Here are all the best cashew recipes that show the versatility of this nut! Use them whole or blend them to make creamy dairy-free alfredo sauce or queso.
Looking for ways to use cashews? You’re in luck, because it’s one of the most versatile nuts there is! Not only do cashews taste great whole, they’ve got a secret magic trick up their sleeves. Soak and blend cashews, and they can stand in for dairy! Yes, they turn into a rich and creamy sauce that revivals the likes of sour cream and mayonnaise.
Here are our best cashew recipes for using this delicious and nutritious nut! It adds plant-based protein to a whole host of recipes. Use it in creamy cashew cilantro sauce to top tacos or sweet potatoes, as a creamy vegan alfredo sauce, or mixed with spices in our spicy cashew lettuce wraps. Oh, and did we mention our cashew queso? There are so many things to do with cashews…let’s get started!
And now…the best cashew recipes for using this nutritious nut!
You'll never believe this one's a cashew recipe! Your noodles are destined for greatness with this cashew fettuccine alfredo. It’s impossibly creamy and luscious, made with protein-packed cashews and nutrient-rich cauliflower. This one's a crowd pleaser with just about anyone. One reader said: "YUM! I love it! It’s super easy to make. I made it again 2 days later!”
Here's a perfect spread for breakfast, lunch and snacks: cashew butter! This protein-packed plant based (WFPB) nut butter is creamy and lightly sweet, and tasty smeared on just about anything. There’s a unique sweetness about it that’s almost, dare we say it, better than peanut butter? (Sorry, PB.) Making it homemade results in all natural butter with no added sugars, oils or preservatives.
These delicious and healthy cashew lettuce wraps are full of plant based protein that will keep you full for hours! The filling features this nutritious nut and tofu, sauteed with soy sauce, chili powder and a little Sriracha to maximize the zesty flavor. Add brown rice and it's an easy dinner that you'll want to make again and again.
Another great cashew recipe? Use it in energy bars! These cashew no bake energy bars are a lightly sweet healthy snack, loaded with protein-packed nuts and flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. The main idea is to blend the nuts with Medjool dates until they form a sticky dough, then roll them out into homemade Larabars. They're perfect for quick and easy breakfasts and snacks!
Meet our favorite sauce: this bright green cilantro sauce. And guess what? It’s 100% plant-based too, so it works for all sorts of eaters! This sauce is made of soaked cashews blended with a bit of water, and it magically turns into a creamy sauce. Add cilantro and lime, and it's irresistibly tangy. It's perfect for dolloping baked sweet potatoes or tacos.
This killer pesto pasta gets big flavor from emerald green basil pesto, ripe cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s perfection on a plate. And what's in the pesto but cashews! Instead of using the traditional pinenuts, which can be expensive and hard to find, try using cashews in pesto! They have great flavor and work well with basil. Try either Basil Cashew Pesto or Vegan Cashew Pesto.
Did you know you can make crackers out of cashews? These crackers are made all of whole foods, with no refined flour at all. But most importantly, they're simply delicious! The homemade crackers recipe requires only whole cashews, almonds, egg, and salt: just four ingredients! They make for the perfect crispy crackers for snacking.
Here's another one of those creamy cashew recipes: this one makes them into ranch dressing! And a darn good one at that. Most ranch dressings are made with a lot of mayonnaise, but this one uses Cashew Cream to stay dairy-free. You'll soak the cashews, then blend them with water and salt to create the creamy base. Add a few spices and you've got one very tasty ranch dressing!
Our readers go CRAZY over this one! It's made creamy using cashews that are blended right along with the soup to make a smooth base. Then there's tender wild rice, cozy carrots and onions, and white beans that round it out to add more plant-based protein. It's vegan and gluten-free, but eaters of all kinds absolutely adore it! (Got a pressure cooker? Try Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup.)
Yes, it’s possible to mimic the flavor and texture of that plastic-y, processed food nacho cheese without dairy. This whole food plant-based (WFPB) queso sauce tastes so creamy and delicious, no one will believe it’s got no actual cheese. It will have you swearing off processed nacho cheese forever. (Try it on our BEST Vegan Nachos.)
Here's a great way to use cashews in recipes: throw them in a bowl meal to add protein and nutrients! This quinoa bowl features a vibrant array of veggies: sweet mango, red pepper, red cabbage, and avocado. Add a handful of cashews and top it off with our citrus drizzle, a sauce made of soaked cashews, orange and lime juice, and fresh ginger. Dinner in 30 minutes!
Cashews are perfect for making nut butter! This homemade nut butter recipe works for any type of nuts. Using cashews brings a sweet flavor to the nut butter, so they're one of our favorites to add. You can make 100% cashew butter, or add in some other nuts like pecans or almonds. It makes for a seriously creamy spread that's tastier and cheaper than storebought.
Here's the basic sauce that started it all: cashew cream! Blend together soaked cashews, water, and salt, and it's rich and creamy, perfect for adding body to soups, pasta sauces, and dolloping chili. It’s basically non-dairy sour cream, mayo, heavy cream, and yogurt all in one!
Potato salad with no mayo? Yes, and it’s crazy delicious! This healthy spin tastes just like the classic, with mustard, dill pickles, and a creamy sauce. What makes it creamy? You guessed it: cashew cream! Here is replaces may in the best classic American style potato salad: a tangy mix with celery, green onion, and dill pickles.
This corn chowder has set a new bar for vegan soup recipes. It’s so seriously creamy, with a savory undertone that seems undeniably meaty. Contrast that with the sweetness of the corn and, well, it’s pretty darn perfect. The secret to the rich creamy body? Yep, cashews!
This easy vegan spaghetti has a superb marinara sauce of garlic, shallots, and capers , which turns out tangy and savory. To make it creamy without dairy? Add a bit of cashew cream. It comes out as a creamy tomato sauce that's a bit like vodka sauce. Pasta at its finest!
Last up in our cashew recipes: tacos! This tacos recipe uses blended cashews in the sauce. They're a healthy plant based dinner idea: they’re full of flavor, quick refried black beans and a bell pepper slaw. To top them off, serve with a smoky chipotle cashew cream.
A few more!
These aren’t enough? Outside of the recipes above, here are a few more with cashews that can help you use up a bag:
Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, start the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, pot, or saucepan (that has a cover) over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cashews and saute for 4 minutes until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, onion powder, black pepper, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes on medium high heat until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a fork.
Blend the sauce: Carefully transfer the contents to a blender and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon more black pepper. Blend on high until a smooth sauce forms.
Serve: Pour about 5 cups into 1 pound pasta (1 cup will be left over), or use it to taste. Top with finely chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.