Can we please give it up for delicious creamy vegan dressings (that aren't made of vegetable oil)?!! I can't believe it's taken me so long to start making my own cashew dressing! Nonetheless, it's safe to say that it's my latest and greatest obsession. I admit, I say that about a lot of things. Speaking of which, I've been obsessed with anything and everything chai-spiced so you can probably expect a lot of chai-spiced desserts, breakfasts, and/or drinks in the upcoming weeks or months. Although, there probably won't be any chai spice cashew dressing. Or should there be a chai spiced cashew dressing...? I mean, chai-spiced chocolate cashew sauce??? On oatmeal? Or as a dip? OR I could make it thicker in the form of a cheesecake?? Oh man, I admit I've got a problem.
I had been avoiding cashew dressing because it always seemed like too much work with all the soaking and blending but turns out it's actually pretty easy and I'm just painfully lazy. To be fair, when I finally decided to try making vegan cashew dressing I tried and failed a couple times. I soaked the nuts for way too long (full 8 hours as I would almonds) and they were just too soggy and purple (yep, purple) and the dressing was never good. Then I finally decided to google it and found out you should soak cashews for way less than other nuts. If you're using cold water, 2-3 hours should be enough. OR if you're lazy and impatient like me, just soak them for 30 minutes in hot water and they'll be perfect for dressing in no time.
I know that 30 minutes probably isn't sufficient enough to get rid of the enzyme inhibitors (they make it harder for you to digest the nuts, hence you soak the nuts to get rid of them) but I just don't have the patience.
Now, about the purple cashews. Apparently, when you soak your cashews for too long, they turn slightly purple which doesn't mean they've gone bad, it just means they're oversoaked and probably soggy. We don't want that. Don't throw them out yet, though! Throw them into the blender and blend, add water if needed and if you succeed and they turn into a creamy dressing, add the rest of the ingredients. That way you waste neither the cashews nor the rest of the ingredients.
The three main ingredients in this recipe are the cashews (obviously), lemon juice, and sea salt. That should be your base for anything and everything. You can add totally different spices than I did for a completely different dish. I went with garlic, nutritional yeast, onion, black pepper, and a bit of tahini for a universal creamy, tangy dressing with a kick. You can add tamari, olive oil (or olives), maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, chilli, any spices you like, or even stuff like fresh herbs or sun-dried tomatoes. The possibilities are literally endless.
I hope you love it and if you try it, don't forget to snap a picture and let me know on Instagram or Twitter! I'm also on Snapchat @healthfulideas, add me to see what I eat throughout the day, how I shoot, and what I'm up to every day. :)
- 1 cup cashews (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained and rinsed)
- ¾ cup water + more depending on how thick you want it to be
- 1-2 cloves garlic (or more, depending on size)
- ½-1 lemon, juiced (I used a whole lemon but if you don't like your dressings too tangy, start with ½ and add more if needed)
- 1 tbsp tahini (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Add everything into a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Add more water if it's too thick. If you don't plan on using it right away, add 2-3 tablespoon more water because it will thicken up in the fridge. If it's still too thick when you're ready to use it, just add more water and stir.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days.