in pursuit of more

living with just a little less

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread

So it is totally worth saying that I am having a cashew moment of late. And of course, here is another cashew recipe! I’m not sure if it is all my vegan readers and blogging friends that are re-igniting my fondness for creating yummy goodies from this nut, but either way, I’m happy to be here, enjoying the fun that comes with working with this great transitional ingredient for those looking to wean (just a little or a lot) of dairy from their diets.

Yup, cashews. They are pretty rad.

As many of you already know, the cashew is a very natural stand in for recipes requiring the richness, texture, and taste of dairy. For anyone wanting to reduce or eliminate milk and milk products from their diet, this is such a wonderful ingredient to cozy up and get familiar with.

Cashews can just be used in so many ways (but you guys know that already, right?)! To make cream, cheese sauce, dinner, as a topping for a healthy salad, as salad dressing, and today in a luscious spread for everything from burgers to sandwiches to pizza.

Cashews are not cheap as far as nuts go (not too many nuts are anymore), but pound for pound they might not actually be all that far off the price of good organic dairy. So while moderation is always key for any rich food (plant-based or not), it is prudent to also keep that in mind when adopting cashews for use as a dairy substitute in the kitchen.

Less is usually more, and that is certainly the case for this rich and flavorful spread, but the beauty part here is this dip is largely made of peppers. Roasted to perfection first, of course!

Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread:

(1/3) cup cashews, roasted
(2) red peppers, roasted, peeled & seeded
(2) tsp fresh lemon juice
(1/4) cup fresh parsley
(1/3) cup olive oil
(1/2) tsp salt
(1) small clove garlic (optional)

Start by roasting the peppers. To prepare, wash & slice the peppers each in halves lengthwise and place (seed side down) on a flat cookie sheet (no need for oil). Turn the oven on to broil and broil the peppers until black and blistered (and smelling wonderful) – about 15 minutes or so. Once ready, carefully remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Next, turn the already hot oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cashews on a flat baking tray and place in the oven. Roast to a light brown colour and until just fragrant and remove from the oven to cool about 8-10 minutes. Prepare the lemon juice, parsley, salt, oil & garlic (if using) and add to the blender along with the still-warm cashews.

To prepare the roasted and cooled peppers for blending, wait until they are cool enough to handle with your hands, then simply remove the skins, stems, and the seeds with your hands and add the pepper flesh to the blender. Blend all of the ingredients together until perfectly smooth. Transfer to a clean jar or container and allow to cool before serving. Kept in the fridge, this delicious spread will keep for well up to a week.

Use this beauty as a substitute for mayonnaise in sandwiches and in burgers, or as a dip for raw celery or Belgian endive leaves. There are numerous uses for this dip, and I enjoyed it several times slathered over the latest version of chickpea flatbread I’ve been making – topped with chopped fresh tomatoes and thyme roasted red onions. Pretty darned awesome any day of the week if you ask me, and even the teenager was pretty impressed. Win!

43 responses to “Roasted Cashew & Red Pepper Spread

  1. Shira – this looks DIVINE! I am definitely giving this one a go. Thank you.

    I have a question for you – not sure if you remember our dairy-free experiment down here. The upshot is we have discovered that LM (formerly lover of all things custard and cream filled) is HUGELY dairy intolerant. We are still experimenting with exactly what it is in the dairy that sets him off, but suffice to say sweet treats are a whole other ballgame in Casa TSL now.

    So, to my question – do you have a super-Shira recipe in your collection for a whipped cream equivalent? I am familiar with cashew cream, but am seeking a lighter/fluffier solution. Any thoughts, she-who-knows-all?

    Hugs from down under 🙂

    1. I am not Shira, but Shira’s cashew posts have had me experimenting. I am able to get whipped cream from cashew cream in my iSi cream whipper (uses Co2 cartridge). It is wonderful. I have had success using a thick cashew cream for everything I’ve tried that calls for heavy cream.

      I make the cashew cream in a Vita-mix 32 ounce container with water covering the nuts (nuts that have been soaked overnight) by 1/2 to 3/4 inch. This makes a thick cream. I haven’t tried whipping it with beaters but would suggest, if you do, just like whipping regular cream….get bowl and beaters very cold in the freezer first. The cream should be cold as well.

      I haven’t tried a custard but maybe I will :)!

      1. Hello Liz-who-is-not-Shira (but who is STILL a legend!)

        Thanks ever so much for your advice. I am off to collect the cashews to try whipping them – post cream making and all the refrigeration that entails, of course! I do not have a cream whipper but I do have a Vitamix… Thank you! 🙂

        I love this blogging world!

      2. Thank you Liz! your suggestions are wonderful and I have given the cashew caramel sauce a go with great success! Loving the custard thought too! You are always so wonderfully helpful – thank you! 🙂

    2. J! I am so glad Liz piped in sooner than me with her amazing suggestion (I’d love to hear how you make out!) – another suggestion is to use chilled coconut cream…if you pop a can in the freezer for a half hour or so and separate the cream from the liquid it will whip up much like the real thing! A quick google search for coconut whipped cream should yield some different methods – I’ve yet to give it a go but have heard good things! Hope you find something for LM – I am feeling you!

  2. Love the idea of a spread – Thank you! I have been making the cashew red pepper sauce and have also made it with anaheim chiles and jalapenos for a sauce with a bit of heat and mex.

  3. This Chirsmtas I am celebrating less is more. My parents have suggested that I not buy them anything this year. So instead I having them over for dinner while they are in town visiting and am going to buy a bottle Grey Goose and shake up some Martinis. And yes I will be making this Roasted Red Pepper & Cashew spread, because I know my Mom and sister will love it.

    Like you I have yet to buy any presents. After a great conversation with one of my good friends, I decided that I am giving my nieces and nephew back in Ontario the gift of time. The next time we are together, they get to be an activity that the two of us get to do together. It will be interesting to see what their reactions will be, but I bet you that none of them could tell you what I got them last year.

    Also, I am so excited for next year and everything that NSF will become.

    1. Me too Paula – me too! This is so great and I know a bottle of grey goose will likely produce (hopefully) more fond memories than a pile of objects would – with moderation being the key of course (hehe you know I have to say it being the light weight that I am).
      So happy to have ALL of your support – love you! xx

  4. This looks and sounds amazing Shira, the colour is stunning and I love that it only uses 1/3 cup of cashews. You’re right, nuts are getting pretty pricey, which means I have been looking for ways to stretch them a little further. This dip is a great way to start!

    Have a wonderful weekend my dear 🙂

    1. Agreed & happy you like it! This dip manages to carry the roasted flavour of nuts throughout without being too heavy on either the stomach or the food budget 🙂 You too Gabby! xx

  5. This sounds delicious, Shira. I’ve always loved roasted red peppers in dips and sauces but this is the first I’ve heard of using freshly roasted cashews with them. I have to give this a try. Thanks!

  6. Mmmm this post just triggered a hungry belly- I could go for a veggie burger slathered with this spread right about now!

    Funny enough Justin and I just made the decision this morning that we are opting for a gift free christmas next year (giving and receiving) – we would like to give an experiencesor a donation to an important cause (important to the reciepient) in their name next Christmas – I tend to become very overwhelmed with the thought of more “stuff” coming into our home or going into anothers….the challenge is going to see how our “master, well intioned plan” is going to be recieved by family.

    Do you have any plans to branch out NSF to other regions that want to get involved and start up a NSF?

    1. Heather I absolutely love that you and Justin are doing this! So fabulous and I could not agree more about the idea of more ‘stuff’ coming in to the house – I just don’t want any of it!
      Yes, and yes, and a big YES to your question regarding NSF – 2013 will be a big year for us as we are plugging away at our concept – so happy to have your interest and I can’t wait to get as many on board as possible 🙂 Much more to come, and thank you for asking! XX

  7. I’ve got so many peppers sitting here from the farmer’s market, and I was just despairing over how I’d use them all before I left for winter vacation–this post has been, consequently, a convenient godsend. Thanks for sharing, Shira!

  8. All your recipes look fabulous ! This spread sounds delicious and looks brilliant on the little veg cakes all toasted and colorful at the bottom of the page. Is the recipe available for them? Pleas let me know. Thanks.

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