Over the last month, I have shared my journey going through food intolerance testing and the trials and tribulations of switching from an eat-all-the-things diet to a dairy-free, low-sugar food routine.
At times, it’s a piece of (dairy-free) cake. Other times, it’s a royal pain in the behind.
But I am absolutely grateful that I live in a time when dairy-free options are plentiful — and delicious.
Cashews: a great dairy-free alternative
One of the things that surprised me the most about going dairy-free is learning that cashews are a popular dairy substitute. Who knew?
Apparently the smart folks at Silk knew. They just released two new Silk Cashew Milks, in unsweetened and original.
Having to also cut back on sugar, I love the Unsweetened Silk Cashewmilk option. There is no added sugar, and it’s creamy and yummy. You can get a coupon to try Silk Cashewmilk for yourself when you sign up for the Silk eNewsletter.
I decided to try the Unsweetened Silk Cashewmilk in two recipes: Homemade Cashew Cheese and Spinach Tomato Dairy-Free Alfredo.
Homemade Cashew Cheese
Homemade Cashew Cheese is surprisingly super easy to make. The hardest part is remembering that the cashews need to soak for at least a couple of hours before you blend all of the ingredients together. This helps soften the cashews and make them easier to blend into a rich, smooth, creamy texture.
The full recipe for homemade cashew cheese is below.
I love to use cashew cheese as a dairy-free dip for crackers and vegetables, as a spread in sandwiches, and also as a base for pasta sauce.
Dairy-Free Spinach Alfredo
Using the cashew cheese as a base, I developed a dairy-free spinach alfredo pasta recipe that satisfies my craving for rich creamy pasta sauces.
I have been working on different dairy-free cream sauce alternatives, and really enjoyed how this one turned out. Thanks to the Silk Cashewmilk in the Cashew Cheese recipe AND in the sauce, the pasta gets a nice coating of creamy sauce similar to that of traditional cream sauce.
Dairy-Free Spinach Alfredo Recipe
- CASHEW CHEESE:
- 2 cups cashews raw
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup Silk Cashewmilk Unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Dash of salt
- SPINACH TOMATO DAIRY-FREE ALFREDO SAUCE
- 1/2 pound pasta of your choice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic minced
- 1/4 cup homemade cashew cheese
- 1/4 cup Silk Cashewmilk unsweetened
- 1 cup spinach sliced or shredded by hand into smaller pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes diced in half
- 2 tablespoons fresh thinly sliced basil
- salt and pepper
- TO MAKE THE CASHEW CHEESE:
- Soak the cashews in a large bowl of water for at least two hours. Can be soaked overnight.
- Drain cashews and place into a blender along with the water, Cashewmilk, lemon juice, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, pepper and salt.
- Blend until creamy. Add more Silk Cashewmilk as needed until you get the consistency you prefer.
- Place in an airtight container (I use mason jars) and chill for at least one hour before enjoying.
- TO MAKE THE SPINACH TOMATO DAIRY-FREE ALFREDO
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil.
- Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add 1/4 cup of your homemade cashew cheese and stir with garlic, cooking for 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly add 1/4 cup Silk Cashewmilk and continue to stir.
- Stir in spinach.
- Add drained, cooked pasta to the saucepan, setting aside the remaining hot pasta water. Mix all ingredients well. If needed, add more cashew cheese or more Silk Cashewmilk to achieve your desired sauce consistency. You can also add a few tablespoons of the reserve hot pasta water to make the sauce creamier.
- Add half of the cherry tomatoes and stir all ingredients over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, top with remaining tomatoes and basil. Salt and pepper to taste.
I love that I now have a dairy-free alternative to the cream sauce pasta dishes I have loved all my life!
For more ways to incorporate cashew milk into your home cooking, be sure to check out these other great Silk Cashew Milk recipes and their Pinterest board. If you do try it out, be sure to let Silk know what you think of Silk Cashewmilk on the Silk Facebook page.
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.