I’m going to share something vegan with you. CRAZY I know. Vegan. Veeeeeegan. For those who know me, and probably just some of you who have read any/most/all of my posts, you’d be hard-pressed to find a meal in which I have not at least incorporated dairy. I can rock the vegetarian scene, but I am pretty sure I could never give up cheese. Or eggs. But mostly cheese.
That being said, I had a weird little light bulb go off in my brain right as I was trying to sleep the other night (thanks, perfect timing) to make a sriracha-cashew cream sauce. No, I don’t know why, so don’t ask. It just happened, okay?
My first foray into eating cashew-based dairy replacement was Gracias Madre in the Mission District here in San Francisco. It’s amazing Mexican food that doesn’t leave me missing cheese (this came as a shock to me as well). Then there was the Love and Lemons enchiladas with cashew-poblano crema that caught my eye about a year ago. Food 52 has a great base recipe for cashew cream so I started there.
Why sriracha? I recently had “The Exchange Student” at Homeroom in Oakland that involved scallions, ginger butter, and a ton of sriracha. Sriracha is the bomb.com. I know many sing its praises but for real, it’s amazeballs. It’s lightly sweet, just the perfect amount of spicy, and has an awesome tang that lends so much flavor to anything from eggs to veggies to this here cashew cream.
Served with soba noodles, scallions, cilantro, and crispy minced garlic and ginger…and shrimpies to add some extra protein, this sriracha cashew cream was just what the doctor ordered. It’s got such a good balance of flavor–rich, slightly sweet, slightly smoky, and slightly tangy that lends itself to many uses. I can imagine that this would be good on a baked sweet potato with some garlicy greens and roasted chickpeas, or used as a sandwich spread, or used as a dip in place of hummus, or used as a creamy salad dressing…the possibilities are endless!
Soba Noodles wish Sriracha Cashew Cream
The Bare Necessities:
- ~1c cashews (soaked overnight or at least for a couple of hours–trust me this makes a difference!)
- Juice of 1 lemon (~2 tbsp, more to taste)
- Filtered water (this will also vary based on how thick/thin you want the cashew cream, but should probably be no more than 1 c)
- Sriracha (you have the whole bottle, don’t you? We’re doing this to taste, folks)
- Soba noodles (I used about 3/4 of a 12 oz pack)
Optional (recommended) toppings:
- Sliced scallions
- Chopped cilantro
- Crispy minced ginger and garlic (I fried mine in grapeseed oil because I had it on hand…basically use anything with a neutral flavor)
- Sesame seeds
- Sauteed greens
- Sauteed or grilled shrimp/chicken/etc if you want a protein boost
- More sriracha (never enough)
- Drain your soaked cashews and pop them into your food processor with about 1/4 c filtered water.
- Puree until the cashews are mostly broken down and it is nearly smooth.
- Add in your lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add about 1/4 c more water and blend until smooth. Here’s where you can make this as you wish–add water bit by bit and process until you reach your desired texture. You might want it to be the consistency of a sturdy hummus, but for this recipe I made it more like a cream sauce so I used about 1 c of water in total.
- Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, add sriracha one tbsp at a time and blending, then tasting. Everyone has different tolerance levels for heat. Mine is pretty high. I ended up using probably about 5 tbsp of sriracha because I just love the flavor!
- Now that your sauce is ready, go ahead and salt some boiling water and cook those soba noodles per package instructions (about 5-6 minutes should be enough).
- Toss your noodles and a cup or so of the sauce (again, however much you want) and top with whatever else you’d like!
This is a hearty dish filled with so much flavor. I can’t recommend fresh herbs enough. I’d say my key toppings were cilantro, scallions, and that ginger-garlic crispiness. They made for the perfect depth of flavor and texture…so so good.