This Spicy Cashew Dressing is bold and brilliantly flavored with chili paste, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Inspired by the fan-favorite Sweetgreen Spicy Cashew Dressing, it's perfect on grain bowls, salads, roasted veggies, chicken and/or tofu.
If you're unfamiliar with the fast-casual restaurant chain Sweetgreen and their hugely popular Spicy Cashew Dressing, let me enlighten you.
This dressing is, admittedly, one of the only reasons I go to sweetgreen. It's rich and creamy with nutty undertones from toasted sesame, zingy brightness from ginger and lime, and spicy strokes of chili.
It's endlessly versatile and comes together in 5 minutes flat.
I love using it on grain bowls, salads, roasted veggies, chicken, or tofu.
Keep a batch in the fridge and use it to elevate weekday lunches or speedy dinners.
How to Make Spicy Cashew Dressing
I prefer using an immersion blender over a food processor for this dressing, however either will work.
Just make sure you wait until the very end to add the cilantro or the whole dressing will turn green.
- Cashew Butter: Mild, creamy, and with a mellow sweetness, creamy butter adds rich creaminess to the dressing.
- Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is more mellow than other vinegar varieties.
- Oil: Use a neutral oil, such as safflower, sunflower, or grapeseed oil. Unfortunately, the grassy undertones of olive oil skew the flavor of the dressing too much.
- Chili Paste: I suggest Sambal Oelek, which is a popular chili paste you can find in most grocery stores. I tried using red pepper flakes (knowing most folks already have them on hand), however their flavor was just too flat.
- Lime Juice: You need 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice (from ½ lime).
- Ginger + Garlic: Use fresh, which offers more pungency than dried. This dressing is heavy on the ginger, which adds to the spice.
- Sesame Oil: Look for toasted sesame oil, which has a richer, deeper flavor.
- Cilantro: A little goes a long way in this dressing. If you're not a cilantro fan, you can omit it.
- Maple Syrup: Sweetness from maple syrup balances the spice.
Step 1: Blend Ingredients
In a medium bowl, combine everything except cilantro. Use an immersion blender to blend dressing until mostly smooth. (Alternatively, use a Nutribullet or small food processor.)
Add cilantro and blend again until green specks are disbursed throughout the dressing.
This spicy cashew dressing can be used to elevate anything from grain bowls and salads to grilled meats. Here are a few suggestions:
- Roasted or Sautéed Veggies: Toss with Perfect Sauteed Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or roasted cauliflower.
- Grain Bowls: Pretty much ANY of the grain bowl recipes on my site would benefit from this dressing. However I especially love it with this Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Bowl (in lieu of the yogurt sauce and parsley oil).
- Salads: This dressing pairs especially well with a hearty kale salad. Try it in my Autumn Delicata Squash Salad (In lieu of the almond butter dressing).
- Protein: Chicken or Tofu Skewers are fabulous dipped in this spicy cashew dressing.
- To Store: Refrigerate dressing in an airtight container or jar for up to 2 weeks.
More Healthy Dressing Recipes to Try:
If you try this copycat sweetgreen spicy cashew dressing, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Spicy Cashew Dressing
- Immersion blender, Nutribullet, or small food processor
- ¼ cup creamy cashew butter
- 2 Tbsp. neutral oil (such as safflower, sunflower, or grapeseed oil)
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. sambal oelek (chili paste)
- 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 small garlic clove
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 to 2 Tbsp. water (depending on desired consistency)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves
- In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except cilantro. Use an immersion blender to blend dressing until mostly smooth. (Alternatively, use a Nutribullet or small food processor.)Add cilantro and blend again until green specks are disbursed throughout the dressing. (Don't overblend or the dressing will turn green.) Dressing will be thick.Refrigerate in a storage container or sealed jar for up to 2 weeks.