Cashew Dreams

So, I recently discovered something that I think has become my new favorite condiment. I know that’s a pretty broad statement, considering there is a whole world of culinary delights out there to choose from, but the ease and absolute deliciousness of this particular beauty just won me over right from the start.

To begin with, its main ingredient is cashews, which is make it an automatic winner. Cashews of course are a good source of natural, healthy fats that your body needs to function, and contain protein to keep your motor running. What you might not know is that cashews are ripe with proanthocyanidins, which actually starve cancer cells and keep them from growing. They also have a high copper content which helps eliminate free radicals; they are also good sources of phytochemicals and antioxidants which will help protect you from heart disease and cancer. (Cancer preventative?  I’m in.)

Cashews also have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and have a high concentration of oleic acid, the heart-friendly monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. In addition, because of their trace mineral content, they help boost bone, hair and skin health.

And if you needed one more reason, because cashews do have a lower fat content than most nuts, and because they are energy-dense and fiber-rich, eating cashews on a regular basis can help you manage appetite and weight gain. And almost every woman I know is trying in some way or another to manage weight gain.

The other nice thing about this recipe is that the savory version uses apple cider vinegar, which contains amino acids that may help with lactic acid buildup after an intense workout. Apple cider vinegar also contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve fatigue.

On top of all this, you only need about five ingredients, no matter whether you’re making the “sweet” or “savory” variety. And any recipe that uses five or fewer ingredients gets extra points in my book. Besides, most of these are readily available in your kitchen…which means you may not have to make an extra trip to the grocery store.

There are tons of variations you can try with this one; I have been slowly falling in love with the sweet version because it tastes absolutely amazing with blackberries or blueberries…and us coming into berry season and all in the Pacific Northwest, well…you can see where I’m going with this. I think I’m going to be eating a LOT of sweet cashew cream in the next month or so. But you can pair it with all kinds of stuff; try it as a topping for other fruits as a yummy healthy dessert that won’t weigh you down, or as a base for smoothies.

The savory alternative has its own bevy of delicious uses; use it as a base for soups, or add a touch more vinegar or oil and use it as a dressing. I haven’t tried this yet, but you can use it as a sour cream substitute, and I think it would be fabulous on turkey tacos. You can dress it up a little with pesto or sun-dried tomato, and toss it in a little Tupperware to use it as a dip or spread for crackers. Go crazy.

I would love to hear other suggestions or variations; regardless, give this one a try.

Cashew Cream

Savory

1 c. raw cashews
1/2 c. water
Juice of one lemon
Dash of apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. salt

Sweet

1 c. raw cashews
1/2 c. water
4 T. agave nectar or maple syrup (you can also use a few dates) 1/2 t. vanilla
Dash of sea salt

1. For either recipe, soak cashews overnight, then drain and rinse.
2. Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor.
3. Refrigerate; this will keep for at least a week, maybe longer…mine doesn’t usually last that long!

*Recipe courtesy of mindbodygreen.com