I’m like Bubba from Forrest Gump when it comes to having an overload of recipes for one ingredient. Instead of a shrimpatic, I’m a nutatic. I like nuts raw, roasted, and baked. I like nut dressings, nut frostings, and nut pies. I eat nuts in breads and I eat nuts in chocolate. I make veggie burgers with nuts and pancakes with nuts. If I have a midnight snack, it’s usually a handful of nuts, and when I go for a hike or a climb I carry nut bars. (And, my family has always called me “the squirrel” since I just nibble on nuts and hoard them in my purses and pockets.)
As I was sitting in my kitchen last night with an almost-empty fridge and a rumble in my belly, I looked at my shelf of nuts: pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts. And in the back row, all alone and untouched, was a bottle of cashews. If there is one nut that I notoriously ignore, it’s the poor little cashew. So, here’s my Ode to a Cashew.
I’ve heard of cashew sauce recipes, but I’ve never made one, and for some reason I always disregard the cashew dish sometimes found at restaurants. Feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to take out all that was in the fridge and concoct a cashew sauce for my package of extra firm tofu.
Although it doesn’t look too glamorous, it was delicious—especially if you have a sweet tooth like me. It is certainly blog worthy and highly recommended. Jeremy, boyfriend of little faith, quickly changed his expression of skepticism to an expression of delight when he took the first bite.
(As usual, when I make up my own recipes I do not measure. So, I will do my best to describe the amounts of each ingredient, but you might just need to do it the Italian way and eyeball it!)
Here’s what you’ll need:
Extra firm tofu
Cashews (1 cup or so)
Soy sauce (3+ tbs)
Garlic (1 clove)
Fresh Ginger (2 fingers – I call them fingers, what are they actually called?)
Apple Cider Vinegar (4+tbs)
Water (1/3 cup)
Soymilk (2 tbs or so)
Pepper to taste
And here’s what you do:
Drain the tofu and let sit on a towel. (I sprinkle with a bit of salt to help it dry). Pour your cashews, soy sauce, limejuice, garlic, ginger, and vinegar into your food processor.
Spin on high so that it is as creamy as possible.
Start adding some water and some soymilk. Spin. Keep adding and spinning until you get a creamy sauce that is thin enough to run smoothly off of your spoon. (Note: the sauce will thicken as it bakes, so you don’t want it too thick to start). Add some pepper to taste.
Once the tofu has been drained, cut large pieces, perhaps ¾ inch thick. Put a little oil at the bottom of your baking dish. Then, smear a layer of sauce on the dish and place the tofu pieces on top. Pour the rest of the sauce over the tofu.
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. You’ll see the sauce start to brown a bit. Mix it up and bake for another 10 minutes.
If you’re a nut for nuts and you have a bit of a sweet tooth, this makes a fabulous quick, healthy dish. Next time I am going to put it over a bed of sautéed kale or chard and eat it with a glass of red wine.
Bubba would be proud.
Want some facts? I found Organic Cashew Nuts that outlines the health benefits of eating cashews!