Going Nuts for Cashews

Rich cashews are lower in total fat than most nuts, always a crowd favorite and particularly flavorful in baked goods and curries and as a spread or dip.

Cashews are native to South America but are cultivated today in many tropical regions. There are several varieties, some are quite large (called “jumbo cashews”), and others quite small, comparatively. The nut is actually a seed that grows on the end of the cashew “apple”, an edible fruit known in tropical regions but unfamiliar in America and Europe due to its fragility which makes it unsuitable for shipping and transporting. This rich, curved nut — which is actually lower in total fat than most nuts — is always a crowd favorite and particularly flavorful in cookies and cakes.I first learned to love cashews in Indian food. My all-time favorite is roasted cashews stirred into steamed basmati rice, flavored with cumin or caraway seeds and a dab of ghee. 

Lentil Curry with Cashews and Yogurt is a delicate blend of vegetables and Indian curry spice and is also very delicious!

You can enjoy cashew nuts in a variety of dishes for breakfast to dessert.

  • Add them to stir-fries! Growing up in Hawaii, I learned to love simple dishes like chicken or tofu with vegetables and cashew nuts.

  • Make homemade Raw Cashew Butter. Use as a spread for sandwiches, toast (then sprinkle with cinnamon – my favorite!) or crackers. It’s also good in dips like Cream Cheese and Cashew Dip and creamy spreads.

  • Cashews have a creamy, dairy-like consistency in nondairy recipes like “Creamed” Kale and Baked Penne in Spicy Rosé Sauce that rely on cashews to replace cheese, cream and milk.    

  • Make cashew milk: Soak 1/2 cup cashews in water to cover for 4 to 6 hours. Drain and place in a blender with 2 cups fresh water. Purée completely. If desired, add honey or maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt, pure vanilla extract or ground spices like nutmeg or cinnamon. Transfer to a container with a lid. Refrigerate and use within 3 to 5 days. Shake well before using.  

  • You can also make nondairy Cashew Nut Cheese in place of cream cheese on a bagel or as a “cheesy” sauce for pasta dishes.  

  • Cashew Sour Cream can be used in place of mayonnaise or sour cream in many favorite recipes.

  • Roasting cashews really brings out their flavor. Try them on hot or cold cereal or chopped and sprinkled over waffles, pancakes, yogurt and fruit salad. For a delicious treat, add cashews to our Coconut and Macadamia Granola recipe.

  • Try Spicy Rice with Cashews. It’s studded with dried currants and peas and flavored with curry spices. 

  • Add chopped cashews to cookies, brownies, cakes, muffins, bars and nut breads. Make Crispy Cashew Rice Treats, PB&J Bites and Peanut Butter and Jelly Snack Muffins with cashew butter in place of peanut butter for school lunches or snacks. 

  • Add cashews or cashew butter to smoothies.

  • Sprinkle roasted cashews over sweet potatoes.

  • Grind cashews into “flour” and use as you would almond flour for gluten-free recipes and baking.

  • Add cashew nuts to trail mix.

  • Make this Carrot Cashew Spread for sandwiches, dips or crackers.

  • Try roasted cashews in place of croutons on a Caesar or leafy green salad.

Do you have a good recipe or idea for cashew nuts? I’d love to know.

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