This spicy vegan cashew cream is silky smooth, with perfect amounts of flavour. Make in 5 minutes using just 6 ingredients and you have an ideal dairy-free cream substitute! Stir it into pasta and salads, use as a dip, spread on toast, switch up the flavour to customise it. Gluten-free and oil-free.
There are certain trends I don't understand and never will. At first I thought that maybe I've just outgrown trends in general, but then I recognised just how many I actively perpetuate: smoothie bowls, baking with zucchini, self-deprecating humour. And now, cashew cream. That's deffo one I can get on board with.
Cashew cream has been around for a while, but I didn't try it out for myself until I got a Vitamix a few years ago. Now, I'm forever a changed woman and it's probably a cause for concern if I don't have a tub of cashew cream sitting around in the fridge.
What is cashew cream?
At it's most basic, cashew cream is cashew nuts blended into a smooth and cream-like consistency, together with a selection of other ingredients. You can dress it up or down as much as you want, but the whole point is the versatility of the recipe. Cashews by themselves have a pretty neutral flavour, and after blending you can add other ingredients depending on the recipe you want to use them for.
The texture is the best part - smooth and creamy, it a great way to replicate dairy cheese sauces. Try it out for yourself and I guarantee that after just one try you'll end up putting it on everything just like I do!
What ingredients do I need?
It's impossible to overstate just how straightforward this recipe is. The main ingredients are:
- Cashews, of course. If you are using a high-speed blender, you only need to soak them for 1-2 hours OR boil in a saucepan for around 15 minutes. Otherwise, soak for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Plant based milk of choice. Make sure that it's unsweetened.
- Garlic cloves. You can also garlic powder (around ¼ tsp per clove).
- Tamari. You can use soy sauce if not avoiding gluten, or coconut aminos for a soy-free version. Around ½ tsp salt substituted for each tbsp tamari works well too.
- Paprika. This is gonna add our spiciness.
- Cumin. Helps add a lot of flavour and a little bit of colour too.
- Nutritional yeast. This ingredient is one of my never-ending obsessions. I mean, it's the easiest way to add cheesiness to any meal or sauce/condiment.
How to make cashew cream
It really is super easy!
First of all, you must make sure to soak your cashews! If you're using a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, you only need to do this for 1-2 hours. Alternatively, if boil them in a saucepan for around 15 minutes. If you're using a food processor or a blender that does not have a high speed function, soak the cashews for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Next, simply dump all the ingredients into your blender/food processor and blend until very smooth and creamy. Be patient here, as it may take a couple minutes. Add more plant based milk if you want a thinner consistency, and you're good to go!
Tips to make the best spicy cashew cream
- Make sure to properly soak the cashews! The exact length needed will, of course, depend on the blender you're using but the general rule of thumb is that the longer, the better.
- Make sure to use enough liquid in order to help the cashews blend, but not too much in order to make sure the result isn't watery.
- You can keep the cashew cream in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Other flavour options
- You can, if you want to, leave out the spices and end up with a basic, plain cashew cream that's the perfect versatile base for a huge variety of recipes.
- For a tangy soured cream vibe, add a generous amount of lemon juice.
- If you want it even spicier, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Add any fresh herbs of your choice by either blending or stirring them with the rest of the ingredients.
- You can also switch up the spices that you use in order to find your personal flavour combo.
How to serve cashew cream
There are so many possibilities! A few of my favourites:
- Dissolve around 2 tbsp of the cream in 3 tbsp water to make a thinner salad dressing.
- Stir into either hot or cold pasta dishes.
- Use as a dip for crispy lemon potatoes.
- Or maybe as a dip or homemade pizza crusts!
- Spread it on toast, or even better - quinoa bread rolls.
- Stir into soups or stews for extra creaminess.
- Use it to take your veggie sandwiches/wraps to the next level.
- Serve it as a sauce for cauliflower steak.
Other vegan sauce recipes
Let me know in the comments: what's your favourite way to use cashews? If you give this spicy vegan cashew cream a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below!
- High speed blender or food processor
- Don't forget to soak your cashews! If you're using a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, you only need to do this for 1-2 hours. Alternatively, if boil them in a saucepan for around 15 minutes. If you're using a food processor or a blender that does not have a high speed function, soak the cashews for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Drain and rinse the cashews, transferring them to your blender or food processor together with the plant based milk, garlic cloves, tamari, paprika, cumin and nutritional yeast. Blend until very smooth and creamy - be patient with, as it may take a few minutes to get rid of any needless texture.
- If you want a thinner cashew cream, add around ¼ cup more plant based milk.
- Adjust the amount of spices you use depending on your preference. For instance, add more paprika if you want it spicier, and more nutritional yeast for stronger cheesiness.