You may have 99 problems as a vegan cook, but cashews can solve 89 of them. Cashews are not the most budget friendly item on your vegan grocery list, but when it comes to impressing non-vegan friends or making that special vegan dish, knowledge of how to use this nut is vital. Cashews are the good kind of fat. Like olive oil, they are full of high density lipoprotein (HDL) which actively acts to improve cholesterol. This high concentration of good fat is not only healthy, but incredibly tasty. Use cashews where you would normally use cream or cheese, such as desserts, pizza, and pasta sauce. They key to most of these recipes is to soak the cashews beforehand. If you skip this vital step, even the best of blenders will just give you tiny bits of hard nuts in liquid.
Below are some prime examples of excellent vegan cashew recipes.
Cashew cheesecake is always an excellent choice. My favorite recipe is from minimalist baker, and it never disappoints. I have actually been playing around with the recipe, and think I may have some delicious improvements. Recipe coming soon!
As well as vegan cheesecake, you can use cashews in any dessert recipe that involves a creamy texture, such as key lime pie. This is also a recipe I have been experimenting with. I love the use of avocados!
Mexican dishes, dips, and pizza all thrive with the addition of cashew “cheese”. My favorite is this moxerella by Vedged Out. I never thought I could have a vegan cheese with such simple ingredients that was this gooey and delicious!
Vegan creams and dips are also incredibly easy. You can make vegan “sour cream” by simply blending lemon juice, salt, and vegan milk together. It goes great on falafel, like my fennel falafel, or my favorite brunch bowl of homemade vegan chorizo and American fries (this week’s recipe!). Two other of my favorites that I have used are this Garlic rosemary cashew aioli, and the amazingly simple and delicious chipotle cashew cream.
Creamy, Dreamy Sauces:
For budget friendly recipes, you can use white beans as a substitute for cream. However, if you want to add that little something extra to any recipe, add cashews. The more cashews you add, the richer the recipe will be. Every vegan mac and cheese recipe requires cashews, and they are absolutely bomb in this pumpkin alfredo.
This Week in Updates: I have a lot to do!
This week I took advantage of ADF at the Sacramento Natural Food Co-Op to get protein shake and some ingredients for a cooking contest from work. Subtracting the protein shake, I get $65, only $10 over budget, and those ingredients for the contest cost more than $10. I count that as a win!
Okay, okay, so I normally have a lot to do. However, now that I have a graduate program targeted in my sights, it’s time to put my shoulder to the wheel and push hard to the finish line. First order of business is the GRE. I’ve done my usual budget friendly technique of reserving every single GRE study book I can find from the library. They are still in transit, so I’ll just be doing some online studying today. My first test date is in October, and for this program I have to push for 90th percentile. The internet lists the top five desired skills of an Urban Planner as:
- Good analytical and problem solving skills
- Good communication skills
- Good organization skills
- Understanding of socio-economic, environmental and cultural issues
- Mediation and negotiation skills
I know that as a military member, I’ve been practicing these skills every day for the past six years. However, it’s hard to illustrate how military speak and military skills translate to the civilian world of Urban Planning. Not that I am not going to show that to the best of my ability, but I am very aware that a high GRE score will do wonders for my application.
Then after that I have my letters of recommendation, resumes, and personal statement to perfect. It’s a bit of a rush, but I am just SOOOOOOO EXCITED! And I think that is a good thing.
The Recipe: Vegan Chorizo and American Fries Brunch Bowl
Each of these homemade ingredients is good by itself, but combine them together in one bowl? The result is oh my goodness I never thought I would have this experience as a vegan delicious awesomeness! To top it all off, the chorizo and the potatoes are incredibly cheap. I made a week’s work of the chorizo for $6, and I can buy 5 pounds of potatoes (more than enough for a week) for $5. The cashew sour cream is them the only expensive component, and it all depends on how much you want. I use one heaping tablespoon per serving, 7 servings costing me about $4. Total, that’s 8 large and very filling servings for $15.
The only downside to this recipe is that you want the American fries hot and freshly cooked, requiring at least 30 minutes of meal prep even if you make the chorizo and cashew sour cream ahead of time.
- For the Cashew Sour Cream:
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup soaked cashews
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ cup non dairy milk
- A pinch of dill
- For the Tofu Chorizo:
- 6 cloves garlic
- 30 oz firm tofu
- 3 tbs mixed chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 6 spring onions, chopped
- For the American Fries:
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- For the Cashew Cream:
- Soak the cashews for at least 6 hours, and up to 24. I usually do about 8-10.
- Blend all ingredients in the blender except for the dill until creamy.
- Sprinkle dill on top as garnish.
- For the Tofu Chorizo:
- Mince and crush the garlic.
- Saute in the olive oil until fragrant over medium heat.
- Crumble the tofu until it has a meat crumble like texture.
- Add to the hot oil and garlic, along with the chili powder and salt
- Cook until hot and (depending on how much effort you want to exert to clean the pan) you can char the tofu for more flavor and texture.
- Add the chopped spring onions. Enjoy!
- For the American Fries:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the potatoes into about ½ inch chunks, and toss with olive oil.
- Cook for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until the outsides are crispy and the insides are soft.
- Top with the chorizo, and the sour cream, and start your day off right!