavors and properties of animal foods. Paula wrote an important piece about this last week, discuss how to create that savory, umami flavor in veggies. This week I am discussing how to replicate the creaminess that dairy typically provides.
The answer is simple and unsuspecting. The cashew.
Cashews are a sweet, soft nut high in protein, iron, magnesium, zinc and healthy fat. When blended together with water they make a beautiful cream, lending itself to many uses. Playing with the amount of water and time blending, can alter the consistency of the cream. If you want a really thick cream to add some body to a soup, you will add very little water. Or if you want to make a “cheese” out of the cashews, you would add even less. If you are looking for a runnier texture to use as a garnish or dressing, add a good amount of water. For best results, soak the cashews overnight or at least a few hours before blending.
The cashew cream is a blank slate. You can add whatever herbs and seasonings you like to give it some flavor. Here are some of our favorite uses:
Cashew Cream as a garnish to soup
(Adapted from The Cancer-Fighting Cookbook by Rebecca Katz)
2 cup raw cashews
2 cup water
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice or orange juice
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
1⁄8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- Grind the cashews in a processor for a couple pulses to give them a head start
- Add the water, lemon juice, salt, nutmeg and blend until creamy smooth. This takes several minutes for the mixture to resemble heavy cream.
Cashew cream to thicken soup
CASHEW CREAM THICKENER
1 cup cashews
Cover cashews in water and soak overnight. Drain and place in food processor. Blend with a couple of tablespoons of water, adding more if cream is too thick to move.
Cashew Based Salad Dressing
CASHEW RANCH DRESSING
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- 1 small bunch chives, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- Add cashews to a small bowl and soak in water for at least 15 minutes. (This will allow the cashews to soften and make them easier to process.)
- Drain cashews of the water and add to a blender or food processor, along with garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and ¼ cup of water. Blend or process, until smooth, adding additional water as needed, until the mixture is the consistency of dressing.
- Add the parsley and chives, along with pepper to taste, and refrigerate until using.
Sweet Cashew Cream
We love to make a fruit dip by blending cashews, a small amount of water, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon… it’s so amazing, it’s hard not to eat it by the spoonful. If you want to take it to the next level, try this delicious cheesecake recipe.
- 65g cashew nuts, soaked overnight in water and drained
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 pitted dates
- 6 large strawberries
- Make your favorite nut based crust and press into fill muffin liners (We typically just blend together some almonds, dates and coconut oil)
- Blend together the cashew nuts, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla until it makes a smooth silky mixture. Pour the mixture onto each of the cheesecake bases until it fills the top.
- Make the strawberry swirl by blending together the dates and strawberries then dropping a few dots of the mixture onto the top of the cheesecakes. Use a skewer to gently swirl the strawberry mixture around.
- Place the cheesecakes in the freezer overnight or for at least 4 hours to set.
- Sit at room temperature before serving and enjoy!