The cashew nut is a versatile ingredient that shines in the kitchen in any situation. You just have to know how to best bring out its unique qualities. Here’s a guide to getting the most out of cashews.
Raw or roasted, cashews are a great snack. They also make a great topping for soups or salads. But a whole other superpower lies dormant inside these nuts: Because of their creamy consistency, they are the perfect vegan base for dishes that would otherwise require milk or dairy products like cheese or cream. Our colleague Carolin has been working with this versatile nut for many years and has gathered plenty of ideas for you.
One of the advantages of cashews is that they don't need to be soaked as long as other nuts or seeds before blending. Moreover, you don't need to strain nut milk made from cashews through a cloth, since there is hardly any pulp left over. So cashews are truly a zero-waste wonder!
If you want to process cashews but don't have a high-speed blender, soaking them first makes a big difference. You can soak them either overnight (at least 6 hours) or, if you can't wait that long, in boiling water for 30 minutes. Pour away the soaking water. And when there's no time for soaking, cashew butter comes in very handy in the kitchen. Simply dilute some cashew butter with water/oat milk/broth (depending on whether your dish is sweet or savoury) until you obtain the desired consistency.
Below you'll find some basic recipes that you can adapt to your liking in terms of consistency and other flavouring ingredients such as sweeteners, herbs or spices.
Cashew milk (makes about 800 ml)
Blend all ingredients in a stand mixer or with a stick blender until no visible chunks remain. Pour into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. Consume within 3 days at the latest. Please note: This milk is not suitable for frothing for coffee.
- 1⁄2 cup cashews or cashew pieces (soaked and drained)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients in a stand mixer or with a stick blender until smooth and thick. Use right away or store in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the cream in portions. Please note: This cream is not suitable for whipping.
Cashew ideas for a sweet tooth
Homemade cashew milk or cream can be used in any dessert or baking recipe you like. Try using it to make hot chocolate or a cashew latte. Many vegan cake recipes use soaked and blended cashews as a substitute for curd or cream cheese in cheesecake recipes, like these mini mango cakes. On the Internet, you can also find inspiration for making a kind of cashew mascarpone, which can be used to make layered desserts or tiramisu.
Savoury dishes with cashews
Cashews aren't just for baking or making desserts. They're also ideal as a creamy base for sauces, dips and salad dressings. You'll find three dressing variations (green, balsamic and spicy) on our blog. But you can also use cashew cream to elevate casseroles, pasta dishes, vegetable dishes, curries and much more. How about a delicious vegetable lasagne with a kind of béchamel sauce made from cashews?
And if you like experimenting with fermentation, cashews are a great starting point for yoghurt, kefir or cream cheese. A simple cashew cheese recipe for beginners uses a probiotic capsule that you can find at places like health food shops. For more advanced fermentation enthusiasts, we recommend this nut cheese recipe based on homemade Rejuvelac.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. What are some other ways you use our cashews? Let us know in the comments.