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You’ve never had a dressing this good! This spicy cashew dressing is a creamy, fiery blend that amplifies the flavors of any salad or dish. Crafted with cashews, spices, a touch of heat and zesty flavors to balance it all out, this dressing promises a taste sensation that’ll have you craving more!

Spicy cashew dressing in a mason jar with a spoon dripping some dressing back into the jar.

I’m no stranger to creating my own dressings but this one takes the cake. If you love Trader Joe’s Spicy Cashew Dressing, you’ll love this! It is such a versatile and super flavor dressing that you’ll want to put it on everything from drizzling over salads, dipping spring rolls into, or tossing in a nourish bowl.

If you’re interested in making more homemade dressings, you’ll love my vegan honey mustard dressingcreamy balsamic vinaigrettemaple tahini dressing, and tahini Caesar dressing.

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Why you’ll love this spicy cashew dressing

  • Bold Flavor Fusion: The spicy cashew dressing combines the rich creaminess of cashews with an array of spices, creating an explosion of bold flavors that will add excitement to any dish. 
  • Versatile and Adaptable: This dressing isn’t just for salads; it’s a versatile companion for drizzling over Buddha bowls, using as a dip for veggies, or as a marinade for grilled proteins. Its adaptability makes it a kitchen essential.
  • Healthy and Nutrient-Packed: Harnessing the natural goodness of cashews, this dressing offers a healthy alternative to traditional dressings, packed with essential nutrients, healthy fats, and protein for a guilt-free indulgence.
  • Customizable Heat Level: Tailor the spiciness to your preference by adjusting the amount of spice. Whether you’re a heat-seeker or prefer a milder kick, this dressing can be adjusted to suit your taste. 
  • Simple and Quick Preparation: With just a few ingredients and a blender, you can whip up this spicy cashew dressing in minutes. It’s a fuss-free recipe that delivers maximum flavor with minimal effort—perfect for busy lifestyles.

Ingredient notes

Gathered ingredients for spicy cashew dressing in various bowls.

You only need simple ingredients to make this spicy cashew dressing! Here are the key components:

  • Raw Cashews: Soaking raw cashews in hot water for 30 minutes prior to blending softens them, making it easier to achieve a smooth and creamy texture. This step is crucial for a luscious, velvety consistency.
  • Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice adds a zesty and tangy element to the dressing, brightening up the flavors and complementing the creaminess of the cashews. You can also use lemon juice, if needed.
  • Low-Sodium Soy Sauce: Low-sodium soy sauce enhances the savory umami flavors of the dressing without overpowering, providing a balanced and salty base to the recipe. For a soy-free option, you can use coconut aminos.
  • Fresh Ginger: For a flavorful punch and a subtle spiciness, adding depth and character to the dressing. Feel free to also use ginger puree for convenience.
  • Distilled White Vinegar: Distilled vinegar or rice vinegar contributes a mild acidity that balances the richness of the cashews. You can also use apple cider vinegar in a pinch.
  • Red Chili Paste: Red chili paste, whether it’s sriracha, gochujang (Korean chili paste), or any chili sauce of your choice, infuses the dressing with a spicy kick, giving it that signature heat. Adjust the amount to suit your spice tolerance. You can typically find these in the Asian aisle of your local grocery store.
  • Maple Syrup: Maple syrup or agave syrup can be used to add a touch of natural sweetness, countering the heat and rounding out the flavors.
  • Cilantro Leaves: Fresh cilantro leaves bring a burst of freshness and herbaceous flavor to the dressing, elevating its taste and providing a vibrant, aromatic component.
  • Crushed Red Pepper (Optional): If you desire an extra layer of spiciness, consider adding crushed red pepper for an additional fiery edge. Adjust according to your preferred level of heat.

How to make this spicy cashew dressing

Begin by softening the cashews through soaking; once softened, drain and rinse them thoroughly. 

Cashews soaking in a glass bowl.

Combine the soaked cashews with all the ingredients, excluding the cilantro and crushed red pepper, in a high-speed blender. Blend until a smooth, creamy consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust the dressing, adding more red chili paste for spicier, more maple syrup for sweeter, or more lime juice for tangier.

Ingredients for the spicy cashew dressing in a blender pitcher.

Lastly, add the cilantro and blend briefly to achieve a chopped texture, avoiding full pulverization. For an added spice kick, sprinkle or stir in crushed red pepper as desired.

Tips and tricks

  • Adjust Spiciness: If you prefer a milder dressing, start by adding a small amount of the red chili paste. Taste as you go and gradually increase the spiciness until it reaches your desired level. Remember, it’s easier to add more spice later than to tone it down if it’s too hot. 
  • Soak Cashews: Ensure the cashews are soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes, or until they are soft and easily blendable. If you’re short on time, soak them in boiling water to speed up the process. If you have a powerful high-speed blender, you can skip soaking.
  • Experiment with Citrus Zest: Enhance the citrusy notes by adding a hint of lime or lemon zest to the dressing. The zest can elevate the overall flavor and provide a burst of freshness. 
  • Trouble blending? Some times smaller batch recipes like this don’t blend well in large blenders. A small blender or food processor works better to achieve a smoother sauce. You can also double the recipe if needed for better blending in a larger appliance.

Storage

A pitcher pouring the spicy cashew dressing into a mason jar.

Store any leftover dressing in an airtight container like a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to a week. If the dressing thickens in the fridge, simply add a little water or lime juice and give it a good shake to restore the desired consistency. 

To extend the dressing’s shelf life, consider freezing it in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag and thaw as needed, ensuring you always have a supply of fresh dressing at hand.

Serving suggestions

A salad on a plate with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, avocado, and tossed with the spicy cashew dressing.

This homemade dressing perfect to use in a variety of dishes! Here are some great ways to enjoy this creamy dressing:

  • Salad Dressing: Drizzle the spicy cashew dressing over a mixed greens salad for an instant burst of flavor. Combine with fresh vegetables like red cabbage, tomatoes, chickpeas, and quinoa for a hearty vegan salad that’s both nutritious and satisfying.
  • Marinade for Tofu or Tempeh: Use the spicy cashew dressing as a marinade for tofu or tempeh. Allow them to soak in the marinade for a few hours before grilling or baking for a mouthwatering vegan protein option.
  • Dip for Veggie Platters: Serve the spicy cashew dressing as a dipping sauce for a colorful array of raw or roasted vegetables. It pairs excellently with carrot sticks, cucumber slices, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes for a refreshing and wholesome snack. Add it to your veggie board with charcuterie crackers for your gathering.
  • Bowl Topping: Drizzle the dressing over a nourishing Buddha bowl filled with grains like brown rice or barley, steamed vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, and a protein source like lentils or chickpeas. The dressing adds a creamy and spicy element to tie the flavors together. 
  • Wrap or Sandwich Spread: Spread the spicy cashew dressing on wraps or sandwiches for a delightful zing. It pairs wonderfully with grilled vegetables, avocado, leafy greens, and any other vegan fillings you prefer. 
  • Stir into Noodles: Toss your favorite cooked noodles with the spicy cashew dressing for a delectable pasta dish. Add in sautéed veggies and tofu for a complete vegan meal bursting with flavors. 
  • Pizza Drizzle: Use the spicy cashew dressing as a unique pizza drizzle. After baking your vegan pizza, swirl the dressing on top for an extra kick of spice and creaminess. 
Spicy cashew dressing in a glass jar.
Spicy cashew dressing in a mason jar with a spoon dripping some dressing back into the jar.

Spicy Cashew Dressing

5 from 1 vote
Author: Rachel
You've never had a dressing this good! This spicy cashew dressing is a creamy, fiery blend that amplifies the flavors of any salad or dish. Crafted with cashews, spices, a touch of heat and zesty flavors to balance it all out, this dressing promises a taste sensation that'll have you craving more!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup

Method

  • Blender

Ingredients 
 

  • ½ cup raw cashews soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 lime juiced, about 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1-inch piece of ginger about 1 tablespoon, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon distilled vinegar or rice vinegar
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon red chili paste use any chili sauce of choice like gochujang (Korean chili paste) or sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • red pepper flakes optional

Instructions 

  • Before starting, soak your cashews to soften. Then, drain and rinse.
    ½ cup raw cashews
  • Add your cashews along with the rest of the ingredients except for the cilantro and red pepper flakes to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
    ¼ cup cold water, 1 lime, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1-inch piece of ginger, 1 tablespoon distilled vinegar, ½ – 1 tablespoon red chili paste, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Add the cilantro and blend just until the cilantro is chopped up into small pieces but not fully pulverized.
    1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • Taste the dressing and adjust the salt, spice level or sweetness as needed. If you prefer it spicier, add more red chili paste or stir in some crushed red pepper.
    red pepper flakes

Notes

If you don’t have a high-speed blender, grate the ginger before using, and soak your cashews overnight. Drain and rinse before using.
Storage: Transfer the dressing to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Shake or stir well before using.
One serving is about 2 tablespoons.

Nutrition

Calories: 59kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 90mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 12IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Southeast Asian
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