Nut creams are a fresh, nutrient-rich alternative to traditional dairy cream, so can be eaten by vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike.
As the name indicates, nut creams are a cream made from nuts- and they really are creamy! If you’ve never made a nut cream before, I guarantee you’ll be delighted by the smooth, dairy-like texture.
Nut creams are an interesting way to use nuts in a recipe, and are ideal if you don’t want a crunchy texture. They add flavour & visual interest to food, improve mouthfeel and can thicken up any runny sauce. You can vary our basic recipe (it’s at the bottom of this page) in lots of different ways, to make it tangy, sweet, sour or spicy. We’ve included these variations here for you too- you’ll find them just below the recipe.
If you’re not vegan but are intolerant to dairy, nut creams are an ideal way of tricking yourself into thinking you’re getting a dairy fix- ask me how I know! They add a layer of protein to meat-free meals, and can be substituted for mayonnaise or even cheese. For the latter, add 2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast into the blender for a more cheesy product.
Nuts contain various health-promoting nutrients such unsaturated fats, plant proteins, fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They make a cream that will help lower cholesterol & mitigate the effects of carbohydrates on the blood sugar- unlike dairy cream, which is high in saturated fat.
Just like mayonnaise, nut creams are very versatile. No matter which nuts you use, nut creams can be made plain, sweet, spicy or sour, so can suit a huge variety of dishes. They can be spread on toast for breakfast, used as a pesto base, create a creamy vegan pasta sauce, as a burrito bowl or taco topping, thicken many soups and stews, serve with baked jacket potatoes or as a dessert topping.
You can take almost any raw nut and make it into a cream, but cashews and macadamia nuts work particularly well. Make sure the nuts are raw and unsalted- roasted, salted nuts are great for snacking, but won’t give the creamy consistency you want here. A powerful, high-speed blender will make quick work of a nut cream and give the smoothest consistency. If you don’t have one, never fear. You can soak the nuts thoroughly in a bowl of water prior to blending & use any ordinary blender. The resulting creams (see pics below) are excellent, if slightly more grainy.
Soaking the nuts beforehand gives a more pleasant, neutral flavour. You can soak them in either hot or cool water, but using hot water speeds up the process. A hot water soak need only be for 30 minutes, whereas soaking in cool water should be for 4 hours to overnight. Once adequately soaked, drain the water & add the nuts into the blender with fresh water.
The recipe below is for a basic, plain nut cream. If you find this basic recipe isn’t creamy enough, add 1/3 cup of oat milk into the blender. The variations to make a tangy nut cream, a sour nut cream and a spicy nut cream are in the notes section below the recipe.
Basic Nut Cream + 4 Variations
- 1 high-speed blender
- 1 cup raw nuts
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup oat milk optional
- Pre-soak the nuts in a bowl of water. For hot or boiling water soak for 30 minutes. for cold water, soak for a minimum of 4 hours, up to overnight
- Place the nuts and the water together in a blender, and blend on high speed until you are happy with the consistency. Add oat milk if the mixture isn't creamy enough for you
- Store any unused nut cream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days