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This creamy garlic sauce with cashews is the perfect topping to drizzle on veggies, pizza, or soup. It’s vegan; so you can be sure it’s dairy-free as well.
What I have learned in my vegan culinary journey, is that the sauce is everything! Have a bowl of vegetables you don’t know what to do with? Add a sauce. Plain baked potato? Add a sauce. Need to spice up some soup? That’s right…just top with a little sauce!
Looking for some more yummy plant-based oil-free sauces? Try my:
- Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
- Smoky Tomato Tahini Sauce, or
- Basic but versatile and oh so good Ranch Sauce
Ingredients needed to make this plant-based cashew sauce:
See the handy printable recipe card below for exact measurements and instructions. I’ve included (affiliate) links for items that might be hard to source in your local grocery store.
- raw cashews (unsalted and not roasted)
- nutritional yeast
- lemon juice (bottled is just fine)
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- hot water for soaking the cashews and room temp water for blending
What can creamy garlic sauce be used for?
- sauce for your Budda bowl
- dip for raw veggies
- drizzled as a topping for soup
- topping for steamed veggies
- white sauce topping for pizza (use a little less water to make the sauce thicker for the pizza)
- drizzled on a Buddha bowl
- baked potatoes including sweet potatoes
- I also use it as an ingredient in my Creamy Tomato Soup (Instant Pot) recipe
Tips and suggestions for making the cashew garlic sauce:
Please read through the tips and suggestions section if you are not familiar with this recipe. There is a printable recipe card below that you can scroll to for the exact ingredients and instructions.
Pin now to save for later:
Use raw (not roasted) and unsalted cashews. Here is a link for the cashews I buy on Amazon. I always keep a bag in my pantry!
If you are impatient and can’t wait to find some raw cashews, you might decide to use the standard roasted salted cashews you can find at your local grocery store. I must tell you that you will get creamier better-tasting results with raw cashews. I do understand just wanting to get to the recipe though. Here are some suggestions to make the roasted cashews work (hopefully):
- If the cashews are salted, then rinse and rinse well to remove as much salt as possible.
- The soaking time listed in the recipe is only 30 minutes. If you choose to use roasted cashews then your soaking time will be much longer. Try for about 3 hours.
Soak the raw cashews in hot water for 30 minutes. When they are finished soaking, you must drain the water. Do not use the soaking water for mixing in the blender!
Into the blender:
When the cashews are well soaked, softened and drained, put in a blender along with the other ingredients including fresh water.
If you have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, it should only take about 2-3 minutes on high to get a nice smooth creamy sauce. If you are using a standard household blender, it might take a little longer. Just blend and check and blend some more until you have achieved a smooth sauce.
Questions about the ingredients:
Can you use fresh lemon instead of bottled lemon? Sure! Use whichever one you have on hand. I’ve used both and can’t really tell the difference in the finished product.
Can you use fresh/raw garlic instead of garlic powder? Yep! Use just one clove of garlic if that’s what you want to use. A real garlic fanatic might choose to add more!
Do you have to use nutritional yeast? Yes! If you want this sauce to taste as delicious as mine does! If you are a new plant-based cook, then be sure to find some nutritional yeast pronto to keep in your pantry. You will find that a lot of vegan recipes call for nutritional yeast. You might find it at your grocery store in the healthy foods sections like near the gluten-free flour. You will probably have an easier time finding it in a specialty health food store or a store like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
How thick/runny will the sauce be?
The recipe calls for 1 cup of water for blending. This will make a sauce that is somewhat runny – like salad dressing. If you want a thicker sauce like for a dip or pizza sauce, cut down the water to 1/2 cup. You can always add in a little more if you are having trouble blending.
And now for the recipe!
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Creamy Garlic Sauce with Cashews (Diary-Free)
- high-speed blender
- 1 cup cashews raw and unsalted
- hot water to cover drain when fully soaked
- 1 cup water for blending
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Soak the unsalted cashews in very hot water for 30 minutes. Drain the water.
- Add soaked and drained cashews along with 1 cup water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders, and salt to a high-speed blender.
- Blend on high for about 3 minutes or until creamy and smooth.
- Put cashews in a strainer and rinse well to remove the salt. You might need to wait to add the additional salt in the ingredient list till AFTER the sauce is prepared.
- Soak the cashews for 2 hours so that they will blend well and your sauce will be creamy and smooth.