I have a new love and respect for cashew cream sauce.
My family of four has been vegan for 11 years. When I first became vegan, I avoided these rich sauces because I assumed all fats were unhealthy.
I have found my vegan journey to be a learning experience.
Yes they make delicious creamy sauces, but they are good for you.
- contain heart-healthy fats and plant proteins.
- provide antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and protect us from diseases.
- have been shown to be beneficial to heart health, and help lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.
- improve artery health, making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots.
Because cashews are also low in sugar and rich in fiber, they can help you maintain a healthy weight. They do this by making a person feel full.
Basic Cashew Cream Sauce
Here is a basic cashew cream sauce that can used for many different things.
- 1 cup cashew’
- ½ cup water
- ¼ tsp salt
Blend till creamy in high-speed blender like Vitamix. (If you do not have a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in water for 2 hours first). Blend first on low then on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
You can freeze in ice cube trays or other containers for easily available portions when needed. You can also store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Here are a few ways you can use cashew cream sauce:
- Dip: mix your cream sauce with up to ½ cup water, add fresh herbs like dill, parsley, a pinch of lemon zest or lemon juice or other seasonings.
- Salad dressing: Mix a tablespoon or two of the cashew cream with a splash of vinegar and some herbs.
- Sauce: Toss with pasta for a delicious, vegan Alfredo
- Soups: Add cream sauce to pureed soups. It gives soups a rich savory quality.
- Smoothie: Drop a few spoonsful of cream into a smoothie for creamy texture, added protein, and healthy fat.
- Canned coconut milk replacement: ½ cup cashew cream mixed with 1 cup water. (This is good for cream sauce recipes like curry if you want to avoid the saturated fats in coconut milk). I use this a lot.
Gooey Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole (serves 10)
This is a family favorite. It is super-fast to put together and pop in the oven. You can use it as a side dish or throw in meat alternatives for a main dish. Make sure you use the tapioca flour because that is what gives it that gooey consistency.
- 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces and placed in oiled 3-quart casserole
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup veggie broth (1 cup water/½ tsp. “better than bouillon concentrate”)
- 2 cup soy milk
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup tapioca flour (no substitutes)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 ¼ tsp. salt
- Blend in high-speed blender until smooth. I usually start with the cashews and broth, blending until smooth, then add in the rest and blend.
2. Pour into saucepan and heat, stirring often until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
3. Pour over cauliflower in casserole and stir to coat.
4. Add optional topping if desired. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, check for doneness. Uncover and bake about 10 minutes to brown. Let sit 10 minutes to set up.
- 1 cup crushed corn flakes
- 1-2 tbsp. melted vegan margarine
5. Mix melted margarine with cornflakes and sprinkle on top. Cover with foil as above.
I usually add meat alternatives to make this an all-in-one meal. I have successfully added Field Roast smoked apple and sage sausages/diced, browned Beyond Beef, or marinated soy curls. I am confident that marinated tempeh would also be tasty.
Do what you like! When I am feeling reckless, I sprinkle on a handful of vegan cheddar or even french-fried onions.
Carolyn Howe and her family of four have been vegan since 2011. She is a board member of VCEI and has led cooking classes at past VCEI events. Send questions or comments to [email protected] Visit the VCEI website at https://www.veganeasterniowa.org/ or join the group on Facebook and Meetup.