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Roasted Red Pepper Cashew “Crema” 

Creamy Dairy & Gluten-free Sauce

This fall favorite is inspired by a dip that was served with roasted cauliflower at a restaurant in Nashville I used to visit when I traveled for work. The chef never would share the recipe but did let me know that it contained harissa. After trying for years, I replicated the recipe.

Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste made with roasted red peppers, spices, herbs, garlic, and olive oil. It has a rich, warm, spicy flavor, and only a little is needed. You can find harissa in the spice or condiment section of most large grocery stores. You can substitute with sriracha sauce, which also has a spicy, peppery taste. 

This recipe contains nutritional yeast, a deactivated yeast that is sold in the baking section or bulk section of grocery stores and health food stores. It has a sharp, cheesy flavor like parmesan. Try it over popcorn. 

For a simple fall or winter meal, this cashew crema pairs great with roasted cauliflower or root veggies and a roasted chicken. To save time, reheat a sectioned rotisserie chicken in a pan with a little olive oil and a few lemon slices. You can also try this as alternative to hummus with veggie sticks or tortilla chips. 


1.5 cup raw cashews (soaked or boiled)

1 roasted red pepper (about ¾ cup) from a jar

1 cup non-dairy milk (almond, cashew, soy, or other)

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp harissa sauce (use an equal part sriracha sauce if you can’t find harissa)

½ tsp paprika 

½ tsp salt


Soak the cashews overnight in cold water or boil them for 35 minutes. Drain. 

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. The texture will be like a smooth hummus or creamy peanut butter and has a pretty orangy pink color. 

Use immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

I'm Rebecca, a Westfield native living in California where I own a consulting firm specializing in advising technology companies who do business with state and local government. I volunteer as a foster youth advocate and supporting high school exchange programs. I love traveling, yoga, hiking, kayaking, and baking. 

Makes about 3 cups.

  • Harissa -  Tunisian hot chili pepper paste