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!
Less dairy and egg-based spreads means less cholesterol and reliance on animal fats for fuel. Fewer ingredients in your food means easier work of collecting and knowing them. Less pre-made and pre-packaged sauces and spreads means less waste, cost, and (potential) bad karma, so serving up appies and spreads comes cheap & healthy.
More red peppers in your food means more color and fresh vitamins. More cashews in place of dairy means more plant based alternatives. More reasons to eat plant-based means you’ll never miss your old favorites, even if you still think you might
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 color 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 flat bread 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!