The Magic of Cashews

A recent blog talked about the possibility of losing too much weight on a plant-based diet.  Though this might seem like a dream come true, for some it is a worry for themselves and also for their family and friends.  Here are a couple of delicious recipes that are somewhat higher in calorie density than the usual recipes created from vegetable ingredients.

Cashews, like other nuts, are higher in fat and calories than other plant-sourced foods.  Their fat however is a healthy version and cashews also supply antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  Soaked raw cashews whip up into a creamy and rich-tasting sauce base.  For those having trouble keeping weight on, cashew-based sauces are a nutritious and delicious way to eat more calories.   For those who are happy with their weight, cashew-based dishes can be enjoyed as a delectable treat.  Just be careful not to eat them every day or you may find your weight creeping upwards.





Creamy Alfredo sauces can be the epitome of luscious decadence.  Whoever would have thought that the plant-based version is every bit as tasty and rich as the cheese-filled original and is quick and easy to prepare.


Makes 1 ½ cups



1 medium onion, chopped (at least 1 ½ cups of chopped onion)

5 large garlic cloves, finely minced

¾ cup raw whole cashews  (If you do not have a high-powered blender, soak the cashews in boiling water for about 10 minutes then drain and rinse.)

1 to 1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice  (This is an important ingredient.  It masks the cashew flavor.)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 ¾ to 2 cups vegetable broth

¼ tsp salt

¼ to ½ tsp ground black pepper

A few sprigs of fresh parsley


Vegetables as desired such as finely chopped broccoli, asparagus, roasted peppers, mushrooms, spinach, kale and peas.  Prepare enough for about 4 servings.

Whole-grain pasta of your choice.




Prepare the pasta in salted water according to the instructions on its package.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.  Add 1 cup of broth and the onion and cook about 8 minutes until the onion is tender.  Add more broth if necessary and/or turn down the heat to prevent burning.

Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes longer.  All the broth should be evaporated at this point.  If not, keep cooking until the broth is gone. (This creates a thick, creamy sauce.)

Place the cooked onion and garlic in a blender with ¾ cup of broth and the cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.  Blend on high speed for a couple of minutes until the mixture is very creamy and smooth.  More broth can added to reach the desired consistency.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.


Steam or saute your chosen vegetables lightly and mix them together with the cooked pasta.

Pour sauce over the pasta and vegetables and mix.

Garnish with parsley and serve.






For an out of the ordinary sandwich, try this easy to make filling that outshines the animal-based version.



4 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (or 3- 19 ounce cans chickpeas), drained and rinsed

½ cup celery, chopped finely

2 to 3 sweet pickle pieces, chopped finely

¼ cup nutritional yeast

3 green onions, chopped finely or 3 tbsp finely chopped regular onion

1 small apple, peeled and chopped finely

1 tbsp soy sauce

Whole-wheat buns or bread of your choice

Tomatoes, sliced

Sweet mustard or honey mustard


In a large bowl mash the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork until they are mostly mashed.  If you desire, leave a few beans whole.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.




1 cup raw cashews, soaked for one hour in warm water

2 tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp ground mustard

¼ to ½ cup water, depending on desired thickness


To prepare the Cashew “Mayo”, drain the soaked cashews. Place them and the rest of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Leftover “mayo” can be stored in the fridge for about a week.




Add to the Cashew “Mayo” to the chickpea mixture in small amounts until you achieve the desired consistency. About ¾ cup makes a very creamy product.

Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let the flavours come together and to allow the mixture to be chilled.

Serve on whole wheat bread or buns, garnished with sliced tomatoes and mustard.




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My name is Debra Harley (BScPhm) and I welcome you to my retirement project, this website. Over the course of a life many lessons are learned, altering deeply-rooted ideas and creating new passions.

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