Whether it’s a bowl of party nuts at a gathering or a bag of mixed nuts being munched on at work, cashews are the tree nuts we’re happiest to land on. Their buttery taste, soft crunch and soothing texture are super satisfying. Our favorite way to eat cashews? When they’re pulverized into nut butter. Stop being peanut butter picky; cashew nut butter is as versatile as it is delicious.
As a crushed paste, cashews are culinary chameleons. These crescent-shaped nuts deliver unexpected complexity and provide classic dishes and breakfasts with a richer texture. The butter is milder and more delicate in flavor than peanut butter, while it is slightly sweeter and lusciously creamy at the same time. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, essential amino acids, protein and high levels of magnesium, the spread is highly caloric – and its high caloric value is also what gives it the muscle to thicken and richen dishes. The paste forms about two minutes into processing.
- Add it to smoothies for a creamy protein boost.
- Plainly: Simply spread on toast for a quick breakfast or dip shortbread cookies in it.
- Add to hot oatmeal to increase protein and add richness.
- Substitute it for tahini in hummus.
- Try substituting cashew butter for the peanut butter in a peanut chicken satay sauce.
- Thicken Indian sauces with it; add the butter to curries for a rich background flavor.
- Cashew nut butter is also the perfect primer for a delicious all-purpose spread: cashew cheese. It’s the tasty stuff seen on lots of vegan menus that takes the place of our real dairy friend, cheese. The ricotta-reminiscent spread is often made with nutritional yeast and is amazing as a cheese or dairy substitute, especially when compared to the highly processed alternatives on the market. News flash: this stuff isn’t just for vegans. Cashew cheese is gracious in flavor and should be placed in its own category of delicious. Nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast are both deactivated yeasts that are easily found in the grocery store. Brewer’s yeast is bitter and should be used with booze only, but the nutritional kind adds some flavor dimension by imparting a cheesy flavor to the cashews. Make and eat cashew cheese as a dip, spread it on sandwiches, plop it on pizzas, accessorize salads with it, and add it to spring rolls and lasagnas for nutty layering. Learn how to make it here.
For best results with all of the above, make sure to buy fresh cashews. They should have an appealing nutty smell, be slightly oily to the touch, and have a soft crunch when you bite into them.