Wooooah Day 14! While this challenge is stressful at times, it does have its rewards: connecting and constantly being inspired by other bloggers, strengthening my organizational skills and always having my fridge stocked with prepared meals!
Mark and I have not ordered takeout or eaten at a restaurant since VeganMoFo started. You are probably thinking two weeks isn’t exactly a long time but both he and I work in a restaurant and go to school full time. It is all too easy to grab a coffee here, a sad sandwich there and call it a meal. We use to do this almost every day. Crazy right? So thank you VeganMoFo for challenging me to make me realize preparing meals for myself and Mark everyday isn’t as hard as I previously thought. It helps to have a day (or evening) to prepare or plan for your week’s meals and I would definitely include this recipe in your next prep day. Sundays are dedicated to staples I make on a weekly basis and this one is my absolute most favourites: cashew cream.
Cashews are like vegan magic! A soak overnight (or during you work day) and the normally crunchy nut (it is actually a seed!) transforms into silky smooth creamy heaven when blended. Truth is, I never really like cashews before becoming a vegan. They usually only had their place in my diet when they were coated in oil and salt in a blue mixed-nuts canister. That’s the thing when people go vegan, it almost forces someone to try new things. I never had a soaked nut before and now I love them.
Why soaking? Soaking nuts “activates” the nut and makes their minerals and proteins easier to absorb in your body. You have probably read that soaking the nuts “sprouts” them and it does but you won’t see any green sprouts popping out of your cashews. I like to eat soaked almonds too, they go from crunchy to “soft crunchy” (you know what I mean) and have a pleasant almost sweet taste to them. Learn more about soaking your nuts and grains here.
But aren’t cashew high in fat? Yes all nuts are high in fat. Cashews actually have a lower fat content than most other nuts, 82% of a cashew’s fat is unsaturated fatty acids, which contains a high percentage of monounsaturated fats. It it is all about what you are getting from those calories. Along with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat you are getting minerals like copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and zinc.
Try not to stress about the calories but ask yourself what am I getting from these calories that will benefit my body? I use to be a huge calorie counter, measuring out everything I ate, even weighing a one-ounce portion of cheese on my little kitchen scale only to binge eat later than night. When I switched my thinking and my diet, it did not have to be as difficult as I made it out to be. Sure I indulge in chocolate and desserts but it is not everyday anymore and I don’t feel ashamed of my body when I eat these things. I feel that is progress and I am happier for it.
What can you use this cashew cream for? Almost everything! I like it made sweet or savory:
As a soup topper:
To make cheesy goodness (this is a carnivore fav!):
As a lightly sweetened or savoury breakfast sauce:
As a base sauce:
As a substitute for your favourite creamy salad dressing (I LOVE creamy dressing!):
Whatever you like really! Play around with this recipe, modifying the add-ins to suit your dish. I used lime-juice, cilantro and jalapeno to make a green sauce for tacos and it was sooo good. Way better than the old sour cream blob I use to use.
Pinched for time? Forgot to soak your nuts overnight? The quick soak method is easy but it won’t be considered a “raw” recipe and doesn’t have the same sprouting goodness. In a small pot with a tight fitting lid, add enough water to cover the cashews. Bring the water to a boil, add the cashews, cover with the lid and take the pot off the heat. Let the cashews soak in the hot water for 1 hour. Drain and use in the recipe.
The cashew cream will thicken in the refrigerator so just add some water and stir until your desired consistency. It will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for about 4 days.
Happy VeganMoFo! Also Hello Early Fall!! I got the boots and scarves out of the closet. Sighh…I am in such denial.
9 recipes down, 11 more to go….
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2-8 hours (overnight) or by the quick-soaked method
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 3/4-1 cup water (3/4 cup of water will give you a thicker cream and 1 cup will make it a little more dressing consistency)
- Drain the soaked cashews. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth, scraping down the nuts as necessary.
- Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate.
- In a high power blender, it will take less time but I have done this recipe in my food processor and it was successful. Just be patient, it will get there!