The Magic of Cashews: the Vegan’s Secret Weapon

When I was first learning to be vegan, I went to a raw vegan cooking class and the chef was so excited about soaked, raw nuts.  I had no clue what she was talking about, and I had no idea there was even such a thing as “raw” nuts.  It turns out the raw vegan chef was onto something – soaking raw nuts can soften them up and breaks down a protective acid in the nuts.

As for “raw” nuts, they’re just nuts that haven’t been roasted or processed yet.  They do need to be soaked to break down the acid.  I found many types of raw nuts in the bulk section at my neighborhood Whole Foods.

Now for the magic!  When you soak cashews overnight and then blend them with water the next day, you get, wait for it, a cream sauce.  This cream sauce is incredibly versatile because it’s pretty bland / generic.  You can sweeten it up or make it savory, and it’s an overall great replacement for cream (dairy-free people of the world rejoice!).

Here’s how you make the magic cashew cream happen:

Cashew Cream

  • 2 cups whole, raw cashews, rinsed very well under cold water
  • Water


  • Put the cashews in a bowl (or mason jar) and add cold water to cover them.  Cover the bowl / jar and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Drain the soaked cashews and rinse under cold water.
  • Place the rinsed cashews in a high-speed blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch.  Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth.
  • Note: To make a thicker cashew cream, simply reduce the amount of water in the blender, so the water just covers the cashews.
Soaked Cashews -  Preparing for Cashew Cream Sauce

Soaked Cashews – Preparing for Cashew Cream Sauce

Once you’ve got this cream made, you can add garlic and nutritional yeast to make an alfredo sauce.  Or, you can add pumpkin and maple syrup to make a pumpkin pie base (more to come on this later this week!).

I’ll be testing out recipes with the magic of soaked cashews over the coming weeks and hunting for new ones on pinterest.  Let me know if you have some favorites!

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