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.
Making Cashew Cream
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. 🙂
Savory Cashew Cream
- 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 teaspoon chickpea miso (optional, any light miso will work)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar (or other neutral-flavored vinegar)
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until creamy and smooth.
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Hannah Elizabeth says
Yay!!! Thank you so much, Beth!! I’ve been wanting a soy-free vegan mayo for-ever, and now THIS. So excited and I can’t wait to whip up a batch! You never fail me. ??
Hey Hannah! So glad you are excited about this. I would call it more mayo-esque, but it definitely is a fantastic stand-in for mayo. I’m still testing a true soy-free mayo replacement, but in the meantime this really does work well! If you are looking for that classic mayo flavor, you might try putting in a teaspoon of mustard and possibly dropping the nooch down a bit. Can’t wait to hear what you think! 🙂
Debbie @ Cooks with Cocktails says
That looks really delicious. You have peeked my interest. To be honest I have never tried nutritional yeast or chickpeas miso would I find them in a health food store I’m guessing. I would really like to try this recipe.
Hi Debbie! You can indeed find both of those ingredients in a health food store like Whole Foods or Sprouts, or often in the natural section of your regular grocer. For instance, Kroger carries nutritional yeast in the bulk food section, at least in my area. If you can’t find it in your store, it’s available on Amazon for a very reasonable price, and it will last you a long time. It’s a wonderful savory addition to lots of foods! As for the chickpea miso, you can also use any light miso, which is usually found in most grocery stores in the refrigerated section near where tofu would be. I hope you give this a go, it’s truly delicious! 🙂
Brittany |Words Like Honeycomb says
Giiiiiirl…we invested in a Vitamix and I haven’t looked back…its a dream and, to me, a requirement for every food blogger or blender lover…this looks like the next recipe I will be trying in my Vitamix 😀
Any idea of the calories and fat in this?
Hi Melissa! I did a rough calculation using some online tools, and it’s about 40 calories and 3 grams of fat per tablespoon. Hope that helps!
Looking forward to trying this! Rough guess on how long it might keep in the refrigerator?
Hi Candace! So sorry for the delayed response. We use this up so quickly (my husband dips crackers in it), that it rarely lasts more than a few days, but I am confident it would keep for at least a week. Hope that helps! 🙂
How long will it keep?
Hi Maria! I use it up so quickly that I haven’t tested how long it will keep, but I am confident it will keep at least one week, probably longer. 🙂
I just have to tell you how excited I was when I tried this recipe; I’ve been looking for a mayo substitute for years and was never completely satisfied. This recipe is perfect, and I had all the ingredients to make it when I saw it on Pinterest, so I immediately went and made it; I could eat this stuff with a spoon, and can’t wait to use it in dressings and sandwich spreads. Thanks for giving me one more opportunity to replace a store bought item with something superior. I used organic rice vinegar for the recipe as I like the mild flavour.
Hi Gloria! I have had this comment swimming around in my brain since I saw it, and it continues to make me smile with pride and satisfaction. I’m SO thrilled that this was a hit for you. I make it at least weekly and use it for so many things. More recipes to come featuring this versatile ingredient! It makes me so happy that it will be used in your meals. 🙂
Dee Dee says
Could I use cashew butter
Hi Dee Dee! So sorry for the delayed response, I took a bit of a break this summer and am playing catch-up now. I think you could use cashew butter, if it was raw. Roasted cashews have a very different flavor than raw, and I think it would make this taste more sweet than savory. If you do use raw cashew butter, the water ratio would change, so I can’t vouch for the results as I haven’t tested it that way. Raw cashew butter is pretty spendy too, so if you have raw cashews available, that’s probably the most economical way to go. Hope that helps1
Thanks for this recipe Beth! I made this as a non-dairy way to thicken a sauce I was making. I only soaked my cashews for 1 1/2 hours. I got impatient, since the rest of the dish was done and waiting for this component. It was very easy to blend up (even without a Vitamix blender) and it looks beautiful in the jar.
My pleasure, Jess! I’m so glad it worked out for you. I use it all the time for so many different things, in fact I just used it as the “cheese” on top of pizza tonight! We like it better than any of the non-dairy options we’ve tried. Happy to hear it blended up so well for you also!
Hi! Would love to try this, but I’m allergic to white vine vinegar (migraines!) could I possibly substitute it with apple cider vinegar? Or something else? Thanks 🙂
Hi Jennifer! I’m so sorry for the delayed response, my computer was out of commission for a month, and I’m just getting back into the swing of things. Yes, you can definitely sub apple cider vinegar or any other mild vinegar. I particularly like unsweetened rice vinegar, and have used plain white vinegar in a pinch. Even lemon juice would work, although it might be a tad more astringent. Hope that helps! 🙂
Oh no worries, those who wait for something good 🙂 That helps a lot! I look forward to making this to be honest. The idea of totally milk free cheese makes me happy ;D
This cashew cream is a game changer–so good! Stumbled upon your chickpea salad sandwiches during a meal-prep recipe search on Pinterest, and I’m very glad this came with the package. Will make a great addition to (or substitution for??) savory salad dressings.
Do you think this could be used for a mac n cheese? As an alternative to Velveeta cheese? How would you season it differently?
YES! I do this all the time, and am constantly playing around to get the best flavor. I’m looking forward to sharing a specific recipe when I’ve finally settled on something. What I would do with this as a base is to add about a cup more water when blending, and double the flavorings (except the salt, then salt to taste when it’s added to the pasta). The reason for the extra water is that the sauce thickens considerably when heated, so you want to start with a thinner sauce, then add it to the hot pasta after draining and heat for a couple of minutes on medium heat to thicken the sauce and bring everything together. I hope this helps!
Lucia Fellers says
This was an amazing cashew cream! Super simple to make and excellent in taste and texture! Thank you!
Can you leave out the nutritional yeast?
Hi Alicia! Yes, you can, although it does add a really nice savory/cheesy note, but not in an overwhelming way. I still think it would be tasty without it, maybe bump up the miso by a 1/2 teaspoon. Hope that helps! 🙂
Oh. My. Goodness! This is amazing! I’m a new vegan and I stumbled across your vegan lasagna recipe. Thank you so much for your recipes! I will be trying them all! ?
Hi there i have brown rice miso paste, can I use that instead or better to omit it completely and add more nutritional yeast?
Hi! I haven’t used brown rice miso paste yet, but my educated guess is that it would be fine to use. Maybe start with 1/2 a teaspoon and work up from there. 🙂
I know Cashews are a main ingredient but my son is allergic to nuts, any substitute you think would work?
What does 1T stand for?
Hi Sarah! That’s the abbreviation for 1 tablespoon. 🙂
1T and 1t, one Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon
1C = 1 cup
1z = 1 ounce
I will try this soon!
Do you put miso paste or soup in it?
Good question! It’s miso paste. I’ll update the recipe.
Love this! It’s now a staple in my fridge. I use it on toast, baked potatoes, and anything else I can think of. I buy cashew pieces because they’re cheaper and they don’t need to be pretty to make this!
Oh I’m glad you love it so much Barbie! It’s a staple in our fridge too. What would I do without it? I shudder at the thought. 🙂 I always buy cashew pieces too! They’re going to get pulverized anyway… 🙂
Hello, Can you substitute almonds or tofu for the raw cashews? I am not allergic to nuts, but can not eat raw cashews for some reason. Thank you.
Tricia Lopez says
I would recommend that everyone soak the cashews overnight before using. To explain the reason, I found this with Google:
By soaking, you are breaking down the phytic acid so it can be absorbed properly. Nuts also have high amounts of enzymes inhibitors. This is another reason why un soaked nuts are hard to digest. Soaking nuts can neutralize the enzymes allowing for proper digestion.
I’m so excited to find this recipe! I got a big bag of raw cashews for Christmas, and have been waiting for something delicious to make with them! Could I use this instead of sour cream and cheese in a “sour cream chicken enchilada” recipe? I know it’s not vegan, but I occasionally eat meat.
Hi Tricia! Good point on the soaking of the cashews. I haven’t experienced trouble digesting cashews, but it might be because the Vitamix pulverizes them to where they are already broken down. Not sure, but that’s my working theory. 🙂 YES, you can use this in enchiladas, I am confident it would be amazing. I would recommend thinning it out with a little water in the recipe, because it thickens up considerable when heated. I use it as a filling for quesadillas all the time, it’s wonderful! P.S. I am not 100% vegan either, no judgment from me! 🙂
Very very yummy. Just made it to use in your vegan lasagna.
This was super easy and delicious. It was a little on the sweet side, but we used it as a base for a couple of things and it was great. My favorite was adding it to Trader Joe’s Vegan Pesto for a creamy sauce on pasta with asparagus, mushrooms and zucchini. Gotta go eat some more 😛
Thanks for the recipe!
I love this recipe. It’s my so called ‘go to’ cheese sauce. When I became a vegan 18 months ago, I did miss cheese but this recipe although different, is a delicious option and I usually have all the ingredients in the cupboard.
I’ll admit it.. I always lick the plate ????
I just made the savory cashew cream. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I’ve never had cashew cream before, but it’s delicious. Tomorrow I’ll use it to make the chickpea salad sandwiches. I love my VitaMix, but I don’t use it very often because it’s so hard to get stuff out of the bottom, and equally hard to clean. I used it for this recipe, though, and it made the cashew cream so very creamy!
Cheryl Carey says
You can ruin some water with a little dish soap in the blender to clean the blade area.
linfa theos says
Hi Beth Luv your recipes I have a question Can I freezw cashew cream for later
Hi Linfa! Yes, you certainly can, although it may need to be blended again briefly once thawed to have the same consistency. Hope that helps!
I like the idea of your savory cashew cream, but I’m a Miracle Whip girl, not mayo. What can I add to give this recipe that sort of sweet, Miracle Whip zip? Can’t wait to hear from you so I can try it. Thanks in advance!
Did I miss how we store this? Fridge for couple weeks maybe? I cut it in half for my risotto and it is YUMMY! The vinegar is a nice addition that I hadn’t tried. Thanks for the recipe!
Ginger Lee says
Super yummy savory flavor and super easy to make. I’m bummed now that I only made half the recipe!
Thanks for a keeper!
I really like this recipe and use it for several things, but if you have not used this as the filling for vegan cream cheese wontons then you are missing out… so good.
Leanne! I am so glad you discovered this! I do this as well, and have been meaning to turn it into a recipe on its own. Thanks for the comment!
Susan b says
I’ve made a lot of vegan, no oil sauces, and this by far the best I’ve ever had. I feel I could use it in just about anything. I was lucky enough to have come across it from your coleslaw recipe. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it and LOVE it! Just made the ranch dressing recipe with it and love that too! Now I can’t wait to make the recipes you have that include this. I was only going to make a half batch and I’m so so glad I made the full batch! I can’t thank you enough for your recipes and all you do!
Hi Bonnie!! I’m playing comment catch-up and somehow missed this one! Thank you so much for this wonderful encouragement. I have a new post coming out today and it makes me so happy to read things like this. It helps me remember why I do it. <3