This creamy, spicy cashew dressing (or dip!) has the perfect balance of flavors. This sweet, savory, and spicy sauce can be slathered on top of salads, rice bowls, or noodles! With just 2 minutes of prep required, it’s so simple and so delicious.
Hers’s how easy it is!
Cashew butter – The sweetness of cashew butter makes it such a great base for a dressing with salty additions. Many similar recipes call for soaking cashews for hours. Using cashew butter makes this recipe much faster and easier but it can be pretty pricey. For a more affordable option, use peanut butter. If you are nut-free, sesame tahini is an excellent substitute.
Coconut Aminos – is similar to soy sauce in that it is fermented but from coconut instead of soy. I find soy sauce to be way too overpowering and salty. Coconut aminos are much milder and less salty but still add that tangy fermented flavor.
Sweetener – Agave and maple syrup are my favorite sweeteners but coconut palm sugar, brown sugar or even honey will work. The hot water in the recipe will help to dissolve any dry sweeteners.
Rice vinegar is the more traditional Asian ingredient but I have used apple cider vinegar or even lime juice. The idea is to add a little sour to balance out the sweet cashew and salty coconut aminos. Sour ingredients are also great flavor enhancers.
Toasted sesame oil gives this sauce an amazing toasty, nutty flavor. Be sure to use toasted sesame oil. Regular sesame oil has very little flavor. When you open a bottle of toasted sesame oil and take in the aroma, you’ll understand the difference. It can usually be found in the Asian foods section of the grocery store.
Red chile flakes or hot sauce will add a little kick to the sauce. Even if you don’t like spicy heat, add just a pinch. Spicy ingredients are great way to elevate all the other flavors and with such a small amount, it won’t be spicy. If you like a good kick, add more.
Mixing the Dressing
This dressing can be whisked together in a bowl in just a minute. A wire whisk will get it nice and creamy, But cashew butter can sometimes be grainy so a blender or immersion blender will do an excellent job of making it smooth and creamy.
Taste is is such an individual thing. Everyone’s idea of what tastes good varies wildly. I think this dressing tastes perfect as is, but you may not. Mix it up as is and taste. Do you like it sweeter? More sour? More spicy? Add just a little bit more of whatever you think it needs, stir and taste again.
- Too salty? – Add more sweetener
- Too sweet? – add more vinegar/lime juice or coconut aminos
- Too sour? – Add more sweetener
- Blah tasting? – The sweetener, vinegar, coconut aminos and chili flakes will all help to wake up the flavors and make it stronger tasting.
More Easy Sauce Recipes
Don’t miss my full list of easy, gluten-free sauces and dressings. Many of them mix up in just a few minutes. This Sesame Teriyaki Sauce (Gluten-Free) is perfect for chicken, fish, steak and stir fries. My recipe for Salmon with Miso-Honey Sauce is sure to please a crowd.
2-Minute Spicy Cashew Dressing (or Dip!)
- 1/3 c cashew butter peanut butter for budget friendly or sesame tahini for a nut-free sub
- 1/4 c hot water
- 2 Tbsp coconut aminos*
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp agave or other sweetener agave syrup substitute
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp red chile flakes or 1/2 tsp hot sauce more if you like extra spicy
- If your cashew butter is refrigerated, heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it.
- Use a whisk, blender or immersion blender to mix this dressing. Cashew butter can sometimes be grainy and the blender or immersion blender will work best to make it super smooth.
- Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl or blender and mix until smooth.
- Taste. Feel free to add more vinegar if you prefer it more sour, more sweetener, coconut aminos for more salty flavor or more chile flakes/hot sauce for more kick.
- Store this dressing in the refrigerator and it will stay fresh for several weeks (less time if lime juice is used). If it gets to stiff, heat briefly (10-15 seconds) in the microwave and stir.