Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.
Or, put another way, sometimes when I am trying to use up an ingredient I accidentally create a recipe that is really good!
I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes using soaked raw cashews with limited success. Most of the time you’re going for a cheesy taste and I just haven’t been able to get that to a point that I really enjoy it. They have been fine but not great. With cheesy, I’d rather not have it then have mediocre. But that’s just me.
But I have quite the collection of raw cashews in my freezer. Apparently I always think I am out and “need some!” So upon looking through my freezer last week I decided to soak some overnight. I put about a cup and a half of raw cashews into a container and covered with water and left them to “do their thing.” About 36 hours later I was staring at these cashews thinking “NOW what do I do with them??”
After some internet searching I came across a recipe for cashew cream cheese that sounded pretty good and I thought that this was something I might be able to enjoy. A quick read through the recipe and yep, I’ve got all the ingredients so let’s get started! Except while my eyes read “hummus” my brain registered “tahini.” I have no idea why. It’s just what happened. So while my cashews were blending in my handy-dandy vitamix I was looking through the fridge thinking “NOW what do I do with them??” again! Because the only hummus I had was roasted tomato garlic and that was not the way I was thinking my cream cheese replacement was going to taste.
So I figured I could throw out the soaked cashews or experiment. Because if I experimented and it failed, was it any worse than having to carry the blended soaked cashews to the compost? So I threw in a little of this and a little of that and I tasted repeatedly. In the end I thought it was pretty good warm so I put it in a container in the fridge and crossed my fingers that it would taste amazing cold.
I was not disappointed. It’s not the prettiest looking spread but on a baguette or a bagel or really, on anything, it’s fabulous. E even said “Mom! It tastes like the inside of a cinnamon bageler.” (These are bagels that have been hollowed out and filled with cinnamon cream cheese and are served as breakfast at E’s school occasionally.) I was able to create a healthy (ish) vegan dish that tasted as good as junk food? That’s pretty good!
Sweet Cashew Cream
1.5 cups raw cashews soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp tahini
4-5 tbsps agave nectar
1 tbsp safflower oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp cinnamon (I like Penzey’s China Cinnamon here)
2-3 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
After you have drained the cashews place them in your high powered blender. (I’d imagine a food processor would work as well. If you use one please let me know how it worked!) Add the water and blend until things are chunky going on creamy.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until really creamy and combined. At this point it’s pretty good warm. (Yes I *did* lick the inside of my Vitamix.) But it improves tremendously if you let it get cold.
Spread on bread or eat with a spoon!
This recipe works well for Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs’ Wellness Weekend!