And today we carry on with the cashew cream obsession! See how creamy and thick this sauce is? Our friend, the cashew nut, can take full credit once again.
Does this sound weird to you? Stick with me! Cashews are packed with good fats and nutrients and proteins. Even if you have no intention of giving up your dairy products, using cashews to mix it up every once in a while is a great idea.
Having said that, I often wondered whether eating so much cashew cream might be a massive calorie hit. Nuts are known for being very calorific. So I did a little experiment with this recipe and ran it through a nutritional calculator. Indeed, replacing cashews with the same volume of heavy cream would not substantially alter the calorie count (292g for the cashew cream, 295g for the dairy cream). What it does do is reduce the overall fat (17g for the cashew cream, 21g for the dairy) and almost double the protein (11g for the cashew cream, 6g for the dairy cream).
So, that’s the nutritional case for cashew cream.
But also, it’s yummy.
This recipe is an incredibly simple slow cooker tomato cream sauce which incorporates cashews for the creaminess, but doesn’t require you to make your cashew cream separately. Instead, you just throw the whole cashews in the slow cooker with the canned tomatoes and the tomato juices will soak and soften those cashews just right.
At the end, you can blend it all together really easily with a hand blender. The cashew are so soft they will completely puree if you give it enough time. Depending on the speed of your hand blender, you may be blending for a while but just persevere! Mine is 800W and we get there in about 5 minutes.
This is a fairly blank canvas with minimal ingredients. You could make it as it is, mix it with linguine and call it a day – and it’s a very simple pleasure. Or you can build on this formula by adding some veggies, some vodka, some wine, some chili, more herbs, anything you like. If you create something wonderful out of this, make sure to come back and tell me about it! 🙂
Slow cooker vegan tomato cream sauce
- 4 x 400g (14oz) tins of plum tomatoes
- 10 crushed or sliced garlic cloves
- 1 and 1/2 cups (210g) of unroasted, unsalted cashews
- 1 tsp salt (this is fairly reserved, add more if you like)
- 1 tsp dried basil or mixed Italian herbs
- A bunch of fresh basil, for serving
- First, if your cashews are from a big bag and are covered in cashew dust, give them a little rinse.
- Put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8.
- Puree the sauce using a stick blender inserted directly into the slow cooker bowl. You will need to blend for up to 5 minutes to completely puree the sauce, depending on your blender's speed.
- (If you don't have a stick blender, you could pour the sauce into a jug blender to puree in batches.)
I really like to use plum tomatoes here because they are a little more flavorful and juicy. If you use normal tinned tomatoes, you might want to increase the salt and/or herbs.