Non-Dairy Cashew Cream

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I recently shared that I over the years I have had quite a few successes getting children to try and enjoy eating new foods by serving them with a dip. Many of my simple go to options at home are yogurt based. When I had a request for a few non-dairy options I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try something new. I am so glad she asked because I think we found a new family favorite! I love experimenting to find the best and easiest way for amazing healthier options. You can read about other dip options here

Non-Dairy Cashew Cream

Non-Dairy Cashew Cream

but Cashew Cream hits the spot for an easy non- dairy, gluten free, vegan creamy substitution to some of the classics.

Cashew cream is a thick, creamy, pale in color dip. It has a similar consistency of yogurt but could be thinned with more liquid for a sauce texture. It may have a little visible graininess depending oh how long the cashews soaked and how well they were blended. It has a very mild favor making it perfect to take on a variety of seasoning options to fit your needs and tastes.

Cashew cream can be lightly sweetened for a wonderful whipped cream substitute or seasoned to be savory for non dairy ranch dip, creamy dressing or add body to soups.

Try it on toast instead of butter, or use it on a sandwich as you would mayonnaise. Stir it into oatmeal, mashed potatoes, even coffee! Drizzle the cream over scrambled eggs or add it to your morning smoothie. You can even freeze it and turn the cubes into a creamy, dreamy vegan milkshake with the help of some cashew milk.

Basic Cashew Cream

1 cup raw cashews

2 cups water for soaking

½ cup water for blending

1/8-1/2 teaspoon salt depending on taste and application.

*Lemon juice and other flavorings are optional see below for ideas

  1. Soak the cashews:  Place the cashews in a medium bowl and cover with 2 cups water. Set aside uncovered at room temperature for a minimum of 5 hours but best if you let them just sit overnight. The cashews are ready when they break apart when pressed between two fingers. I find the longer they soak the smoother and creamier your end product will be.

If you want sweetened cashew cream, throw 1-3 dates into the soaking liquid or sweeten with  honey or maple syrup as you blend it.

  1. Drain and rinse: Discard the soaking water and rinse the cashews in fresh water.
  2. Blend into cream: Blend rinsed cashews with ½ cup fresh water, salt and your desired flavorings. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender and process again until mixture is thick and creamy. Add more liquid, salt or other seasoning to fit your desired needs and tastes (see notes below)
  3. Store or use: Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

 

Interested in more? Here are the notes from my testing and other easy flavoring options for items like whipped cream, ranch dip, southwest dip and creamy salad dressings.

Cashew Cream: The Basics

For basic cashew cream you really only need cashews and water and salt, lemon juice, dates, honey or other flavoring ingredients are optional for your desired flavor.

Equipment: For success you will want to have these tools on hand.
Measuring cups and spoons
Medium bowl
Colander
Blender
Rubber spatula

Airtight container, preferably glass as this is non porous material.

The Best Way to Buy and Store Raw Cashews.

As with most foods you will get the best taste with good-quality products. Look for raw cashews in the bulk bins at your local store or you can order them online. Bulk and online shopping typically is less expensive then the pre bagged options. Make sure they are fresh and don’t have a strong funny smell this often mean the oils have gone rancid. It’s easily to tell if nuts are bad just take a bite, your mouth will tell you, they taste strong, stale and musty. A fresh nut should taste mildly sweet with subtle undertones. If still in doubt, go with my general phrase, “when in doubt, throw it out”.

Raw nuts typically last longer than toasted nuts, as their oils are still intact. Store nuts at room temperature ideally in a cool dark panty in an airtight container for up to 6 months, in the refrigerator for 8-10 months or in the freezer for a year or longer. Nuts can easily pick up other odors and they more you expose them to air the faster they will deteriorate.

How and Why you need to soak the cashews?

soaking cashews is important for them to blend smoothly

soaking cashews is important for them to blend smoothly

When researching I found the suggested soaking times varied greatly for cashew cream recipes everything from 1 hour to 2 days, cold water and hot or boiling water. Some suggest that using cold water makes for a milder-tasting cream, perfect or faux whipped cream while boiling water destroys health qualities. I am only interested in the easiest way for the best results so I tested a few options.

In my experience the minimum soaking time for best creamy results is 5 hours. I did not notice a difference in taste and very slight difference in texture. It was not significant enough to tell if they were not side-by-side. As for cold, hot or boiling water. I am not a nutritionist so I am not going to explain properties to you but yes, heat kills things so I do not recommend using boiling water. If you want to use hot water to “help speed the process” go for it. I did not notice a significant change in either method. Using hot water may help them soften a little faster but feel time is really the best ingredient here for a smooth consistency. Try both if you like and make the call that work for you and the time you have available.

The longer you soak the cashews, the creamier your cashew cream will be. An hour in water works but I found the texture to be better when they sat a little longer. Different blenders may make this process easier or smoother as well. A properly soaked cashew should break apart when pressed between two fingers.

A properly soaked cashew should break apart when pressed between two fingers.

A properly soaked cashew should break apart when pressed between two fingers.

Discard the soaking liquid. Soaking pulls out the cashew’s phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. making the end product mild in taste easier to digest. Drain and rinse the cashews in fresh water before continuing with the recipe.

Why a Blender Is Better for Making Cashew Cream.

After the nuts are soaked, drained and rinsed a blender is the best tool for making cashew cream. Blender cashew cream is silkier and lighter in texture. Use a high-powered one for best results and make sure you are blending enough to partially fill the blender so it have enough substance and liquid to blend. For small batches I really love my Nutribullet. The food processor would still work just expect a slightly less smooth cashew cream. When blending scrape down the sides at least once while blending the cashew cream for best results.

How to Turn Basic Cashew Cream into Vegan Whipped Cream, Dairy Free Ranch Dressing, No-cheese, cheese dip and other wonderful dairy free sauces.

So you may be like my son and I who have no problem eating the entire blender full of cashew cream with a spoon. However because the cashews cream is so mild it is really easy to make it in to a variety of other tasty sauces, dressings and dips.

You can use it as a replacement for butter or cheese on toast or a bagel.

Garnish a dessert with whipped cream; even add it to your coffee.

Here are a few fun options to get to started. It such a great creamy non-dairy base I think you can flavor cashew cream with almost anything your heart desires. Feel free to add more or less of the items below to make it fit your tastes. Enjoy!

Non-Dairy Cashew Cream Ranch and Sweet Cinnamon flavors.

Non-Dairy Cashew Cream Ranch and Sweet Cinnamon flavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-dairy Ranch

Basic Cashew Cream Recipe

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Thin with water for a smoother dressing if desired

Southwest Dip

Basic Cashew Cream Recipe

½ teaspoon Chili powder

½ teaspoon Ground cumin

½ teaspoon Paprika, (for a smoky flavor try Smoked Paprika)

½ teaspoon Ground coriander

½ teaspoon Garlic powder

Garlic Dip

Basic Cashew Cream Recipe

With 1-2 minced garlic cloves

1 teaspoon lemon juice

“Cheese” Dip

Basic Cashew Cream Recipe

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon paprika or cayenne for spice

 Caesar Dressing

2 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 garlic clove

¼ teaspoon paprika or cayenne for spice

Sweetened Cream

Basic Cashew Cream Recipe

1-3 dates in soaking liquid

or 1- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Sweetened Cinnamon Cream (we love this one for fruit)

Sweetened Basic Cashew Cream Recipe

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Chocolate Cream

Sweetened Basic Cashew Cream Recipe

1 tablespoon coco powder

Whipped Cream

Sweetened cashew cream can be chilled and then lightly whipped with a hand or immersion blender for a vegan alternative to whipped cream.

Really I could keep going try a curry powder, or honey with Dijon mustard. Have a favorite give it a go; Let me know what you think.

 Creamy Cashew Cream Milk Shakes/Smoothies

Freeze Basic cashew cream in ice cube trays, with frozen blend a few cubs with you favorite non-dairy milk and desires flavorings fruit, veggies, chocolate etc. . .

 

Storage: Store cashew cream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. oh yes, best part it can be frozen too. I think if stored well it would last about 3 maybe even 6 months. If frozen you may want to run it through the blender after you defrost for a purely smooth texture.

I would love to know your thoughts on this? Do you struggle with food sensitivities? Let me know if you are looking for something special I am happy to help.

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