One of the staples of the vegan diet is a creamy, white sauce made of cashews. With the right tweaks, it can be a substitute for all sorts of dairy-based products- cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing, white sauce- the list goes on. The recipe is one that every vegan has a variation that they use. Mine is simple, and easy to adjust depending on the purpose- if its a dressing, I might add a little dill, if I want a particularly cheesy flavor I might sprinkle a little nutritional yeast in.
Although I haven’t made a recipe for this one, a favorite application of mine was as a topping to some broccoli pancakes with roasted tomato slices- a fun play between dinner and dessert.
Before we get to the recipe, here are a few notes to making a cashew cream.
- Try to get unsalted, raw cashews. Unsalted cashews make it easier for you to control how salty the sauce gets- often the amount of salt on the nuts will be too much for the sauce. While roasted cashews will work, the raw cashews do make it easier to get a smoother, creamier sauce faster.
- Make sure to soak the nuts for at least 15 minutes before blending. When I first started making cashew cream I would skip this step, but after the first time I soaked them I realized how wrong I had been. Unsoaked cashews will result in a grainy, watery mess compared to properly soaked nuts.
- Cashews are expensive! One way to try and bring down the cost is to by pieces rather than whole nuts (you’re just going to blend it anyways). At Trader Joe’s the cost goes down by about $1 if you’re willing to get the broken bits.
- I LOVE garlic- because of that this sauce is very garlicky. If you are not so much of a fan, you might want to leave a clove or two out.
Creamy Garlic Sauce (Cashew Cream)
- 1 cup of cashews (preferably not roasted or salted)
- Salt, to taste
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 water
- Cover the cashews in water and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
- At this point, drain all but 1/2 cup of water from the nuts. Place the cashews in the half cup of water along with the garlic, lemon and salt into a blender and blend until the sauce is completely smooth and creamy.