Have you ever found yourself craving a recipe that calls for cashews, only to realize you don’t have any on hand or can’t eat them due to allergies or dietary restrictions?
It’s a bummer, but don’t worry, there are plenty of fantastic cashew substitutes out there that can do the trick. In fact, some of these alternatives might even offer some added nutritional benefits that cashews don’t have.
So, in this blog post, we’re going to dive into the top cashew substitutes and how you can use them in your favorite recipes. Whether you’re looking to save some money, explore new flavors, or just have fun in the kitchen, we’ve got you covered!
What is a Cashew?
Cashews are a type of tree nut that come from South America. A cashew nut is the kernel of a cashew fruit. It is the edible part of the cashew fruit.
Cashews are one of the most popular types of nuts in the world, and are used for a variety of things like cooking, baking, and as snacks. Cashews have a buttery flavor and a smooth texture.
8 Ingredients To Use As A Substitute For Cashews
1. Pine nuts
Since cashew is one of the members of the nut family, there are plenty of nut kinds we can use as a cashew substitute.
Pine nuts is one of them, since pine nuts are closely related to cashews, so they resemble in appearance and texture, making pine nuts a great substitution for cashews.
They both have a slightly sweet flavor, so they can substitute each other well if you have an allergy to one of them.
However, bear in mind that pine nuts are nuttier than cashew, so you must beware of the bold flavor when substituting cashew for pine nuts.
Other than that, pine nuts are best used to substitute for cashews as an eat-alone snack or as toppings on dessert, drinks, etc.
Another thing about pine nuts being a great replacement for cashew because they last for a long time in proper storage, so if you have pine nuts on hand, you can always use them to replace a cashew.
2. Combination of Zucchini and Pine
Since pine nuts give off a nuttier scent and flavor compared to cashew, this bold difference may ruin your dish where cashew’s mild flavor counts.
So to turn pine nuts into the perfect substitute for cashews, you should include some zucchini to balance the flavor of pine nuts and make it resemble cashew nuts as close as possible.
The combination of zucchini and pine nuts will create a mild buttery flavor, and is best used in dessert or drinks.
You should think of an alternative to almonds when you decide on a cashew substitute. It’s a strong statement, since almond is a cousin of cashew in the nut family, so they must share some similarities.
Almonds can replace cashews in many kinds of dishes, from savory to sweet treats, but its variation can also substitute for raw cashews in other forms.
For example, almond flour can be used as a cashew flour substitute in baking to make gluten-free cookies or non-dairy bread. The same thing applies to cashew paste, since almond paste can be used as a cashew paste substitute.
You may think that almond’s flavor is light compared to cashew, but when almonds are crushed to make paste or flour, they release a stronger flavor than when they are in their whole form.
For that reason, almonds usually substitute cashew in the form of paste or flour rather than full nuts.
Another tree nut with fat, smooth, buttery content that we can use as a cashew meal substitute is walnuts.
Compared to cashews, walnuts are even milder in flavor and rougher in texture, so that this slight difference can alter your recipe’s flavor a little.
However, use walnuts to substitute cashews in drinks or topping in desserts. Walnuts will offer more buttery content with a milder flavor, being the perfect base to lift other flavors.
Walnuts are also well known for having a great source of good vitamins and minerals for the body to be a healthier snack compared to cashews.
Both hazelnuts and cashews have high-fat content, so they can easily substitute for each other in creamy dishes like ice cream, dessert, etc.
Hazelnuts are also known for their mild, sweet flavor that resembles cashew. If you want to enjoy that light sweet from a snack, you can purchase a hazelnut snack instead of cashew if you would like to change your eating routine or because you are allergic to cashews.
Like cashews, hazelnuts are full of great nutritional value to our bodies by having protein, fat that can help people lose weight while improving a healthy lifestyle.
6. Sunflower seeds
Since cashew is a tree nut and all the suggestions above except for tofu are also tree nuts, nut-allergic people may find it difficult to find a substitute for cashews.
However, there is a kind of seed instead of a nut that can save the day, sunflower seeds.
Tree-nut allergy is one of the most common allergies in humans, so if you cannot digest any tree nuts above, think of using seeds like sunflower seeds instead.
Sunflower seeds are crunchy with a buttery flavor filled with numerous nutritional values, making them the perfect replacement option for cashew.
Moreover, for recipes that call for cashew better, replacing cashew with sunflower seeds will create a new yet effective effect on your dish.
You can make your healthy nut butter by smashing seeds and combining them with oil. For more flavor, you can add pumpkin seeds for an extra nutty flavor.
7. Tahini (sesame seed butter)
Tahini is a special case of substituting for cashew, as its texture only allows it to be a cashew butter substitute.
Cashew butter can be hard to find on the market and rather be expensive, so if you can’t find it, try to look for the popular tahini paste instead.
Tahini paste will not have much buttery content and creamy richness compared to cashew butter, so in case you want to thicken it, try to use the same method as thickening peanut butter.
However, eventually, it will provide the dish with a stunning flavor with the same texture and much beneficial nutrition.
Sesame seed butter is famous for being edible, causing no allergy in children and adults, so try tahini if cashew butter causes you trouble while eating.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Nuts Are Related To Cashews?
- Pistachios: Pistachios and cashews belong to the same family of flowering plants, called Anacardiaceae. They share similar characteristics, such as a creamy texture and a rich flavor.
- Mangos: Interestingly, the mango fruit is related to cashews. Both the mango and cashew trees belong to the same family of plants, and the cashew nut actually grows on the bottom of the cashew apple fruit.
- Pistachio nuts: Pistachios are also in the Anacardiaceae family and are a close relative to the cashew. They are also grown in similar regions around the world.
- Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts are not directly related to cashews, but they belong to the same order of plants, called Ericales. They share some similarities in terms of nutritional content and are both rich in healthy fats.
What can I Substitute Cashews for in Sauces?
Cashews are often used in sauces to add creaminess and thickness. However, if you need to substitute cashews in a sauce recipe, there are several alternatives you can use, depending on your dietary needs and preferences. Here are some options:
- Almonds: Almonds are a good substitute for cashews in sauces because they have a similar texture and mild flavor. They are also a great source of protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients. You can soak them in water overnight to soften them before blending into a sauce.
- Silken Tofu: Silken tofu is a great vegan substitute in sauces. It has a creamy texture and mild flavor that works well in savory sauces. To use it as a substitute, blend it with other ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are another great substitute in sauces. They have a similar texture and can be used to add thickness and creaminess to sauces. You can soak them in water overnight to soften them before blending into a sauce.
- Coconut Cream: Coconut cream is also another choice for substitutes in sauces if you are looking for a nut-free option. It has a creamy texture and adds a hint of coconut flavor to sauces. You can use it as a 1:1 substitute for cashews in recipes.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower can be used to thicken sauces and add creaminess. Simply steam or roast it until tender, then blend it with other ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Note that the flavor and texture of your sauce may vary depending on which substitute you choose. Be sure to experiment with different options to find the one that works best for your recipe.
Are Cashews Bad For You?
Cashews are not necessarily bad for you, but like any food, they should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. It’s important to keep in mind that they are also high in calories and fat. Eating too many cashews or relying on them as a primary source of nutrition may lead to weight gain.
How Many Cashews Can I Eat A Day?
A typical serving size of cashews is around 1 ounce, or about 18 cashews. For most people, one to two servings of cashews per day can be a healthy addition to their diet.
Can you Substitute Chickpeas for Cashews?
Chickpeas can be used as a substitute for cashews in some recipes, but it depends on the purpose of the cashews in the recipe. Chickpeas have a mild, nutty flavor and a different texture than cashews, and they also have a different nutritional profile.
Some recipes may work well with chickpeas as a substitute for cashews, but the final product may have a slightly different flavor, texture, and nutritional value. It’s best to experiment and find the substitution that works best for your recipe and taste preferences.