Last Updated on June 3, 2023
My Cashew Cream (Vegan) is one of the easiest and most versatile vegan ingredients for making rich, creamy and comforting dishes especially creamy vegan pasta! This delicious cashew cream isn’t only for making pasta sauce, but it can also be used as/for salad dressing, white pizza sauce, wraps…just about anything!
Cashew cream is often used as an vegan alternative to heavy cream. It’s typically made with a handful of ingredients; cashews, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt. It’s so rich and creamy, it’s hard to believe it’s 100 % vegan!
When it comes to pasta, cream-based sauce has always been one of my favorites! When I first became vegan, I was sad thinking I could never eat that creamy pasta again in my life. I believe it was nearly a year or even longer, I didn’t eat any creamy (dreamy) pasta…
Then, I discovered the existence of Cashew Cream! LOL.
I believe it was at a vegan restaurant and the dish was some sort of cashew cream pasta. You have no idea how ecstatic I was when I realized how tasty cashew cream is and the best of all, I could start making creamy pasta dishes that I’d always loved! It sounds funny to say this now because cashew cream is such a staple for most vegans and I’ve been making it since then. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how rich and creamy it is without using any dairy products.
It took a while for me to realize that cashew cream is not just for pasta sauce. Now. I used it for anything when I need some creaminess!
My cashew cream is creamy and savory with a little acidity from lemon juice but not overloaded with nutritional yeast. I like nutritional yeast but some vegan food has an overwhelming amount of nutritional yeast which I tend to dislike.
For the saltiness, I like keeping it with a bit less salty so when you add to food, it doesn’t get too overpower it.
I know those preferences are personal. Good news is you can use this recipe and modify the amount to taste! I purposely keep my cashew cream recipe super basic so I could enjoy some variation like adding garlic powder, onion powder, garlic, and/or fresh herbs!
My cashew cream is not too thick or not too thin, I’d say just in the middle. I used to make a really thick one, then I soon noticed that cashew cream really thickens up once the heat is applied! In general, I’m not a fan of thick sauce.
In fact, I typically add some sort of liquid (water, pasta cooking water, wine or vegetable stock) when making pasta sauce. With my cashew cream, it gives the right consistency when it’s combined with liquid which is somewhat thick but not much.
Just like the taste, you can control the amount of water to adjust the thickness to your preference!
What to Make with Cashew Cream
Cashew cream is so versatile! I use it for/as:
- Pasta Sauce
- Salad Dressing
- Pizza Sauce
- Soup Topping (it’s great with bean chili soup)
- Sauce for Wraps
- Sauce for Tacos (I swap/add ingredients like cilantro and lime)
It’s also very easy to make variations by adding fresh herbs, garlic, spices (curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder), substitute with lime or vinegar (instead of lemon.)
How to Store Cashew Cream
Although, you can store cashew cream in the fridge, it’ll stay fresh only for 1-2 days since cashew cream is made with water. If you taste or smell sourness, or perhaps see a visible mold (usually a pink-ish color), unfortunately it’s time to toss. For that reason, you want to finish using it as soon as possible.
That said, you don’t want to contribute to food waste. At the same time, no one wants to eat cashew cream 3 times a day for 2 days just to avoid unnecessary food waste. So what’s the solution?
BATCH MAKE AND FREEZE like this ↓↓↓
Did you know cashew cream is freezer friendly? Once I figured that out, it became so much more convenient! I always make a big batch (my recipe makes about 3 cups by default), then divide into smaller size (1/2 cup, 3/4 cup or 1 cup) airtight glass container with a lid and store in the freezer. All you need to do it take it out 1-2 hours before you need it and thaw at room temperate. Or, thaw in the fridge for overnight.
Frozen cashew cream should be consumed within 1-2 months of making for the taste.
Be sure to check out the “Step-by-Step Instructions (w/ Photos)” after the Printable Recipe!
Cashew Cream (Vegan)
- 2 cups raw unsalted cashews
- 3 cups purified water at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups cold purified water
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4 - 1 tsp sea salt
- Soak cashews in water for at least 2 hours up to 4 hours. Drain well and set it aside.
- In a high-speed blender, combine soaked cashews, cold purified water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt. Start blending at the low speed then increase the speed little by little. Blend until creamy and smooth (about 60-90 seconds.)
- It’s ready to use or store in the fridge/freezer. See the section “How to Store” in the “Notes” below.
- Use raw, unsalted cashews.
- Soak cashews at room temperature.
- Cashews should be ready for blending after 2 hours of soaking (may take longer at colder temperature.)
- Lemon juice adds a little zing to the overall flavor which also helps to enhance the “cheesy” flavor when combined with nutritional yeast.
- Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Nutritional yeast adds a “cheesy” and umami-like flavor.
- I use Nutritional Yeast (non-fortified) from Foods Alive. I really like the fact it’s non-fortified!
How to Use
- Cashew cream can be used for any dish that you want to make it creamy. I use it for making creamy sauce for pasta, salad dressing, and wraps.
- It’s also great for using as a white sauce for pizza, drop a spoonful topping in soups and tacos and use in burrito fillings.
Modifications and Variations
- You can adjust the amount of ingredients to your preference. If you like thicker/thinner consistency, use less/more water when blending.
- The amount of nutritional yeast and salt can be adjustable to your taste preference.
- You could use rice vinegar, other white vinegar or lime as a substitute to the lemon juice.
- To enhance the flavor, try adding garlic powder and/or onion powder.
- Adding some fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, and parsley are also delicious, too (note: the color will turn green.)
How to Store
- In The Fridge: If you don’t use immediately, store in an airtight glass container and keep refrigerated. If using hot water or cooking method, be sure to let it cool down before refrigerating. Consume within 1-2 days.
- In The Freezer: Cashew cream freezes well, too. For your convenience, measure about 1/2 cup (80 ml), 3/4 cup (120 ml) or up to 1 cup (240 ml) of cashew cream and pour into an airtight glass container. I find those amounts to be most useful (for making 2-4 servings of dishes at a time.) Store them in a freezer until needed. It’s best to consume within 1-2 months. If using hot water or cooking method, be sure to let it cool down before freezing. When you need it, thaw in the fridge overnight or leave on a counter for 1-2 hours. Stir well and it’s ready to use.
Step-by-Step Instructions (w/ Photos)
1. Soak cashews in water at room temperature for at least 2 hours up to 4 hours. Drain well and set it aside.
2. In a high-speed blender, combine soaked cashews, cold purified water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt. Start blending at the low speed then increase the speed little by little. Blend until creamy and smooth (about 60-90 seconds.)
3. It’s ready to use or store in the fridge/freezer. See the section “How to Store” in the “Notes” below.
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