Just about anything tastes good baked in a gratin filled with cream and covered with cheese. This is, unfortunately, not a suitable full time solution for the health conscious. Life without cream would be quite miserable, but cashew cream is an amazing invention that will let you indulge with much less guilt.
Nine times out of ten, cashew cream is a worthy substitute for any cream based dish (the main exception being spicy food, where you do actually want the cooling effect of lactic acid found in dairy products) It’s super easy to make too. All you have to do it soak some cashews, then blend at very high speed in water and ta-da! The cashews are so soft they completely liquidise. You have a cream. A cream full of good fats and fibre and all things heart healthy.
In this recipe I have made a dijon-spiked cashew cream and baked it into some purple kale. There is a light polenta crust for a little crunch where the cheese might have been. It tasted every bit as yummy as a dairy cream variety, but relatively guilt free. (It’s still going to be high calorie for sure!) If you haven’t tried cashew cream, this would be a great place to start.
vegan creamy kale gratin
- ½ cup (65 g) raw cashews, not salted or roasted! that would be bad!
- 1 cup water
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsps dijon mustard
- 7 oz (200 g) kale, chopped with the toughest stems removed (I used purple kale)
- 2 Tbsp veggie stock or white wine
- Kale can be a little bit tough, so to soften it up the first step is to part-braise it. In a frying pan, heat up about a tablespoon of oil and chuck in the kale. Stir fry for about 30 seconds then pour in the veg stock or white wine- quickly cover and allow to steam for about 3-5 minutes. Open the lid to stir a couple of times while it cooks. You want to get it a little bit reduced, but not completely cooked.
- Now put the kale into a baking dish- I used a pyrex bowl- and leave it to one side.
- To make the cashew cream, I recommend using a hand blender but you could use a normal blender or food processor. Blend the cashews, water, garlic and mustard until very soft and creamy. With a good blender on high speed, you shouldn’t have any grainy bits remaining.
- Reserve one tablespoon of the cashew cream and dilute it with 2 tablespoons water. Set aside.
- Pour the rest of the cashew cream over the kale and mix it together. Sprinkle some polenta over the top and then bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and pour the reserved cashew cream over the top. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.