Top Tip no.1 – Cashew Base

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Top tips from a vegan chef – no.1

Welcome to my first top tip!

I often get people commenting on the fact that vegan cooking is both complex and takes longer to cook in order to deliver that umami flavour. Whilst it does take a little more time and effort to transition at first, there are certain tricks of the trade that I have learnt/discovered over the years, which I would love to share with you all.  The idea is to make everyone’s lives easier – vegan food can be both yummy and effortless!

So, let’s begin! CASHEWS: what an amazing ingredient! With an overnight soak, they can be blended to create creamy goodness!

Soaked Cashews
Cashews soaked overnight

I use them in a lot of dishes, but soaking, blending and flavouring these nuts can be an arduous process. Fortunately, the mighty cashew freezes exceptionally well in its blended form. Ideally, I like to blend up a massive batch to freeze and then cut away at it over the week to use and flavour as I wish. Alternatively, you can flavour it in different ways before freezing, because it also grates very well when frozen (i.e. cashew parmesan for your favourite pasta dish, always waiting in your freezer ready to use).

Cashew Base
Creamy cashew goodness

The cashew base recipe can be flavoured, blended and used straight away, but it’s so versatile and can be used in a variety of different dishes! To help give you a few ideas, I have suggested a few flavour variations at the bottom of the recipe and ways in which you can jazz it up to create something a bit more exciting (see pictures at the bottom of this post).

HAPPY BLENDING!

RECIPE – CASHEW BASE

Equipment:
You will need a blender for this. I use a Vitamix for an extra smooth cashew base, however other machines like the NutriBullet will work as well!

Ingredients:
400g Raw cashew kernels
300g Water (add more if your blender can’t take it – just water it down less when cooking with it or reduce it over the hob)
1 tsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper

Method:
1. Soak the cashew nuts for at least 6 hours – overnight is easiest. To cheat you can soak in boiling water and keep covered for an hour.
2. Drain and then rinse the soaked cashews before using
3. Place the soaked cashews in the blender with the remaining ingredients
4. Blend until smooth
5. Use straight away or place in to any suitable fridge/freezer containers for future use

Variations:
– Cashew cheese: add turmeric, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, black pepper
– Sour cream: add lemon juice and apple cider vinegar
– Aioli: add fresh garlic, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil

Serving Suggestions:
I like to use this base for multiple dishes, including creamy sauces, soups (e.g. cream of broccoli), mac and cheese and as a béchamel alternative (e.g. lasagne) 


EXAMPLES OF DISHES USING THE CASHEW BASE:

IMG_6201
A comforting bowl of vegan mac and cheese, garnished with fresh chives, white sesame seeds and pine nuts
Stroganoff bowl 2
‘Beef’ stroganoff using Fry’s Beef Strips – keep an eye out for the recipe I will be posting soon!

I would love to know what you guys do with your cashew base, so please post your pictures in the comments/Instagram/Facebook/etc.    🙂

5 Comments Add yours

    1. They are a miracle ingredient, I love them!!

  1. AnneFoodie says:

    This looks great, going to make some so I can layer up a vegetable terrine, I like the look of the cashew cheese. Lots of bright colour from the tumeric

    1. Ooo it would work amazingly for a vegetable terrine! Maybe stick some fresh herbs in the cashew cheese 😋 the cashew cheese holds together really well especially if blended with less liquid.
      Let me know how it goes Anne!

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