My love for cashew nuts began many years ago in a small, local Chinese hangout in downtown Honolulu where I enjoyed an amazing beef and tofu dish with fresh Asian vegetables and roasted cashew nuts. Not long after, while in Bombay, India, I was served steamed basmati rice flavored with ghee, caraway seeds and roasted cashews. I had discovered a little bit of heaven — cashews!
I still enjoy cashews today but in ways I never could have imagined. You see, it used to be that cashews were eaten like any ordinary nut. They were roasted and salted and eaten out of hand or perhaps chopped and added to cookies or granola. Most of us could never have dreamed cashews would become the star of so many innovative dairy-free recipes like Lemony Cashew Dressing opens in a new tab for salads and slaw and Creamed Kale opens in a new tab made creamy with cashews, miso and spices.
Raw cashews are mild in flavor. They become “milky” once soaked and blended. Roasting, on the other hand, adds flavor and depth to cashews making them ideal for baked goods, cereals and garnishes. Whether raw or roasted, cashews make a delicious addition to a variety of foods. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
Spicy Rice with Cashews opens in a new tab is similar to the delicious rice dish I had while visiting Bombay.
Add roasted cashews to hot or cold cereal and baked goods like muffins, cookies and quick breads. Our Cashew Banana Bread opens in a new tab is a classic favorite reinvented without oil or dairy. Pumpkin, Brown Sugar and Cashew Biscotti opens in a new tab is a whole grain cookie with a spicy pumpkin flavor. Creamy Cashew Rice Treats opens in a new tab remind me of a popular marshmallow-and-rice-cereal bar from my childhood, only tastier and better for you.
Roasted cashews make a delicious garnish for waffles and pancakes, as well as grain dishes.
Toss roasted cashews into leafy green salads. Winter Crunch Salad opens in a new tab is made with hearty, healthy veggies along with cashews, carrots and a Pink Lady apple. Asian Chicken Salad opens in a new tab is full of cashews, sweet oranges and baby corn.
Have you tried creamy cashew nut butter? Add it to dips and spreads, smoothies, cookies (in place of peanut butter), and more. Or, enjoy it just as you would peanut or almond butter. Cream Cheese and Cashew Dip opens in a new tab is a blend of both with agave, cinnamon or nutmeg and is delicious with strawberries and other fresh fruit. You can even make your own Raw Cashew Butter opens in a new tab.
Cashews and curry in a hurry? Make Lentil Curry with Cashews and Yogurt opens in a new tab using canned organic lentils and frozen, cooked brown rice. Don’t forget to add cashews to an assortment of curry dishes.
These recipes use cashews to replace dairy for a creamy, milk-like flavor and texture:
Raspberry Vegan Cheesecake Bites opens in a new tab is made from a mixture of dates, cashews and silken tofu with raspberry purée and whole fresh raspberries.
Raspberry Nice Cream opens in a new tab is a fabulous cashew-based treat to serve in place of ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Creamy Cashew Risotto with Butternut Squash opens in a new tab, Creamy Cashew Macaroni opens in a new tab, Baked Penne in Spicy Rosé Sauce opens in a new tab and Sweet Pea and Mint Risotto opens in a new tab are three outstanding entrée options.
What’s your pick for a delicious cashew nut recipe? I’d love to know.