team @ veganblender
For people who love cooking and baking with heavy cream, eating dairy-free can be daunting. Even seasoned vegans crave rich, creamy soups and deserts from time to time. Cashews are nearly magic in their ability to add a silky, creamy texture to any plant-based meal.
There are a few ingredients that I find myself making on a weekly basis, and cashew cream is one of them. While I generally don't eat it on it's own, it serves as the base of a huge variety of other sauces and meals.
If you ever find yourself in need of a vegan substitute for heavy cream -- this is it.
There are many ways to make creamy textured vegan sauces. I've seen different variations of siken tofu, coconut milk, vegan mayo, and avocados all used with varied levels of success.
However, more ofthen than not, I use this cashew cream recipe because its very mildly flavored and amazingly creamy. Once you've tried it you'll always keep a stash of raw cashews in your pantry, and since it keeps for up to 5 days you'll probably have a jar in your fridge too.
Use a high-speed blender
The recipe for cashew cream is super basic, but it helps to have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. A good blender will make quick work of the cashews and the result will be much, much creamier. Plus, considering how much you'll use it for other vegan recipes it'll be a great investment.
If your blender is less powerful we recommend soaking the cashews for as long as possible. In some cases, as long as 24 hours is necessary, but around 4 will usually suffice. If you're short on time you can speed up the process by boiling the cashews for about 10 minutes.
Raw Cashews, not roasted or salted
Using raw cashews is what creates the mild flavored base we're after. Using roasted cashews creates a much stronger flavor that tastes a lot more like cashews.
The best place to find raw cashews is probably in the bulk bins at your local grocery or health food store, but they can also be ordered online.
Cashews are generally pretty expensive, but since they get mixed 1 to 1 (or more) with water this cashew cream will go a long way.
Luckily, raw nuts tend to last longer than roasted, and you can store them in an airtight container in the freezer.
Cashew to water ratios
The ratio used in this recipe (1 to 1) is what I consider the absolutle best all-purpose cream consistency, and I use it as a benchmark for making the right consistency for the dish I'll use it in.
I mentioned this before, but the minimum quanity you can make will be dictated by the size of your blender's container. If you're having trouble getting the thickness you want to blend consider doubling the recipe, and if all else fails try using a food processor.
1 cup of cashews to 1/4 cup of liquid
This cashew cream will be very thick! Adding powdered sugar and your flavors of choice will make a nice icing. I'd recommend using non-dairy milk as the liquid.
1 cup of cashews to 1/2 cup of liquid
I recommend starting with this ratio when making cashew cream and slowly adding water until you get to the consistency you want. Generally I wouldn't much thicker than this ratio. I'd stick around this consitency if I was making a dipping sauce.
1 cup of cashews to 1 cup of liquid
This is the ratio I use most when cooking. It's great for making creamy soups. With the right seasonings you can drizzle it over beans as a great vegan creama alternative. Similarly, add your favorite sweetener and drizzle it over decadent desserts.
I love cashew cream because of how flexible it is. I use it weekly, and have come to love experimenting with different variations.
Here are a few examples of cashew creams you can try:
Spicy Cashew Cream
Adding Sriracha, a touch syrup and garlic powder makes cashew cream with a kick. This sauce is reminicent of vegan yum yum sauce, but you can make it in 30 seconds if you have the cashew cream prepared ahead of time.
Sweet Vanilla Cashew Cream
Add a few tablespoons of syrup ( or a couple dates ) and some vanilla extract, and you can make a great dessert filling or topping for mixed fruit.
Add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast and some garlic powder to make a topping for black beans, tacos, and nachos. I prefer the 1 to 1 ratio for this one.
Place the salt and cashews in the blender with ½ of the water
Blend the mixture until creamy and smooth ( Depending on the size of your blender's container you may want to double the recipe)
Add as much of the remaining water as you'd like to reach the desired consistency
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days