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Easy Spicy Cashew Dressing (just 8 ingredients!)

This scrumptious spicy cashew dressing requires just eight ingredients and roughly two minutes for some thick spicy creamy vegan goodness. Drizzle it over a hearty salad, use it as a dip, or add to a delicious healthy Buddha bowl.

A glass jar with thick light brown dressing in it being stirred by a hand

You can use soaked cashews or cashew butter to make this easy dressing. If you’re like me and always forget to soak cashews, don’t worry, just quick-soak them and leave them to soften for as long as possible to ensure a smoother sauce.

I use this dressing for:

  • Kale based salads. Especially with added shredded cabbage, carrots, beansprouts, peppers, raisins and peanuts (yum).
  • Buddha-style bowls. I just grab some cooked couscous, brown rice or quinoa, a range of veggies, sliced avocado, nuts, and drizzle away.
  • Bean salads.
  • Dipping raw carrots and cucumber in. It’s also awesome with celery.
  • Dipping pizza crusts in (don’t judge, I can’t do plain crusts – if I wanted bread I’d eat bread not pizza!)
  • Impromptu noodle salads with leftover noodles.

If spicy vegan salad dressings are your thing, I also highly recommend trying out my balsamic mustard dressing. For a quick and healthy dip that’s on the sweeter side, try my Greek yogurt apple dip.

Ingredients and substitutions

I tested quite a few combos to perfect this spicy cashew dressing, so there are actually very few substitutions I recommend but we’ll get into what is okay below. First, check out the ingredients needed in this image:

ingredients for the recipe, shot from above and labelled: soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, sesame oil, agave nectar, cashews, water, and hot sauce.

Now let’s make some notes on any changes that can be made:

  • Soy sauce: You can use low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos instead. Substitute the same amount, but be aware that if you use low-sodium soy sauce you may have to add salt to taste. If you use coconut aminos add half the agave and then add to taste as coconut aminos are sweeter than soy sauce.
  • Agave nectar: This can be swapped out for the same amount of any liquid sweetener, e.g. maply syrup or honey (although the dressing will no longer be considered vegan if you use honey).
  • Cashews: You can use soaked cashews or cashew butter (check the amounts in the recipe card) but this sauce is also amazing with peanut butter! Tahini is nice as well but it’s a little “claggy” and you may have to increase the amount of lemon juice.
  • Water: Totally necessary but the amount can be adjusted up or down depending on how thick or thin you want it.
  • Hot sauce: Make sure you use a vinegar-based hot sauce like Frank’s RedHot, Tabasco etc. If you don’t have any you can use red chili pepper flakes instead – try half a teaspoon and then increase to taste.

How spicy is it?

This dressing is mild-medium spicy. Feel free to dial the spiciness up or down depending on whether you like it hot or not.

A hand pouring creamy light brown liquid from a small glass jug over a plate of vegetables.

How to make it

Spicy cashew dressing comes together in just minutes If you’re using cashew butter or had the time to soak your cashews overnight. You can literally just chuck everything into a high-powered blender or food processor, blend, and enjoy.

However, if you’re using quick soaked cashews (or you’re blender or food processor is not that great), I highly recommend adding everything EXCEPT the water. Then blitz until as smooth as possible and incorporate the water bit by bit, blending in between adding it.

split view with a food processor on the left with cashews and soy sauce in it, and the same processor on the right with a creamy light brown liquid in it.

This will give you the smoothest dressing possible. The amount of water can also be adjusted, I like my dressing fairly thick but you may like yours thinner. Similarly, if you want to use this dressing as a dip then less water is better to ensure it’s thick enough to coat veggies or whatever you choose to dip in it.

FAQs

How long will spicy cashew dressing last?

Up to four days in the fridge, but it will thicken as it sits so just thin with a little more water to serve.

Can I freeze it?

Yes! You can freeze extra dressing for up to six months. You will need to briefly process or blend it again after defrosting though, to get rid of lumps.


Did you make this easy spicy cashew dressing? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.

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A wooden spoon dipping into a small glass jar of creamy light brown dressing.

Easy Spicy Cashew Dressing

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Easy creamy spicy cashew dressing - use it over salads, pasta, or buddha bowls, as a dip, as a spread, whatever you wish! Vegan, eight ingredients and ready in two minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 small clove garlic
  • ¼ cup cashew butter or ½ cup of cashews (70g dry cashews)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup water (80ml)
  • 1½ teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1½ teaspoons hot sauce (vinegar-based)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Instructions

  1. If using whole cashews soak overnight or quick-soak (microwave in enough water to cover by an inch for three minutes then leave to soak for at least fifteen minutes, preferably as long as possible).
  2. If using whole soaked cashews, drain. Add all ingredients except the water to a high-powered blender or food processor
  3. Blend or process until as smooth as possible, then add in the water bit by bit while blending/processing until incorporated into the creamy smooth dressing. If the dressing is not perfectly smooth blend another minute or two. Done.

Notes

Keeps up to four days in the fridge.

WIll thicken as it sits so add a little water and whisk to loosen.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 217Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 0mgSodium 379mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 5g

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