If you’re lactose intolerant, vegan or you just want to avoid dairy products, cashew paste is the perfect substitute for butter, cheese or cream. The image above is the cashew paste 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 paste with cashews and the results have been terrific. I’ve created three desserts with cashew paste and I will be posting them very soon.
Cashew paste is simple to make and it can be used to make soups, sauces, dips, smoothies and all sorts of luscious desserts. It can be made ahead of time or while you’re in the process of making a recipe that requires cashew paste. Should you wish to make a batch for storing, here’s the recipe:
- 1½ cups raw cashews
- lemon juice (option)
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, cover and soak for minimum 2 hours.
After soaking, drain the water and rinse the cashews thoroughly. Put them into a high-speed blender or a food processor with a good motor. Process for 2-3 minutes, gradually increasing to high and stopping to scrape down the sides. Add a little water or lemon juice, about 3-4 tablespoons or more, to obtain a smooth paste.
Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 days or 4 months in the freezer.