Cashew cream is exactly what it sounds like – rich cream made from cashews. It is one of those things that I make constantly because it’s not only delicious and versatile, but also nourishing. Completely dairy-free, cashew cream is a cinch to make. This savory version gets a flavor punch from roasted garlic, and other than that, it’s just cashews, water and sea salt. Now, if you’re not into the roasted garlic thing, you can always just sauté minced fresh garlic in a bit of oil until fragrant, and use that instead of the roasted garlic. But I highly recommend the deep, rich flavor of roasted garlic.
I most frequently use cashew cream tossed with pasta instead of alfredo, on pizza instead of cheese and stirred into soups instead of cream, but the options are endless. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not knocking dairy-lovers. But replacing dairy as often as you can with a clean, plant-based substitute is a great way to eat healthier and feel better. So this recipe is my way of combining my love for creamy richness with my love for balanced and plant-centric eating.
One more note on this recipe. Really REALLY good cashew cream requires a high speed blender. That’s the only way to get a true creamy texture. However, I have made cashew cream plenty of times in a food processor, and it turns out really well. A solid five minutes on a high speed, give or take, and you’re good to go. There will be a slight grainy-ness compared to the high speed blender version, but still totally amazing.
Savory Garlic Cashew Cream
Yield: 1-1/3 cup (approx.)
dairy-free | vegan | gluten-free
1 cup raw cashews, soaked, see instructions in “notes”
3-5 cloves roasted garlic or 2-3 sautéed garlic cloves, see instructions in “notes”
3/4 cup filtered water, plus water for soaking
sea salt, fine grain
In a high power blender or food processor, add soaked/drained cashews, 1/2 teaspoon salt, roasted or sautéed garlic cloves and 3/4 cup fresh filtered water. Blend until smooth.
Add filtered water to achieve desired consistency. Add additional salt to taste.
Soaking Cashews – place in a bowl covered by a few inches water. Cover the bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for about 3 hours. Drain. In a hurry? Use the 15 minute shortcut… boil water, remove from heat, allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, pour over raw cashews, soak for about 15 minutes. Drain.
Roasting Garlic – if roasting a full head, slice off the bottom of the bulb, as close as possible to the root. Then place the two ends back together and wrap completely in aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes. I only use half of a head (5 cloves) for this recipe. You can either roast the full head or just roast the amount you need. If you’re using loose cloves (with skin on), cut the very bottom of each clove (at the root end), discard root ends. Bundle and wrap cloves tightly in aluminum foil and roast for 50-60 minutes.
When garlic is finished roasting (the cloves should be turning golden and super soft/pliable), allow to cool slightly. Then squeeze cloves gently at the top to push the roasted garlic out of the skin. Discard skins. For the loose cloves, the skins can often peel off easily.
Roasted Garlic Alternative – mince 2-3 garlic cloves and sauté over medium-low heat with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil. Once garlic cloves begin to turn gold brown, remove from heat. This should only take a few minutes so keep an eye on the stove. Add a splash of water to stop garlic from further cooking/burning.
Food Processor vs. High Power Blender – note that a food processor will take longer (about 5 minutes) and won’t get as smooth as with a high power blender.