Spa Recipe: Cashew Cream

A dairy-free alternative, this Raw Food friendly recipe is perfect with fresh berries.
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Spa owners and clients are increasingly interested in healthful eating as part of their wellness-focused lifestyles, but a constant stream of media-driven messages about what—and what not—to eat can erode the ability to sort fact from fad.

One modern eating trend that appears grounded in sound nutritional tenets is the raw food diet, a plant-based cuisine of unprocessed vegetables, fruits, sprouted nuts, grains and seeds. No ingredient is heated above 118F, so alternative preparation methods such as sprouting, marinating and blending are encouraged.

This dairy-free cashew “cream” recipe comes from Sunita Vira, founder of the Raw Food Centre, with locations in Chicago and Singapore. A certified raw food chef and nutrition educator, Vira hosts workshops and classes on the eating plan.

“This cream is a fun way to add healthy fats into your diet, and it takes less than five minutes to assemble,” enthuses Vira. “Plus, you can garnish it with superfoods like dried mulberries and raw cacao nibs to punch up the antioxidant quota!”

Devotees of the diet swear by its purported health benefits, from improved immunity and a youthful glow to renewed energy and mental clarity. “I noticed the difference in my body, so I started making raw food dishes for my family too,” says the chef, adding, “I soon realized my children were rarely getting sick.”

Anyone who’s considering this “eating without heating” method but prefers to take it one ingredient at a time should heed Vira’s advice. “You don’t need to be 100% raw to enjoy the benefits,” she says. “It’s about adding the ‘good’ back into your diet!”

Cashew Cream
1 cup raw unsalted cashews (soaked for 1-2 hours, drained)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup ice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 T coconut oil
2 T maple syrup or agave nectar (to desired sweetness)
Pinch Himalayan pink salt
Seasonal fruits and berries

In a high-speed blender, blend cashews with water; add ice and blend for a smooth, thick, creamy consistency. Add more water if needed. Add rest of ingredients except fruit. Pour cashew cream into a container and chill in the fridge. Arrange fruits and berries in dessert glasses and scoop generous tablespoons of cashew cream over the tops. Garnish with superfoods to taste, and serve. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Yield: about 1 1/2 cups.