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Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce

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Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce is the best homemade condiment to always have on hand, whether you’re vegan or not. It’s creamy as can be and loaded with bold flavors! It goes well with a plethora of different dishes, and it’s incredibly easy to make, too.

Cashew cream sauce is being poured into a jar.

Meet my new favorite sauce: vegan cashew cream sauce!

Now, before you high tail it out of here, hear me out. Not everything vegan is bland. I don’t know where the misconception came from. In fact, when you have food sensitivities, like myself, vegan recipes are actually life-savers.

In general, I try to find a lot more vegan-friendly sauces and dips because I can’t have eggs or dairy. I’m not allergic but I’m very sensitive to it and it inflames my gut so it’s best I avoid it. I found that vegan products are by far the easiest to be able to avoid dairy and egg.

Why this cashew cream sauce?

It’s so creamy, smooth, and flavorful!

Smother some cooked pasta in this cashew cream sauce, toss it with some leafy greens in a salad, or use it as a dip for all your favorite veggie snacks. No matter how you choose to enjoy this easy to make flavorful homemade sauce, you surely won’t be disappointed!

The best part about this cashew cream sauce recipe is that you could serve it to just about anyone and they won’t believe that there’s not a drop of dairy in this incredibly decadent cashew cream sauce.

This dairy-free alternative is actually quite easy to make! Honestly, between the easy to follow steps, simple ingredients, and bold, yet tame flavors that meld perfectly together, this simple sauce is a versatile kitchen staple for me now. It just goes so well with so many dishes!

The top of a jar is showing a full portion of cashew cream sauce.

Ingredients in cashew cream sauce

As you can see below, there is actually not a lot that goes into this cream sauce recipe. These are the core ingredients that create this luscious, creamy sauce!

  • Cashews – Make sure they’re not salted and that they’re raw.
  • Water – You can use less water than what’s called for if you prefer a thicker sauce.
  • Lemon juice – For the very best, most flavorful and natural results, use freshly squeezed lemon juice and not the bottled stuff.
  • Black pepper – Freshly cracked black pepper always yields the most flavor.
  • Onion powder – This is one of my favorite seasonings to create depth in most recipes.
  • Salt – Just a pinch of kosher works fine.
  • Mustard powder – My not-so secret ingredient! This is what helps create the best flavor in this cream sauce.

Ingredient substitutions and customization options

Almonds – I don’t suggest substituting out the cashews for almonds. They’re totally different in consistency when blended and almonds will not yield you the creamy, smooth texture that this cashew cream sauce has.

Peanuts – This would be a good alternative to the cashews but I haven’t given it a go myself so I’m not quite sure whether or not it 100% works. I would stick to cashews for this cream sauce.

The beauty of this cashew cream sauce recipe is how versatile it is because it is a great base for you to add in mix-ins to adapt this sauce for your favorite flavor profiles.

Some ideas are:

  • Jalapeño – this would give you a spicy kick and would kind of be like a spicy ranch!
  • Cilantro or parsley for that earthy flavor
  • Smoked paprika would give this a smokey flavor that would be so good as a dressing for like a BBQ-inspired salad!
  • Nutritional yeast – this vegan favorite imitates that cheesy flavor without the dairy. It is so addicting and would be an excellent addition in this sauce.
A glass mason jar is filled to the top with white sauce.

Should I soak the cashews overnight?

Do not soak the cashews overnight! I know that some recipes may call for that, but I don’t, and here’s why. When you soak the cashews overnight, they tend to be gritty and chunky once blended into the cream sauce.

Do I serve this cream sauce warm or cold?

It depends on what you’re using it for! It’s great both warm and cold.

I have used it as pasta sauce (warm) and I’ve also used it as a dipping sauce (cold) for carrots, cucumbers, etc.!

How long will the cashew cream sauce stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the fridge, this sauce will stay fresh for about 3-4 days. That’s plenty of time to get creative with how you use it! However, in my house, I can never seem to keep this stuff in the fridge for over 24 hours before it disappears.

A spoon is dipped into a jar of vegan cream sauce.

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Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce

This simple cashew sauce is a great staple to have around for pasta, dressings, and dips. It’s dairy-free, vegan, and super quick to make!
Prep Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, about the juice from 1 large lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon mustard powder

Instructions

  • Place the cashews in a bowl or jar and cover them with water. Allow them to soak for about 1 ½ – 2 hours. You can soak them up to 4 hours, but if you plan to do so, soak them in the refrigerator.
  • Drain the cashews and pour them into a high-speed blender. Add ¾ cup water along with the remaining ingredients. Blend for 30-40 seconds, or until the mixture is very smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a glass mason jar, then add the remaining water to the blender and blend for 5 seconds. This will help loosen up any leftover sauce on the edges of the blender. Pour the liquid into the jar and mix with a spoon until the sauce is well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste in case you’d like to add more.
  • Place a lid on the sauce and place in the refrigerator. The sauce will last for about 3-4 days in the fridge. It’s possible the sauce will last longer than that, but it never lasts very long in my house because we eat it right away!

Recipe Notes

Don’t soak the cashews overnight. The end result for the sauce will be more gritty and not as smooth.
For a thicker sauce, you can use ¾ cup water. For a sauce that’s medium thickness and will work well for pasta and other dishes, use the full cup.

YOUR NOTES

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 544 kcal | Carbohydrates: 32 g | Protein: 18 g | Fat: 43 g | Saturated Fat: 8 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23 g | Sodium: 309 mg | Potassium: 677 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 7 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pasta sauce, vegan recipes
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