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Spicy Cashew Dressing (Copycat Recipe)

Spicy cashew dressing has bold flavors and is great on salads, pasta, bowls, and more. This homemade Sweetgreen copycat recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free with a nut-free option.

Looking for more homemade dressings? Try my creamy lemon miso dressing, spicy honey mustard, or sesame lime dressing.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Versatile – This creamy cashew dressing can be used in many different ways from green salads to pasta to rainbow bowls or as a dipping sauce.
  • Simple ingredients – This cashew-based dressing is made of pantry staples so you likely already have many of the ingredients.
  • Quick – Everything gets tossed right into a high-speed blender to yield a creamy texture.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this vegan cashew dressing:

  • Cashew butter – made with whole raw cashews, a tiny bit of oil, and kosher salt.
  • Fresh cilantro – the fresh herbs add a fresh element and also change the color of the dressing.
  • Olive oil – or a neutral oil such as avocado oil.
  • Rice vinegar and fresh lime juice – add tanginess.
  • Maple syrup.
  • Nutritional yeast – gives the dressing a savory, cheesy flavor.
  • Toasted sesame oil.
  • Fresh ginger ​- naturally spicy.
  • Red pepper flakes – adjust the amount depending on how spicy you like it.
  • Garlic – fresh garlic cloves, garlic powder, or even garlic confit.
  • Kosher salt.

How to Make Cashew Dressing: Step By Step

Here are some quick visual instructions. The full instructions and ingredient list will be in the printable recipe card below!

1. Blend until smooth. Add the cashew butter and remaining ingredients to the base of a blender. Thin with water until you’ve reached your desired consistency and blend until smooth.

2. Season to taste with kosher salt and lime juice. Adjust the red pepper flakes according to spice preference.

Helpful Tips

  • A high-powered blender is the key to getting a smoother sauce. I recommend using this over a food processor.
  • If your blender isn’t super powerful, you may need to add a little additional water to get it to blend more easily.
  • The dressing will slightly thicken as it chills.

Quick Tip: Add water to get the right consistency, then season to taste with more acid, salt, heat, etc., as needed. Water will slightly dilute the flavor, so it’s best to season it once you have the right consistency.

Storage

Store the spicy cashew sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Serving Ideas

You can’t have a boring salad or meal with this homemade spicy cashew dressing. It’s a great way to eat more veggies. Drizzle it over roasted sweet potato, massaged kale salad, or rainbow bowls.

Use it as a dipping sauce for fresh vegetables such as sliced cucumber rounds or carrots, or roasted vegetables such as crispy roasted potatoesbaked carrot fries, or air fryer butternut squash.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this creamy cashew salad dressing using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • Make it nut-free – use tahini. Krinos is my favorite brand. You’ll likely need the additional tablespoon of maple syrup since tahini is slightly more bitter than cashew butter.
  • No nutritional yeast? – use low sodium soy sauce or tamari for a similar umami flavor.
  • Don’t like cilantro? – you can leave it out or try adding 2-3 stalks of green onion (green part only), but it’ll change the flavor of the dressing.
  • No rice vinegar? – substitute champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
  • No lime juice? – you can also use lemon juice.
  • No red pepper flakes? – use a chili paste such as sriracha.
  • Add-ins – fish sauce for more umami flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m allergic to cashews. Can I make this cashew dressing nut free?

To make it nut-free, use sunflower seed butter or tahini instead of cashew butter.

Is this a copycat Sweetgreen spicy cashew dressing recipe?

Yes, this copycat recipe contains many of the same ingredients as the Sweetgreen salad dressing.

More Homemade Dressings

I hope you love this Cashew Dressing! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment & a star rating so I know how you liked it!

Spicy Cashew Dressing (Copycat Recipe)

5 from 1 vote
A jar of homemade spicy cashew dressing next to a brown checkered wood cutting board with a shallow bowl of fresh cilantro.
Spicy cashew dressing has bold flavors and is great on salads, pasta, bowls, and more. This homemade Sweetgreen copycat recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free with a nut-free option.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Add the cashew butter and remaining ingredients to the base of a blender. Thin with water until you've reached your desired consistency and blend until smooth.
  • Season to taste with more maple syrup, kosher salt, or lime juice as needed. Increase the amount of red pepper flakes if you like it extra spicy.

Notes

This recipe yields roughly 1½ cups depending on the amount of water you add.
See the blog post for helpful tips, frequently asked questions, storage, and serving ideas.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Make it nut-free – use tahini. Krinos is my favorite brand. You’ll likely need the additional tablespoon of maple syrup since tahini is slightly more bitter than cashew butter.

No nutritional yeast? – use low sodium soy sauce or tamari for a similar umami flavor.

Don’t like cilantro? – you can leave it out or try adding 2-3 stalks of green onion (green part only), but it’ll change the flavor of the dressing.

No rice vinegar? – substitute champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.

No lime juice? – you can also use lemon juice.

No red pepper flakes? – use a chili paste such as sriracha.

Add-ins – fish sauce for more umami flavor.

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