What's cashew butter and why is it good for you?
Cashew butter is the slightly sweeter, more mellow cousin to peanut butter. It's got more versatility than almond butter, yet it is just as nutritious and delicious. Cashew butter is a great source of healthy fats, good carbohydrates, minerals and protein. They're famously high in copper, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium.
So why cashew butter over straight-up cashews?
Nut butters, I believe, are the biggest improvement to nuts that humans have invented. Sometimes shovelling handfuls of nuts into your muesli, slices, or mouth gets a bit boring. So, including nut butters in your diet is an interesting and delicious way to increase your nut and seed intake. This will automatically boost your nutrient intake, as nuts are full of all the right things. Let's see why cashew butter specifically is so healthy.
Health Benefits of Cashew Butter
Firstly, it's full of great health-giving nutrients, including:
- monounsaturated fats
- polyunsaturated fats
- plant polyphenols
Broadly, the nutrients found in cashew butter could potentially help with a range of health issues:
- Improving cardiovascular health
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure
- Support cholesterol levels
- Help promote healthy skin
Cashew Butter May Reduce Dementia & Diabetes Risk
Many studies already support the consumption of nuts to help with lowering inflammation and improving heart health and ageing. However, emerging research has revealed that cashews are protective against memory loss and dementia. A recent study published in Molecules found that the shells of Brazilian cashew nuts confer important protective phenolic compounds. These compounds are unique to cashews and possess potent anti-inflammatory activity, which helps mitigate the development of Alzheimer's Disease.
A study from the International journal of endocrinology and metabolism demonstrated a positive correlation between cashew consumption and improved diabetic symptoms. This 8-week randomised study established that daily cashew consumption improved serum insulin levels and reduced LDL cholesterol. It's likely that the combination of protective monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated (PUFAs) fats help protect against damaging diabetes symptoms and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
6 Cashew Butter Recipes
Here's six incredibly delicious ways to use cashew butter. Whether it's a sweet or savoury dish, main meal or snack you're after - there are so many ways to enjoy this wonderful nut butter.
1. Cashew Butter and Jam Sandwich
Your favourite PB&J has a new look. This classic sandwich gets a delicious upgrade with the addition of cashew butter. Simply spread cashew butter and your favourite jam (we love raspberry!) on slices of spelt sourdough or any quality bread. It's not fancy, but that's why it works. Yum!
2. Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe is a must-try for all the chocolate lovers out there! These cookies are packed with rich chocolate flavour and the health benefits of cashew butter. Simply combine 1 cup of cashew butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, vanilla extract, baking soda, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup spelt flour. Then fold in 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips. Drop dough by the spoonful onto a baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10-12 minutes.
3. Cashew Butter and Banana Smoothie
Start your day off right with this nutritious and delicious smoothie. Simply combine cashew butter, any milk you love, 1 large banana, and a dash of cinnamon in a blender. Blitz until smooth. You can also add some ice cubes if you like your smoothies extra cold.
4. Creamy Cashew Butter Porridge
This one is perfect for those mornings when you want something hearty and filling. Combine cooked porridge oats with cashew butter, diced apples, cinnamon, and milk. Top it off with some chopped nuts or seeds for an extra crunch.
5. Sweet and Salty Cashew Butter Popcorn
As if popcorn isn't moreish enough! This recipe is perfect for satisfying your sweet and salty cravings, all at once. Simply melt 1/2 cup of cashew butter, 1/4 cup of honey, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Then combine it with a big bowl of natural popcorn. Enjoy as is or top with some chocolate chips or dried fruit for an extra special treat.
6. Spicy Cashew Butter Chicken
If you're in the mood for something savoury, this recipe is for you. Adapted from a recipe by the incomparable Jamie Oliver, this beautiful curry will quickly be a family favourite. It has all the hallmarks of a warming curry, featuring a hint of spice and an earthy sweet note delivered by a hit of nutty cashew butter.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 large red chillies, de-seeded
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
- 1/4 cup greek yoghurt
- 4 chicken thighs, de-boned
- 1 sprig of fresh coriander
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons of Cashew butter
- 500ml boiling water
- In a large bowl, add garam masala, garlic, ginger, yoghurt, salt and pepper to the chicken. Mix and let marinade for 10 mins.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and add cherry tomatoes to char their skins. Add chillies and continue to cook for 3 minutes.
- Remove chilli and tomatoes, cover and set aside.
- In the heated pan, add chicken and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked.
- Remove and set aside.
- While chicken is frying, remove skins from chilli and tomatoes.
- Add these back into the pan, with cashew butter.
- Then, add 500 ml of boiling water and squash all the tomatoes. Stir and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Cut your chicken into large chunks and place it back into the sauce. Let the chicken simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add some natural yoghurt and fresh coriander to finish and serve with steamed rice.
Cashew butter is a great alternative to peanut butter, and it's packed with nutrients that can benefit your health. Hopefully, you're inspired to give it a try, with these 5 easy recipes that celebrate cashew butter. If you're looking for a healthy and tasty way to add some variety to your diet, give cashew butter a try!
Arslan, J., Gilani, A. U., Jamshed, H., Khan, S. F., & Kamal, M. A. (2020). Edible Nuts for Memory. Current pharmaceutical design, 26(37), 4712–4720. https://doi.org/10.2174/1381612826666200806095649
Darvish Damavandi, R., Mousavi, S. N., Shidfar, F., Mohammadi, V., Rajab, A., Hosseini, S., & Heshmati, J. (2019). Effects of Daily Consumption of Cashews on Oxidative Stress and Atherogenic Indices in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Controlled-Feeding Trial. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 17(1), e70744. https://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.70744
Gorrepati, K., Balasubramanian, S., & Chandra, P. (2015). Plant based butters. Journal of food science and technology, 52(7), 3965–3976. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-014-1572-7
Uliassi, E., de Oliveira, A. S., de Camargo Nascente, L., Romeiro, L., & Bolognesi, M. L. (2021). Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) as a Source of Drugs for Alzheimer's Disease. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(18), 5441. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26185441
Wikipedia Contributors. (2022, November 3). Cashew. Retrieved from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashew, viewed November 3 2022