Cashews have a rich nutty taste, an earthy flavor, and a touch of bitterness. People often know them as nuts, but they actually are the seeds of cashew fruits. These tasty seeds have a good amount of protein and a wide variety of uses.
When roasted, you can eat them straight, blend them into smoothies or put them in tarts. But most of the time, people use it as a paste for their soups, sauces, or curries.
Nevertheless, under many circumstances, you may find yourself wondering, “Which one is a great cashew paste substitute”? This article gives you some alternative suggestions for your meals.
What Is Cashew Paste?
Cashew paste is the product of grinding raw cashews and water into smooth paste.
After harvesting the cashew apples, people use the seeds to produce cashew paste. It is ideal for creating the thickness and creaminess of sauces. That’s why cashew nut paste is used in many dishes, especially curries, soups, and scrambled tofu.
How to make cashew paste? The cashew paste recipe only includes raw cashew seeds. The making process only requires finely grinding. This way, it will turn into a paste ready to enhance any dish’s flavor.
Recommended Cashew Paste Substitute
Have you ever wondered, “what can I use instead of cashew paste”? Here are some options for cashew paste substitution.
Hazelnut paste is one of the best choices to substitute for cashew paste. It may bring an interesting experience besides just giving the original taste of cashew in your dishes.
The paste provides a creamy, luscious, thick texture like how cashew paste does. Not only does it bring the same nutty, rich, earthy taste, but it also has a remarkable hearty fragrance. In case you’re not ready for a distinctive dish, this is not the best option.
Pine Nut Paste
Although cashew is already high in oil, pine nuts contain much more of it. That means using pine nuts to substitute for cashews will make your paste smoother and sauces creamier. Consequently, you may not need the same ratio of pine nuts paste in your dish.
However, bear in mind that pine nuts have an extremely unmistakable woody, piney aroma. They taste nuttier than cashews do. So if you’re using the paste incautiously, it may take over the whole dish.
In case you’re making a light, frugal, pure dish that you don’t want to be disturbed by the strong aroma, then it is not the substitute to go for.
Almond Nut Paste
One of the best choices is to use almond nut paste as a cashew paste replacement. It provides the same creaminess and thickness without the strong aromatic scent that pine nut paste has.
If you normally get the paste from stores, keep in mind that it usually contains sugar. And so, your dish might have a touch of sweetness if you use almond nut paste.
But in case you prefer the sugar-free paste, the best way is to grind your almond nuts at home. Also, almond nuts still have a distinct nutty taste, although they are not as strong as pine nuts do.
Sometimes, cashew nut flour can alter whole wheat flour in baking. So, you can use it to substitute for cashew flour, too.
Sunflower Seed Paste
Surprisingly, the taste of the tiny seeds inside the black shells is exactly the same as nuts. The flavor and texture of sunflower seeds are much similar to cashews. That’s why the paste is a great cashew paste alternative.
Yet, sunflower seeds also contain a great amount of oil, just like pine nuts do. So, the paste gives you a more luscious, smoother texture, and it won’t overpower your dish with a strong woody flavor.
The thing is, people tend to get sunflower seed butter by mistake instead of paste. There is sugar in the butter, and it will likely ruin your dish with the sweetness instead of just giving it a rich, creamy taste.
If you cannot replace cashews with nuts or seeds, try the classic solution – dairy products. You can use anything like heavy cream or cream cheese, especially sour cream, which are the most popular ingredients for thickening sauces. Old but gold, right?
When consuming dairy products, be cautious of lactose intolerance or any other kinds of allergies. It can be dangerous to use dairy alternatives in these cases. Also, stay away from boiling dairies to avoid curdling.
How To Choose the Best Cashew Paste Substitute?
In fact, the best alternatives would be those foods with high-fat levels that contribute to the creaminess in the texture of your dish. These foods include sunflower seed paste, pine nut paste, almond nut paste, or hazelnut paste.
In case you love to replace cashew paste with dairy products, then sour cream, heavy cream, cream cheese, or even strained yogurt will be your best friends!
However, you must take the dish you plan to cook into consideration before picking an alternative. Opt for those nut choices if the dish you cook requires that nutty flavor, but be mindful that these nuts are quite high in oil content – Use them wisely! In case the creamy texture is what you are looking for, then go for those daily products! Note that daily product options can not bring the nutty flavor you expected!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Make Homemade Cashew Paste?
Want to make this paste at home with your available seeds? See this instruction!
- Soak the cashews in warm water for at least 45 minutes before processing. You can soak them overnight.
- Chop the seeds before putting them in the blender to help the paste smoother.
- For every one and a quarter part of cashews, add one part of water. Put more or reduce the amount of water-based on your personal preference. Just make sure to add enough water for a finely ground paste.
- Store the paste in a container with a tight lid. It can last for 6 days in the fridge or 4 months in the freezer.
Why Should I Replace Cashews Past?
Most of the time, this ingredient is quite easy to eat and add to your daily meals. Still, you should use roasted ones as a substitute for raw cashews for your body to digest them thoroughly.
Besides, roasted cashews in stores may have plenty of salts and oils which are added during roasting. The best way is to make it your own; just simply put them on a tray and roast them in the oven. Make sure to stir them occasionally to avoid burning.
If you have allergies, we do not recommend eating them but finding something that can substitute cashews!
What Are Cashew Paste Cooking Suggestions?
As mentioned above, there are various ways of using cashew paste, such as in common recipes of cashew alfredo, pasta sauce, soup, curry, cheesecakes. You can even add it in sweet dishes like ice-creams, smoothies, or in making non-dairy milk and baking.
If you are planning on a diet, it will be a good ingredient to add to your plan! In detail, cashews can help you lose weight while still offering you enough healthy fat and fibers.
Apart from vegan cuisine, it is also popular in Indian recipes that require the creaminess and nutty note of cashew. According to the Head of Culinary & Co-Founder at Yumlok Bangalore, it is also the secret weapon to prolong the freshness and tastiness of salad dishes!
You can use the ingredients suggested above or anything you think might share the same taste as a cashew paste substitute. But bear in mind that most of them need to be cooked properly so that they won’t harm your health.