I'm not a big fan of eating whole raw unsalted cashews as they are, they're kind of bland compared to other nuts like almonds and walnuts.
But when you start making your own nut butters, you soon realize that the blandness of cashews is an unsuspectingly powerful gift.
Cashew milk for example, is the best substitute for dairy milk in my tea that I've found. I've experimented with a few nut milks, and cashews are best because they don't have an overwhelming flavor.
Cashew butter works well as an ingredient for my low carb bread recipe for the same reason–it doesn't carry an overwhelming flavor that makes your bread taste like something other than bread.
On the other hand, if you want to use cashew butter on its own or as a spread, you need only add a dash of salt and the whole thing just tastes delicious!
Is Cashew Butter Good For You?
Whole cashews are very good for you, and regularly eating whole cashews has been shown to help you lose weight (remember, healthy fats are good for you, they help you lose man boobs and help you lose weight, rather than gain weight as conventional wisdom would have you believe).
But when you take the stuff and grind it into a butter, you lose some of the health benefits, but not all of it. Studies show that nut butters, though not as healthy as the whole nuts they are derived from, are still good for you.
In a 2003 study, both raw and roasted almonds improved blood lipid profiles substantially, while almond butter produced a modest improvement.
The story is likely the same with cashews and cashew butter. The butter is still good for you, just not as good as the whole nut in its natural form.
Have a spoonful or two of cashew butter here and there, daily if you like, use it in your grain-free bread recipe, the healthy fats will do you some good, but don't live on the stuff.
How To Make Cashew Butter
Find out whether you should use raw or lightly roasted cashews here:
- Prep time: 8-10 minutes if using roasted cashews, 12-20 minutes if using raw cashews
- Cooking time (if roasting): 20 to 30 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup
- 200 g (1.5 cups) unsalted cashews raw or roasted
- salt to taste (NB: don't use salt if making cashew butter for grain-free bread)
You can either use a high speed blender or food processor. I personally prefer using a food processor, because it's easier to get all the nut butter out once it's made.
Throw the cashews into the blender or food processor and blend/process away!
If you're using raw cashews, expect the whole process to take 12 minutes to 20 minutes or longer. It's a lot of work.
If you're using roasted cashews, it's twice as easy! The whole thing will be over in just 5 easy minutes.
Here's how it all looked with roasted cashews.
1 Minute Later…
In the first minute, the cashews grind up into a fine powder then the particles get bigger and start to stick to the sides. You'll want to scrape down the sides with a spoon when too much of the stuff builds up on the sides.
2 Minutes Later…
During the second minute, you'll have to stop the food processor roughly every 5 seconds to scrape down the sides. The cashews will form bigger clumps.
3 Minutes Later…
By minute 3, I've got a large clump forming. It jumps around in the food processor and makes a lot of noise. Just leave it in there and keep processing, there's no need to mess around with the spoon any more.
4 Minutes Later…
The clump soon settles and the butter is forming! Keep it going for another minute, and…
5 Minutes Later…
You've got gorgeous, delicious cashew butter!
Scrape it out with a tablespoon and transfer it to a glass jar for storage.