I have new love and respect cashew cream sauce.
My family of four has been vegan for 11 years. When I first became vegan, I avoided these rich sauces because I assumed all fats were unhealthy.
I have found my vegan journey to be a learning experience.
Yes, they make delicious, creamy sauces, but they’re good for you.
- They contain heart-healthy fats and plant-based proteins.
- They provide antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and protect us from disease.
- They are proven to be beneficial for heart health, and help lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
- Improve the health of the arteries, making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots.
Since cashews are also low in sugar and high in fiber, they can help you maintain a healthy weight. They do this by making the person feel full.
Basic cashew cream sauce
Here’s a basic cashew cream sauce that can be used for many different things.
- 1 cup of cashews
- Half a cup of water
- Half a teaspoon of salt
Blend until creamy in a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix. (If you don’t have a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in water for 2 hours first.) Mix first on low heat and then on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
Freeze in ice cube trays or other containers for readily available servings when needed. You can also store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Here are some of the ways you can use cashew cream sauce:
- Dipping: Mix cream sauce with up to 1/2 cup water, and add fresh herbs like dill and parsley and a splash of lemon zest, lime juice, or other seasoning.
- Salad Dressing: Mix a tablespoon or two of cashew cream with a little vinegar and some herbs.
- Sauce: Top with pasta for a delicious vegan alfredo
- Soups: Add cream sauce to pureed soups. It gives the soup a rich and flavorful quality.
- Smoothie: Put a few tablespoons of cream into a smoothie for a creamy texture, added protein, and healthy fats.
- Canned coconut milk substitute: A cup of cashew cream mixed with a cup of water. (This is fine for cream sauce recipes like curries if you want to avoid the saturated fat in coconut milk.) I use these a lot.
Cauliflower casserole with cheese (serves 10)
This is a family favourite. It is very quick to assemble and pop into the oven. You can use it as a side dish or throw in a meat substitute as a main course. Make sure to use tapioca flour as that is what gives it that sticky consistency.
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces and put in a 3-quart saucepan with oil
- 1 cup cashew
- 1 cup vegetable broth (1 cup water/1 tsp. “Best from stock concentrate”)
- 2 cups of soy milk
- Half a cup of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 cup tapioca flour (no substitutes)
- Half a cup of nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. Onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 ¼ tsp. salt
- Blend in a high-speed blender until smooth. I usually start with the cashews and broth, blend until smooth, then add the rest and blend.
2. Pour into a saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
3. Pour the cauliflower into the tagine and stir to coat.
4. Add optional extras if desired. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 45 minutes, checking for doneness. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes to set.
- 1 cup of crushed cornflakes
- 1-2 tbsp. Melted vegetable margarine
5. Mix the melted shortening with the cornflakes and sprinkle on top. Cover with foil as above.
I usually add meat alternatives to make this meal all-rounder. I have successfully added smoked apple and sage sausage/diced Field Roast, corned beef, or spiced soy curls. I am sure the spiced dates would be delicious too.
do what you love! When I’m feeling reckless, I sprinkle on a handful of vegan cheddar cheese or even fried onions.
Carolyn Howe and her family of four have been vegan since 2011. She is a board member at VCEI and has led cooking classes at previous VCEI events. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the VCEI website at https://www.veganeasterniowa.org/ or join the group on Facebook and Meetup.
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