A few years ago, I came across a recipe for a cashew-based vegan eggnog on a blog I was following. I was intrigued, but noticed right away that the recipe called for a high-speed blender, which I didn’t have. Having once attempted to soak and puree cashews in a regular blender to lumpy, gritty results, I accepted that homemade nog was not in my future, and glumly scrolled on by.
But in the last days of 2013, I broke down and bought one of those newfangled high-speed blenders that I’d previously eschewed.* Hey, I’ve never owned a cell phone or a car, so I probably figured purchasing an absurdly fancy appliance would whisk (speed-blend?) me into a new and long-overdue era of adulthood. (Is it working yet?) In any case, as I unwrapped my shiny new blender, all I could think about was that cashew nog which had haunted my dreams for years.
Of course, as luck would have it, when I finally went looking for said recipe, I found that it had disappeared from the Internet. Bummed but not dissuaded, I took to the web once more, where I found a plethora of recipes that called for pecans, full-fat coconut milk, bananas, and even avocados. While I’m certain each of those renditions is droolworthy in its own right, I was set on using raw cashews, which are relatively cheap, gentle on my stomach, and neither green nor banana-flavored.
And so it was that I got out the drawing board and created my own cashew-based concoction. This nog is a smooth, warmly-spiced and lightly sweetened drink that’s thick and creamy but not excessively rich or heavy. Some coconut milk (and coconut extract!) did find its way in there — a nod to my favorite store-bought vegan nog (made by So Delicious**, duh!). I opted not to use any additional thickeners because I’m not wild about ultra-sticky beverages. You’d also never know that this drink is sweetened with dates rather than refined sugar. And there’s none of that off-putting bubblegum flavor that a lot of store-bought non-dairy nogs have, either! Seriously, this stuff is good, and comes in second only to that So Delicious nog, which, in a perfect world, would be the only liquid I’d consume all winter.
I have never so much as tasted egg-based nog, so I make zero claims to the authenticity of this drink. I can say for certain, though, that this stuff is thick and dreamy and really puts me in good spirits, whatever the season!
- 1 c raw cashew pieces
- 2 c cold water (plus more for soaking cashews)
- ½ c coconut milk
- 6 medjool dates, pits removed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- ¾ tsp nutmeg
- pinch salt
- Cover cashews in some cold water and soak 2 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well.
- Blend all ingredients on high in a high-speed blender for 30 seconds, or until completely smooth.
- Refrigerate until very cold.
- Serve chilled.
*Readers, I promise to never, ever become one of those annoying vegan blogs that seems to exist solely to shill for a company that sells high-speed blenders. Most people just don’t need any additional appliances, much less to be dropping a few hundred bucks on one! That said, if you, like me, are the kind of person who would actually make and imbibe cashew nog 365 days a year, more affordable models of high-speed blenders do keep popping up on the market — an unexpected upside of their online popularity!