Wondering how to make cashew cream? I'll walk you through it step by step, as well as share my favorite ways to use this quick cashew cream!
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Dairy is always optional on our Prep Dish meal plans. I know a lot of people choose not to eat dairy, either because of allergies, intolerance, or simply preferring to exclude it for nutritional reasons.
That said, I don't want anyone to miss out on decadent, creamy recipes from time to time!
Cashew cream is one of my favorite hacks for converting typically dairy-filled recipes to dairy-free versions. I also love coconut milk but it has a stronger flavor and sometimes that flavor doesn't work with a particular recipe.
Fortunately, cashew cream is super easy to make, rich and creamy without its own distinctive flavor, and an all-around powerhouse when it comes to dairy-free meal prep.
Make sure to read below the recipe for additional tips and my favorite ways to use this dairy free staple.
Quick Cashew Cream
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 cup water
- Soak 1 cup cashews in 1 cup hot water for ~20 mins.
- Blend cashews and water until smooth.
What is the nutrition like in this recipe?
While you'll find many dairy-free replacements at the grocery store, they sometimes have questionable ingredients. It can be completely overwhelming to sort through the options for one you're comfortable with. Not to mention, they don't all taste good!
That's why I really prefer to make my own when I'm looking for something to replace dairy. (Check out my simple recipes for homemade almond milk and chocolate cashew milk too!)
You'll notice the only ingredients here are cashews and water…nothing weird to Google! Fortunately, cashews are a great nutritional addition to your diet.
Generally thought of as nuts, cashews are actually seeds. They're rich in copper, magnesium and manganese. These nutrients are good for bone health, brain health and immunity. Cashews are also high in antioxidants and may benefit weight loss efforts, blood sugar levels and heart health. They're also a great source of protein and healthy fats!
More Tips on How to Make Cashew Cream
Cashew cream is super versatile! You can use it in anything from pasta, to soup, to simple dips. Here are some tips for success to keep in mind:
- Adjust the amount of water based on how thick you want your cashew cream. Think about what you're trying to replace. If you're replacing heavy cream, you'll want a fairly thick consistency and the above 1:1 ratio of cashews to water will work well. However, if you want it thinner, such as to replace milk in a recipe, add more water. For a thicker consistency, add less.
- Use a high power blender for best results. (I love the Vitamix!) A food processor or lesser blender will not result in the smooth consistency you're looking for.
- Be patient! It can take up to 5 minutes to get truly smooth and creamy. Don't give up! Just keep blending until it's really smooth.
- Raw, unsalted cashews are the way to go here. If you can't find them at your grocery store, Thrive Market is a great resource.
Can I meal prep this recipe?
Cashew cream will stay fresh in your fridge for 4-5 days.
You can also freeze cashew cream! I recommend freezing in small amounts so you can thaw the exact amount you need. You can freeze in an ice cube tray before transferring the cubes to a freezer container OR freezer in 1/2 cup increments in a freezer meal prep container. You'll need to shake or whisk to recombine after thawing.
How to Use This Quick Cashew Cream
Cashew cream is the perfect substitute for milk, half and half, heavy cream, or even cheese in a variety of recipes. Once you get the hang of using it, you'll easily be able to use it to create dairy-free variations of your favorites. As with any new ingredient though, I know it's helpful to use a specific recipe as a jumping off point.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes using cashew cream, as well as some additional ideas for how to use it:
- Lasagna: Dairy-free lasagna may sound like an impossibility but I assure you, wish cashew cream, it's totally doable! My Paleo Turkey Zucchini Lasagna gives you the option to either use Greek yogurt OR cashew cream in place of the standard ricotta and mozzarella. Either options gives the lasagna its characteristic creaminess.
- Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup: Creamy soups are one of the best ways to use cashew cream and this one is no exception! While you can also use coconut milk for dairy-free creamy soups (like in this chowder!) cashew cream has a much milder flavor. It's the perfect choice when you don't want a hint of coconut!
- Vegetable Chowder: My Vegetable Chowder is another great example of how to use cashew cream in soups!
- Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes: A combination of cashew cream and chicken stock work well for dairy-free mashed potatoes. They're just as creamy and full of flavor as the dairy-laden version!
- Sweet Cashew Cream: If you want to add cashew cream to a dessert, throw a pitted date or two or a bit of maple syrup into the blender when you make it! Start with one date or 1 tsp maple syrup and keep adding until you reach your desired level of sweetness. This is excellent for serving with strawberries. (My coconut whipped cream is another great dairy-free option!)
- Toss with Pasta: If you love creamy pasta but it doesn't leave you feeling good, try using cashew cream instead! Use cashew cream to replace heavy cream or half and half in any creamy pasta dish.
More resources for Dairy Free Meal Prep
Here at Prep Dish we provide subscribers with gluten free, paleo, low carb and super fast meal plans each and every week. For our gluten free and paleo meal plans, dairy is always optional. That means I've had quite a bit of experience creating tasty, dairy-free recipes the whole family will enjoy!
You can see some of my favorite ways to use dairy-free alternatives in this short video I made! These recipes are also great dairy-free options for popular favorites:
How to Go Dairy Free – Tips on a Dairy Free Meal Plan
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The cashew cream was such a delightful find for our family members with dairy allergies. We love all of the recipes using it, and such easy prep! Our family especially enjoys the turkey zucchini lasagna and the chicken pot pie soup. Thanks for the extra suggestions on how to use it. Very helpful! We always keep some raw cashews in our pantry now.
That’s great to hear! It is a great replacement!