Mayo Madness

“One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.”
Ambrose Bierce, on mayonnaise in his “Devils’ Dictionary”

I detested mayonnaise as a child or young adult. I would not eat sandwiches or salads that contained mayonnaise, and my mother’s attempts to scrape it off the toast never erradicated the taste enough for me to eat it if a restaurant kitchen forgot to leave it off. So early on in my foray into raw foods, when my husband sent me a recipe for raw mayonnaise, I could not muster much excitement. I assembled the ingredients, having decided to make it as a dip for our own family superbowl party and to use the leftovers to make sandwiches for him to take to work.

Cashew MayoI did not have a Vita-Mix at the time, so I made it in my food processor. Finished making the mayo, I removed the lid of the Cuisinart and got a whiff of YUM!  I scraped this concoction out into a jar since I was making it a day or so ahead, and, intrigued, I tasted a little. Holy Moly! This stuff is delicious! I immediately went to the fridge and got out some broccoli and carrots which I hurriedly washed and chopped. And dipped. And dipped and dipped and DIPPED.

Used as a creamy, thick dip, diluted with a little more water to make a dressing, or spread in a sandwich, it adds a richness that is noticeably absent when you don’t have some on hand. I’m revisiting this recipe after a long respite (sparked, no doubt, by constant overindulgence) and am looking forward to enjoying it often in the near future. The Vita-Mix makes this recipe even smoother and creamier than I ever could before, but don’t let that discourage you if you don’t have one. It’s all good.

Cashew AppleNot knowing much about cashews, I decided to look into them a bit before posting.  Cashews grow on a small evergreen tree native to northern Brazil, swelling at the base of a false fruit often called the cashew apple (or in Central America, the marañón), which is edible and has a strong sweet smell and sweet taste (so wikipedia reports. I’ll probably never know, as the skin is fragile and therefor unsuitable for transport.) The single seed hangs beneath this sweet juicy treat, surrounded by a double shell containing a resin, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the more well known allergenic oil urushiol which I know very well as the toxin found in poison ivy. Happily, despite my horrible reactions to poison ivy, I can thoroughly enjoy cashews with nary an adverse reaction. Unless I eat too many. Did I mention that I like to do that?

raw cashewsCashews contain less fat per serving than many other popular nuts, including almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pecans.  Cashews keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by providing monounsaturated fatty acids (healthy fats like those found in olive oil).  High in copper, moderate consumption of cashews keeps your joints, bones, and blood vessels flexible. Cashews also help prevent premature aging and disease by supporting the antioxidant activity of a powerful enzyme called superoxide dismutase. And cashews are rich in magnesium which has many health benefits:

  • Decrease muscle cramps and soreness through relaxation.
  • Promotes healthy blood pressure by keeping blood vessels relaxed.
  • Keeps your nerves relaxed by acting as a natural calcium channel blocker.
  • Promotes deep, restful sleep by relaxing the  nervous system and muscles.
  • Builds and maintains strong bones and teeth.

So you can see that, as long as you don’t have any issues with allergies, there are plenty of good reasons to include a handful of cashews in your diet on a regular basis. And now you know one lovely way to do so!

Ingredients for cashew mayoCashew Mayonnaise

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2-3 soft dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash white pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Cashew mayo in the blenderSoak cashews for 1-2 hours, drain and rinse well til water runs clear. This helps soften the cashews, as well as making them more digestible.
  2. Puree all ingredients, except oil, in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  3. While continuing to blend, add oil in a steady stream, until emulsified.
  4. Store in a tightly sealed container the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This recipe made enough to nearly fill a small 16 fl oz  jar. It firms up nicely in the fridge.

I don’t often add the pepper, I used a mix of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, and since I didn’t have onion powder on hand I used a small chunk of onion to taste, but otherwise, I actually follow this recipe to the letter. Although I do double it, since it seems to disappear so quickly around here.

One note — this recipe contains relatively little water, and both food processor and blender warm up the dip considerably during processing. You will need to make this ahead of time and chill it unless you plan on serving it warm. It does thicken considerably in the fridge, but will loosen slightly if set out at room temperature for a bit. And now that I think about it, it would be delicious served warm on top of kelp or zucchini noodles…


  1. JeanB says

    I am so going to try this! Sounds delish! I tried a diff homemade mayo recipe that did not go over well with the family, so I’m hopeful, we all love cashews.

  2. Sabrina says

    Go for it! Our family loves this one as well and I love it because it is easy to make and lasts a decent time in the fridge.

  3. Sioux says

    You don’t really taste the sweetness that the dates add, but I think you’d miss it if you left them out. If you don’t have dates, add a teaspoon or two of honey.

    It doesn’t last very long in my fridge — only because it gets eaten! We’ve had it a little more than a week, but it’s usually gone by much more than that. I’d say it’d probably be good for at least 2 weeks if not more, and you’d know by smelling it if it were no longer good.

  4. Pam says

    Oh my gosh this stuff is delicious! Thanks for the taste today!

    I can’t wait to make it myself.

  5. JeanB says

    home from Whole Foods, cashews are soaking…can’t wait! Also have some wheat berries soaking to try a recipe I found on

  6. says

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the nice work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  7. Theresa says

    I did it! I made some changes when doubling it by accident but it came out fabulous! Here is my version:
    2 cups soaked cashews
    1/2 cup water
    6 soaked dates
    1 tsp Celtic salt
    1 tsp onion flakes
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 cup olive oil (I don’t like using a lot of oil)

    After blending it, I divided it and made a small batch a dill dip by adding chopped, fresh dill.

  8. Theresa says

    OMG I just spread some on a small square piece of collard greens and it is better than a cracker with cheese (though I haven’t cheese in over 15 years it reminds me of the small square “Laughing Cow” cheese in little silver squares 🙂 )