For what ails me… (Cashew-sesame sauce)

I stayed home sick yesterday. I was basically a slug – lunch was instant miso soup and piece of peanut butter toast (thanks, Travis!) – but I made myself get off the couch and make some real dinner when my stomach wouldn’t let me idle any longer. I was feeling pretty uninspired, and I didn’t want anything that took too much effort, so my mind inevitably strayed to the comfort list.

You know, the foods that sound good in pretty much any situation. Such a situation as, say, feeling like crap.

I immediately thought of a favorite cashew sauce that I make and I mentally ran down the list of necessaries: cashews, garlic (ooh, an heirloom variety from the market – double check!), rice vinegar, tamari/soy sauce, sesame oil, curry paste… YES! And I even had some good veggie options and some brown rice spaghetti. It’s embarrassing how excited I got when I realized I could make the beloved dish that very night.


Uh-oh, my mouth is watering again… I can get away with making it twice in a week, right??

Energized for the first time all day, I set my mind to the task, and told myself I could keep it simple. I started the pasta water and set Travis to crushing the cashews in a towel (long story for another post, but I only have a smoothie blender and an immersion blender, neither of which is good at sauces that aren’t liquid-y… I’m working on it). Then I started pulling out the veggies for the stir fry base, and I kept finding good things to throw in… still simple, but I was getting a little overexcited about the whole thing.

Fast forward about 20 minutes: I was feeling great AND Travis and I had some delicious food ready to fill our bellies. Next time I’m sick and don’t feel like cooking, will someone please direct me to this post? Thanks in advance.

Cashew-Sesame Sauce

This sauce is fantastic tossed with stir-fried veggies and tofu or tempeh – some of my favorites are carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, napa cabbage, bok choy, green beans, bell peppers, green onions (added after removed from heat) – the list is endless… throw whatever you’ve got in there! Serve with or without a grain – I love using brown rice spaghetti because the sauce clings to it beautifully, and brown rice and quinoa are wonderful as well. Recipe adapted from a recipe card from Lalibela Farm – tempeh specialists! I have no idea where the card is now or if this recipe even matches what was on there, so I don’t know where original credit is due. My apologies.

NOTE: The amounts listed here are really a guide for ratios of the ingredients and are approximate. Don’t be afraid to keep adding and adjusting the taste and thickness before serving!

1/2-1 cup cashews (crushed if not using a blender – I use roasted unsalted)

2-3 cloves garlic (minced or pressed if not using a blender)

4 TBS rice vinegar

3 TBS tamari or soy sauce

1-2 TBS toasted sesame oil

1 TBS red curry paste (could also use a chili paste, but adjust to taste – could probably also use tahini, but I haven’t tried because I always have curry paste handy)

sesame seeds (for garnish)

Combine all ingredients in a blender/food processor except cashews and blend until smooth (or just whisk together if not using a blender). Add cashews and pulse until you reach desired thickness (I personally like it pretty thick and with some chunks). Adjust by adding more liquid as needed in ratios above (always opt for rice vinegar first!). Add to your dish, toss, and enjoy! I usually let my tossed mixture heat for a few more minutes with some extra whole cashews to let the garlic at least warm up from raw. :)

Makes about 1 cup of sauce – enough for a dish that serves about 4 people.

In conclusion, I go to the kitchen for what ails me – for good healing food and therapy in the form of cooking. What’s your comfort pick-me-up food or activity when you’re sick?

IMG_3310Yeah, those “leftovers” didn’t last the night.

6 thoughts on “For what ails me… (Cashew-sesame sauce)

  1. abbicita says:

    Hey Julie! I love your blog. I just made this (substituted peanuts for cashews because I don’t like cashews) and it came out really great! I’m vegetarian and my boyfriend is gluten free so I have a feeling I’m going to really like your recipes :)

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