A Cook's Plot

Vegetarian & Vegan

Asparagus With Creamy Cashew Dressing

The asparagus in the raised veg bed in my garden made its first appearance a few weeks ago, at least two weeks earlier than usual. It always sends up a few spindly spears first, as if they’re testing out the weather conditions before all the nice, fat juicy spears risk poking through the ground. Today enough were ready for picking for lunch, and they were SO delicious. I’ve noticed the farm shops round here that are offering a ‘click and collect’ service during the lockdown have started to get asparagus now too, so there’s lots around - the perfect treat in these weird times.

It might be true that nothing beats serving asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and my recipe for a super-quick version made in the microwave is here.

But as I have to limit the amount of butter I eat these days, for health reasons, the recipe in today’s post makes a very fine substitute indeed (and it’s great as a salad dressing too). Better still, it takes literally a minute to make and can easily be done while the asparagus is cooking.

In case you’re wondering, the little spheres on the plate are Belazu Balsamic Pearls, which burst with flavour when you bite into them (though getting them out of the jar without bursting them takes some patience - something I am really not blessed with!)


Serves 4

  • 100g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 120ml vegetable stock
  • half a clove of garlic
  • small pinch of chilli flakes
  • quarter tsp dijon mustard
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar


Boil the asparagus in lightly salted water, ideally in a tall, narrow pan so that the spears can stand upright and while the stalks cook in the liquid, the tips cook in the steam. They will only take about 3-4 minutes to cook until just tender. Drain immediately.

Meanwhile, whizz together the nuts, stock, garlic, dijon and chilli flakes in a mini food processor or smoothie maker, or with a stick blender. Then stir in the lemon juice, dijon and balsamic and season to taste.

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