Vegan buttermilk is rich and creamy, with just the slightest tang, and made of fresh, whole ingredients. This dairy-free buttermilk substitute is perfect for sauces, dressings, and dairy substitutes like sour cream.
The world of vegetarian and vegan eating has changed a ton over the last decade. Grocery stores now have entire sections devoted to things like dairy substitutes for milk, yogurt, and cheese, and food producers are turning out new products all the time.
I’m really grateful that I can go to the store and have a wall of selection to choose from. But, the downside of this abundance of choice is the ingredient label situation. We like to think that vegetarian options are inherently healthier, but that’s often far from the case. Packaged vegetarian and vegan foods are just as fraught with additives, preservatives, and strange mechanized processes as other foods.
So, homemade is always best. This is my go-to — and not just “a” favorite, but “the” favorite — dairy-free buttermilk substitute: Vegan Buttermilk. Cashew cream based, and completely smooth, and both light and rich at the same time, with just the right amount of tang.
Cashew cream has been a godsend in my non-dairy world. The totally weird thing is, I don’t particularly care for cashews. I like them now more than I did when I was young, but, they’re just not a fave.
But blended into creamy smoothness with just a few ingredients, they become other worldly: cashew cream really does not taste like cashews. Like, at all. I prefer cashew milk over almond milk in most cases, because it’s more neutral on the sweet-savory scale (with almond milk being too sweet for things like soups and sauces).
If you keep raw cashews on hand, vegan buttermilk is super easy to make at home in just an hour or so: soak the cashews, and then toss everything in the blender. I use this to create wonderfully creamy salad dressings, and other surprise dishes, like dumplings for my Vegetable Dumpling Soup.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 1/4 cups fresh water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with water by an inch. Let soak for at least one hour (two is better).
Drain the cashews (discard the water) and transfer to the jar of a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix or NutriBullet).
Add the fresh water, lemon juice, and salt, if using. Blend until smooth and creamy. Use immediately, or store in the fridge.
Technically, you don't need to soak the cashews to break them down in a mega blender like the Vitamix, but soaking them soften the nuts and produces a creamier result.