The Power Of Cashews

Nutritious, delicious and featured in many vegan recipes, cashews are a food that should not be overlooked. They are incredibly versatile and work well in both sweet and savoury dishes.

Cashews make a great on-the-go snack, a delicious topping to salads and (with a little preparation) cashews can be turned into creamy sauces, plant-based cheese, cashew milk, nut butter, cheesecake and so much more.

Are Cashews Nutritious?

Yes, they are very nutritious. According to Healthline, 28 grams of unroasted, unsalted cashews provides you with around: 

  • Calories: 157
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Copper: 67% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Magnesium: 20% of the DV
  • Manganese: 20% of the DV
  • Zinc: 15% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 13% of the DV
  • Iron: 11% of the DV
  • Selenium: 10% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 10% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 8% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 7% of the DV

Cashews are rich in protein, fibre and unsaturated fats (the good fat) and they are low in sugar.

Note: roasted or salted cashews may contain high levels of oils and salt so go for raw or dry roasted and unsalted where possible.

Cashews can be used in a number of ways, below I’ve listed 6 of my favourite ways to use them & I’ve included some great recipes from fellow vegan food lovers.

6 Vegan Cashew Recipes To Try

  1. Cashew Camembert
  2. Cashew Cheese
  3. Cashew Cheesecake
  4. Cashew Milk
  5. Cashew Butter
  6. Cashew Cream

1. Cashew Camembert

This recipe from Kind State of Mind is really easy and the results are fantastic.

“Ingredients for the Camembert

  • 75g raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight)
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tsp flaky salt (halve if using fine salt)
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour/starch

For baking

  • a small bunch of rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a small dish with greaseproof paper.
  2. Add all the camembert ingredients to a blender and process until you have a completely smooth liquid. It will be very watery.
  3. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and cook over a low-medium heat stirring constantly with a spatula. It will start to thicken, looking quite lumpy at first- this is normal! Keep stirring until the mixture has all become thick and gooey in texture (think about how melted cheese would look). The mixture should still be runny enough to pour so be careful not to overcook it. Have a taste to check the seasoning and add a bit more salt if needed.
  4. Pour the cheese mixture into your lined dish. Slice the remaining garlic cloves into little strands and gently poke them into the surface of the cheese at intervals. Also add in some sprigs of rosemary, then drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle on some black pepper.
  5. Carefully place into the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, checking after 15. It will puff up slightly during baking and is ready when it has a lightly golden outer skin with a warm, gooey middle. Best eaten immediately.”

2. Cashew Cheese

This simple recipe from The Full Helping is perfect when you want some spreadable cashew cheese to enjoy with a bagel or with salad. The result is kind of like cream cheese.

“Ingredients

  • 1 generous cup raw cashews soaked for at least 2 hours (up to 10, or overnight, is fine), drained, and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder for stronger garlicky flavor, use 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 crushed garlic clove instead
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water more as needed

Instructions

  • Place the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse repeatedly to break the cashews down, until they form a coarse, wet meal. Scrape the sides of the food processor down with a spatula.
  • Turn the motor of the processor on. With the motor running, drizzle in the water and let the cashews process for about 10 seconds. Stop and scrape the machine down again. Continue processing for a full 1-2 minutes, or until the cashew cheese is smooth and thick, adding a tablespoon of extra water if needed. The consistency should be a little bit like hummus.
  • Taste the cashew cheese and add lemon, salt, and pepper to taste. If you like, pulse in fresh herbs or other flavorings. Serve. Cashew cheese will keep for up to 6 days in an airtight container in the fridge.”

3. Cashew Cheesecake

There are loads of different cashew cheesecake recipes on the web so you can find one that suits your favourite flavours.

This Raw Raspberry Cheesecake from One Green Planet looks amazing and is actually very simple to make.

“Ingredients

For the Chocolate Crust:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • A pinch of Himalayan pink salt

For the Raspberry Filling:

  • 3 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon beet juice
  • A small handful of fresh raspberries

For the Topping:

  • Fresh raspberries

Preparation

To Prep:

  1. Soak cashews in water overnight. Once they have puffed up and become tender drain out the soak water and rinse them well.

To Make the Crust:

  1. Line the bottom of a 8-inch diameter springform pan with parchment paper, leaving some extra inches of paper to easily lift out the cake when finished.
  2. Place almond meal, cacao powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Pour over the maple syrup and stir everything together until it becomes a sticky mixture.
  3. Press the crust down firmly with your hands and then use the back of a spoon or spatula to even out the surface. Set in the freezer.

To Make the Filling:

  1. In the bowl of your food processor, add all the filling ingredients, except the beet juice, and blend until you get a soft consistency. Adjust sweetness to taste.
  2. Gradually add the beet juice until the mixture turns pink.
  3. Pour half of the cheesecake batter over the base, drop in a small handful of fresh raspberries, and finish with the other half of mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure it doesn’t touch the surface of the cake, and transfer to the freezer until it hardens in around 4 hours.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to the refrigerator.
  5. Garnish with fresh raspberries and, for a more frosty look, a bit of confectioner’s sugar.”

4. Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is straightforward to make and is extremely versatile.

This recipe from The Blender Girl gives you a number of variations to suit your fancy. If you want the milk to be thinner/ thicker then just adjust the amount of water accordingly.

“Ingredients

Unsweetened Cashew Milk:

  • 1 cup raw cashews,  soaked for 2 hours and drained
  • 3 cups filtered water 
  • Pinch of sea salt 

Sweetened Milk (Unsweetened Milk, Plus Below):

  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 3 to 6 pitted dates (or 2 to 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or other sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower lecithin (optional)

Chocolate Milk (Sweetened Milk, Plus Below):

  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder, plus more to taste 

Cinnamon Milk (Sweetened Milk, Plus Below):

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to taste​

Strawberry Milk (Sweetened Milk, Plus Below):

  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. To soak the cashews, place the nuts in a glass or ceramic bowl or large glass jar, and cover with filtered water. Add 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt and splash of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, cover the container with a breathable kitchen towel, and allow to soak at room temperature for 2 hours. (For more information on soaking read here.)
  2. Drain, and discard the soaking liquid (do not use this to make the milk). Rinse the cashews several times to remove the anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors. 
  3. Throw the rinsed cashews, water, and salt in your blender, with any additions (if using), and blast on high for about 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy. (There is no need to strain.)
  4. Store the milk in a sealed container in the fridge. Activated cashew milk (made with soaked cashews) will keep for 2 to 3 days in a very cold fridge. Unsoaked cashew milk will keep for about 5 days.” 

5. Cashew Butter

Just seeing a picture of cashew butter makes me want a spoonful of it. This is a super simple nut butter, as long as you have a powerful blender you can make this in around 10 minutes. This recipe from Nest and Glow talks you through making cashew nut butter at home.

“Ingredients

  • 2½ cups Cashew Nuts
  • pinch of Salt, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the cashew nuts in a high-speed blender like a vitamix, although I’m using a ninja.
  2. Blend for 10 minutes for 2 minutes at a time to avoid stressing the motor.
  3. You may need to scrape the sides down several times (I don’t with my blender though).
  4. Stop blending once the cashew butter looks like a liquid.
  5. Pour into a sterilized jar – either straight out of the dishwasher or filled with hot water and dried.
  6. Homemade cashew butter will last for a few weeks in an airtight jar not refrigerated and a few months in the fridge.”

6. Cashew Cream

Cashew cream can be used in so many recipes and dishes. It can be a non-dairy substitute to cream, yogurt and even mayo. This recipe from A Couple Cooks suggests using vegetable broth which helps enhance the flavour.

“Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw or roasted cashews
  • 3/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with water. Soak for at least 1 hour (or the very least, 30 minutes if you have a high speed blender). For preparation in advance, you can soak the cashews overnight, which is even better.
  2. Drain the cashews. Add the cashews, broth or water, and salt to a blender, then blend on high for 1 minute. Stop and scrape, then add additional liquid if necessary to come to a creamy consistency. Blend for several minutes until creamy and smooth. (Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for several months.”
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