If you’re lactose intolerant, vegan or you just want to avoid dairy products, cashew butter or paste is the perfect substitute for dairy butter. The image above is the cashew butter that I’ve recently made.
In addition to their delicate nutty flavour and creamy texture, cashews are rich in protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and potassium. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids and other heart-healthy fats.
Though a single ounce of raw cashews contains 156 calories, cashews may aid in weight control because you only need small amounts to feel satiated. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, if your diet is already low in saturated fat, consuming 1-2 ounces of raw cashews every day is good for your heart, circulation and overall health.
As a mid-afternoon snack, I enjoy a handful of raw cashews. I also enjoy them in salads and other vegetarian dishes. Recently, I’ve been making butter with cashews and the results have been terrific.
Should you want to make your own cashew butter, bear in mind that it’s easier to make it in a food processor with a good motor than a blender because the food processor blade is removable. However, a powerful blender also works well. Should you wish to make a batch for storing, here are two ways to make cashew butter.
- 2 cups raw cashews
- A few tablespoons of water or lemon juice (option)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Here are 2 ways to make cashew paste or butter:
1. Raw cashew butter: Soak the cashews in a bowl with warm water – just enough to cover them. Cover and soak overnight. Alternatively, for a quick soak, cover the cashews with boiling water, put a lid on and soak for minimum 2 hours. An even quicker soaking method (that I prefer) is to put the raw cashews and water in a small microwaveable bowl with a lid on and microwave on high heat for 3 minutes. After they soaked and are soft, drain the water with a fine mesh sieve and rinse the cashews thoroughly under running tap water.
Put the cashews into a food processor with a good motor (or a blender). Pulse several times to chop the nuts. Then process for 8-10 minutes, gradually increasing to high and stopping to scrape down the sides periodically, until the paste is smooth. Add a few tablespoons of water or lemon juice should you want a lighter and smoother texture. Add the salt and process for another minute.
2. Roasted cashew butter: Omit soaking the cashews and instead, roast them in a preheated oven at 350° F / 180°C. Roasting will give the butter a rich nutty flavour. Also, the texture will be a little smoother and you may not need to add any water or lemon juice during processing. To roast, simply spread the dry raw cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast until golden and fragrant, for about 8-9 minutes. While roasting, mix/shake the cashew with a big spoon a few times. When done, transfer them in your processor bowl and process as indicated above.
Transfer butter to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or 4 months in the freezer.