This Spicy Cashew Dressing has an ultra-creamy texture and is full of vibrant flavor! Just blend up a few simple ingredients until everything is nice and smooth, and toss it with your favorite salads. You won’t get enough of it!

Spicy cashew dressing in a wooden bowl dripping over a salad.

Your New Favorite Dressing

​It’s so satisfying to make a homemade salad dressing from scratch! Not only are you avoiding all the preservatives, chemicals, and added sugars that come with store-bought dressings, but you’re also creating something uniquely delicious. And this spicy cashew dressing is definitely a stand-out!

With its creamy texture and subtle kick of heat, it brings the perfect flavor to any salad.

What makes this dressing so special is the combination of fresh ingredients.

Cashews add a creamy base and nutty flavor. Ginger and garlic bring an herby aroma and zing. And lime juice adds just the right amount of citrus tang. Plus, you have the option to add some extra chili flakes for more of a kick!

Why use cashews to make salad dressing?

Cashews are a great way to thicken salad dressings. Their high-fat content and low moisture content make them ideal for creating a creamy, smooth texture.

Raw cashews also contain a lot of healthy nutrients, and their mild flavor allows the other ingredients to shine through!

They are also a wonderful alternative to dairy-based ingredients, which are commonly found in creamy salad dressings. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, raw cashews are just the trick to getting a thick and creamy base that’s ready for flavorful add-ins!

A bowl of spicy cashew dressing over salad.

Why You’ll Love It

  • A great recipe for a vegetarian, vegan, and low-carb diet.
  • You can easily change up the flavors and make it your own! 
  • Tastes amazing on any salad.
  • Since it’s homemade, you know all the ingredients you’re eating!

Ingredients for Spicy Cashew Dressing

  • Cashews: Use raw, unsalted cashews to create the creamy base for this dressing.
  • Olive Oil:  Use high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil for maximum flavor.
  • Sesame Oil: Sesame oil adds a nutty flavor and boosts the health benefits of this dressing.
  • Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar adds a mild and sweet tang.
  • Soy Sauce:  Use low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the sodium content.
  • Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor and lots of B vitamins.
  • Ginger & Garlic:  Fresh ginger and garlic add herby notes to the dressing.
  • Green Chili: Fresh or canned green chili adds a kick of spice.
  • Lime: Adds the perfect zesty tang and gives the dressing a bright flavor.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds a herbaceous finish.
  • Red Chili Flakes: For a spicier version, add some red chili flakes to taste.
  • Sea Salt:  A pinch of sea salt helps bring out all the flavors.

Substitutions

Soy Sauce: Rather not use soy sauce? You can use tamari, coconut aminos, or even Worcestershire sauce instead.

Nutritional Yeast: If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you can leave it out or use some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese instead.

Green Chili: I love how this dressing tastes with green chili, but feel free to use your favorite kind of spicy pepper.

Cashews:  Use soaked cashews, cashew butter, or tahini if desired. Just note that you may have to increase the amount of lime juice or add a few tablespoons of water if using tahini. Feel free to try out different raw nuts and seeds as well; just know they’ll all have their own texture and flavor!

How to Make Spicy Cashew Dressing (Only 3 Steps!)

The steps are simple, and I’m outlining them below but be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the full, printable recipe card.

You can also check out this recipe with my Low-Carb Salad on my Instagram reel!

Spicy cashew dressing in a small bowl over a gray marble surface with sesame seeds.

STEP 1 – ADD EVERYTHING TOGETHER

In a small food processor or blender, add the cashews, olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, ginger, garlic, green chili, lime juice, cilantro, red chili flakes, and sea salt.

STEP 2 – BLEND & ADJUST

Next, give the dressing a good blend and taste test. Add more of what you like until you’ve achieved your desired flavor. 

Pro Tip: To adjust the acidity, add more lime juice. If it tastes bland, add more salt. Too spicy? Add more cashews. Not spicy enough? Add more chili flakes!

STEP 3 – SERVE & ENJOY

Pour the dressing over your favorite salad and top with white sesame seeds, giving it a good toss. 


ENJOY!

Serving Suggestions

I absolutely love how this spicy cashew dressing tastes with my Mediterranean Cucumber Salad, but this spicy cashew dressing is way more than just a salad dressing.

It can be enjoyed as is, with some low-carb chips/crackers, or as a side or sauce drizzled onto your main dish.

Here are some ideas for inspiration:

FAQ

Should I soak cashews overnight before blending them?

It really depends on your blender’s power. If you have a high speed blender, then soaking cashews overnight isn’t necessary, as the blades will be able to break down the nuts sufficiently. 

However, if you have a weaker blender, then it’s better to soak the cashews overnight to soften them before blending, as this will help the blades break down the nuts more easily and result in a much smoother consistency. 

Can I freeze spicy cashew dressing?

Yes, you can freeze spicy cashew dressing. To do this, pour the dressing into a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for up to six months. When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw the dressing overnight in the refrigerator and give it a stir before using. 

Spicy cashew dressing being poured over a bowl of salad.

Are there any health benefits to eating cashews?

Yes, there are several health benefits associated with eating cashews. These nuts contain high amounts of magnesium, copper, and manganese and are associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and supporting brain health and mental health.

They are also rich in healthy fats and protein, making them an excellent source of energy and essential nutrients. Plus, they are low in sodium and contain no cholesterol, making them a great choice for those who want to maintain a healthy diet.

Storage

Store any leftover spicy cashew dressing in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just keep in mind that your dressing will get thicker the longer it sits, so mix in a little water if necessary.

Yield: 2-4 servings

Spicy Cashew Dressing

A bowl of salad with spicy cashew dressing.

This spicy cashew dressing is definitely a stand-out! With its creamy texture and subtle kick of heat, it brings the perfect flavor to any salad.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 chunk of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • green chili or pepper of choice
  • juice of 2 limes
  • red chili flakes to taste
  • a small pinch of sea salt

Instructions

    1. In a small food processor or blender, add the cashews, olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, ginger, garlic, green chili, lime juice, cilantro, red chili flakes, and sea salt.
    2. Give the dressing a good blend, give it a taste, then add more of what you like. You’ll probably want to adjust acidity by adding more lime juice, bring out the flavors by adding more salt, or control the spicy level by adding more cashews if you want it less spicy or more chili flakes if you want it more spicy.
    3. Pour the dressing over your favorite salad and top with white sesame seeds, giving it a good toss. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Store any leftover spicy cashew dressing in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Just keep in mind that your dressing will get thicker the longer it sits, so mix in a little water or re-blend it if necessary.

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