Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Cooking with Cashews

Used to be that cashews were just ordinary nuts, same as walnuts, almonds, peanuts and pecans. They were enjoyed roasted and salted, or chopped and added to cookies and granola. These days, cashews are taking the lead in innovative cooking, especially in dairy-free recipes. A perfect example is the mouth-watering slice of flourless chocolate cake I was recently served at a friend’s dinner party. It was topped with a healthy dollop of freshly whipped “cream” made from cashew nuts. Heaven on earth!

Cashews are a versatile, mildly sweet nut that comes from the cashew tree, a native of the northern regions of South America but cultivated today in many tropical climates. The nut is actually a seed that grows on the end of a cashew “apple,” a nutritious, edible fruit common to the tropics but virtually unknown in America and Europe as it is far too delicate and fragile to be transported.

There are many varieties of cashews, some are very large and others are quite small comparatively, but all having similar flavor. Raw cashews are mild and have a “milky” taste, making them perfect for smoothies and recipes that call for milk or dairy replacements. Roasting adds depth of flavor, perfectly complementing baked goods and cereals. Whether roasted or raw, cashews are a flavorful addition to appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, fruit salads and desserts.

Here are some traditional as well as contemporary cashew recipes and ideas you are sure to enjoy:

Are you a simple but stable old-fashioned cashew lover, or part of the contemporary cashew culture? I prefer to be both. Got a recipe? Let me know.