Cashew cream is more than just a dairy-free substitute for vegans. For me—a cheese-toting, egg-flipping, non-vegan vegetarian—it’s a multipurpose workhorse, an ingredient that easily functions as a sauce, condiment, or dressing. This version is distinctly savory thanks to the addition of garlic and salt, and it’s a gateway to lots of quick and flavorful weeknight dishes.
Many cashew cream recipes call for long soaking times to soften the nuts and make them easier to blend. If you have the time, you can certainly soak your cashews overnight in the fridge. I, however, prefer to speed things up: Soaking cashews in just-boiled water breaks down their crunchy texture in 30 to 60 minutes.
Whip up this double batch and keep on hand for making a couple of weeknight dinners, such as Creamy Cashew Udon With Crispy Mushrooms, Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas With Herby Cashew Cream, or Broccoli and Cashew Cream Soup. —Hetty McKinnon
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