Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: I’m not a vegan. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m not. I eat Greek yogurt for breakfast every day, fish for dinner every weeknight, and heartily enjoy a cheeseburger or plate of barbecue on the weekends.
But, I do end up eating like a vegan pretty often. Vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts — all staples of my daily diet. Red meat and full-fat dairy are rare treats, which brings us to today’s vegan-riffic recipe: cashew cream.
I’d first heard of cashew cream a year or two ago when Marty was trying the Paleo diet, but thought it sounded kind of gross and lame, and thus avoided making it at home. When I spotted a recipe for mushroom stroganoff in last week’s Whole Foods circular, though, I cut along the little dotted lines and decided to make it for lunch that week (how analog of me, I know!). And said recipe (which was a little bit mind-blowing, and I’ll post it on Monday) called for cashew cream. OK, Whole Foods. You convinced me.
Turns out, those Paleo folks weren’t just kidding themselves. Cashew cream is delicious in its own right. It’s definitely not cream — it doesn’t have that decadent richness — but it has its own really unique appeal. A little sweet, expectedly nutty, and with an earthy depth that you don’t get from regular cream. I have yet to try it in baked goods, because that still sounds gross and lame and I’m not actually a vegan, but I loved it in the stroganoff. I’m also plotting to employ it in an intriguing creamed miso kale recipe I spotted on Food52 this week. So many possibilities!
So without further ado: here’s how to make cashew cream.
1 cup raw cashews (do NOT use roasted cashews!)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
Put the cashews in a small heat-proof bowl, and cover them with boiling water by about 1 inch.
Soak the cashews for around 30 minutes.
Drain the liquid and add the cashews to the blender.
Add the vinegar, salt, and 1/4 cup of water.
Pulse the blender until the cashews are nicely pulverized. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a thick yet creamy consistency.
Um, that’s it. You’re done. Here’s what the cream looked like mixed into and plopped on top of my mushroom stroganoff:
Of course, variations are plentiful. To make a sweeter cream for baking, add 1.5 tablespoons of sugar or even maple syrup. Switch it up and use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Add your cashew cream to soups to make them, well, creamy. Make a vegan variety of creamed spinach or creamed Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving. The world is now your and your cashew cream’s oyster.
I probably wouldn’t put cashew cream on oysters, though.