I’m excited to share my first recipe with you! Technically this recipe should be called Easy Homemade Vegan Thai Cashew Sauce served over Steamed Vegetables and Jasmine Rice, but that’s a bit long, don’t you think?
I tried Thai food for the first time a few years ago thanks to the recommendation of two of our closest friends. They told us about their favorite restaurant and we checked it out. We absolutely loved it! I tried a few dishes, but my favorite was always the Thai peanut sauce served over vegetables and jasmine rice.
Being the foodie that I am, I decided to recreate this recipe at home. I went through several versions and ultimately came up with my favorite. My trick is Thai Kitchen’s red curry paste. I originally tried a couple different Thai red curry pastes from my local Asian market. But boy were they spicy! I had to drink several glasses of milk with each plateful. If you like a lot of spice, I definitely recommend using canned Thai red curry paste from an Asian market. But if you’re a vegetarian, make sure to read the label, as a lot of them contain shrimp paste. I love Thai Kitchen ’cause it’s not spicy (but is flavorful!), is available at all major grocery stores, is vegan, and is gluten-free.
So…about that jar of Thai red curry paste. My son Alastair has always liked playing with things that are not toys more than actual toys. He especially loves “helping” mommy in the kitchen and playing with utensils, bowls, and food. I always like having Thai Kitchen red curry paste around to make vegan Thai cashew sauce. Whenever I open the pantry, the first thing Alastair reaches for is this jar of Thai red curry paste. … or rather, a different jar whose label is now missing and whose lid is chewed on. I think Alastair likes it ’cause the jar is his sized. It’s so cute seeing him play with it!
I serve the sauce over Thai jasmine rice and fresh steamed organic vegetables. This time I used broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots, green beans, and red bell pepper. The nice thing about this recipe is it’s so flexible, you can use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. But aren’t these vegetables so colorful and pretty?
Now let’s talk more about this magical Thai cashew sauce. As I mentioned, Thai restaurants make peanut sauce. I love peanuts and still really like Thai peanut sauce. But when Alastair was a few months old, we thought he was allergic to proteins in my milk from a number of things, including peanuts. I eliminated them for a few months and discovered how amazing cashews are. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Cashews contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Studies have shown that eating nuts actually lowers the risk of weight gain. If you’re a health nerd like me, you can read more about the health benefits of cashews. But for those of you who just want to know how to make this sauce, read on…
I started by making my own homemade coconut milk. Although you could just buy a can of coconut milk, fresh is so much better. Most cans contain BPA, and canned milk has added guar gum. Homemade coconut milk is so much fresher and better for you. After making the coconut milk, I mix in Thai red curry paste, natural cashew butter, sugar, salt, white vinegar, and water, bring to a boil, and then simmer for five minutes. That’s it! This sauce is easy and delicious.
My recipe makes a lot of sauce. I use half the sauce to go with my veggies and rice, then save the rest in my fridge to use over the course of the next couple weeks. It’s delicious as a dressing served over salad, on roasted green beans as a side dish, or to make this dish again. It will last up to a month in the fridge, but thickens and you’ll need to add water to thin it. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.
- Homemade coconut milk:
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Vegan Thai cashew sauce:
- 2 cups homemade coconut milk
- 1 4-ounce jar of Thai Kitchen red curry paste
- 1 16-ounce jar of cashew butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 pound baby carrots
- ½ pound green beans
- To make the vegan Thai cashew sauce, start by making coconut milk. Warm the water until hot but not boiling. Blend the water with unsweetened shredded coconut for two minutes until thick and creamy. Pour through a mesh colander into a large saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients for the Thai cashew sauce into the large saucepan containing the homemade coconut milk -- red curry paste, cashew butter, sugar, water, white vinegar, and salt. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Once it has come to a boil, lower the heat to low. Whisk the sauce for five minutes. Do not let the bottom burn. Set the sauce aside. It is best served at room temperature or slightly warmer.
- Then, cook the jasmine rice. Rinse the jasmine rice and cook it in a rice cooker or on the stovetop. If using a rice cooker, plug it in, add the jasmine rice and water to the rice cooker, and switch the lever to "cook." If cooking on the stovetop, combine the jasmine rice and water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, turn heat down to low, and cover with a lid. Simmer 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
- Finally, prepare the vegetables. Rinse and dice the broccoli, cauliflower, and bell pepper. Rinse the baby carrots. Rinse the green beans and cut off the stems. Add enough water to a large saucepan to cover the bottom by half an inch to an inch. Cover the pan with a lid. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the vegetables. Cook 5-8 minutes, or until all the vegetables are fork-tender. Remove from heat and strain the water.
- To assemble, place a serving of jasmine rice on a plate, place some steamed vegetables on the rice, and spoon sauce all over the rice and vegetables.
If you would like, you may substitute 1 16-ounce jar of natural peanut butter (without any added oils or sugar) for the cashew butter. This gives the sauce a different taste, but is still delicious.
If you prefer to use canned coconut milk instead of making your own, you may use two cans.