Take a Dip: Cashew-Adobo Dip

This past weekend I held a casual, bring-the-kids, I’ll-make-the-drinks, backyard summer party. After cleaning the patio furniture and stringing outdoor lights, not to mention doing the all-important work of mixing pitchers of Spicy Cucumber Margaritas and Garden-Mint Mojitos, I didn’t have a ton of time to spend prepping food. (Priorities people, priorities!)

It's not a party without snacks!
It’s not a party without snacks…

Yet, I really wanted to serve party fare that everyone would enjoy, regardless of their diet — gluten-free, vegan, omnivore, whatevah. Yes, it was a potluck, and guests were contributing eats, but as the hostess, I wanted to at least have a few snacks on the table when everyone arrived.

Inspired (of all things) by a low-fat, baked-chicken recipe in a recent issue of Women’s Health magazine, my new go-to party recipe is Cashew-Adobo Dip. There’s very little work involved, unless you want to toast the cashews or roast the garlic, and the result is piquant and versatile. And, with a little advance planning — you’ll need to soak the nuts for 8 – 12 hours first — I was able to put this dip together in about 15 minutes (YMMV, though).

I kept my version as organic as possible — yep, even the cashews and the onion powder — with the exception of the adobo sauce. Adobo (Spanish for marinade or seasoning) typically consists of garlic, spices, and vinegar and is used to preserve raw food. You might be familiar with chipotle peppers packed in a tomato-based version of adobo sauce. The peppers provide a lot of heat, so a little adobo sauce goes a long way. (Yes, my next project is figuring out what to do with the peppers and the rest of the sauce. I’ll get back to you on that…)

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

In the meantime, if you’re looking for an easy-to-make, tasty, versatile party snack, I gotcha covered!

Recipe: Cashew-Adobo Dip
Yield: About 2 cups
Inspired by “Homemade Upgrade: Fried Chicken,” Women’s Health, July-August 2014

For a casual snack, serve it with corn chips (blue or sweet potato are good choices). To create an easy, elegant canapé, spread the dip on nut or rice crackers and add a slice of fresh, ripe tomato on top. But wait — there’s more! Toss it with pasta and sauteéd vegetables for a quick meal, or use it as a sandwich spread or to add flavor to soft tacos.


Medium bowl
Piece of parchment paper
Colander or mesh strainer
Food processor
Rubber Spatula


1½ cups raw cashews
2 small cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (reserve remainder of sauce and chipotle peppers for another use)
1¾ – 2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon light agave nectar
5 ounces almond milk

How To:

  1. Place the cashews in a medium-size bowl, cover with water, then place the parchment paper on top to cover. Soak cashews 8 – 12 hours.

    Soaking cashews covered with parchment paper
    Soaking cashews covered with parchment paper
  2. When you’re ready to make the dip, drain the cashews.
  3. Sauté the garlic in olive oil until soft and golden.
    Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly.
  4. Add all ingredients — except the almond milk — to the bowl of the food processor and process until crumbly.
    Remove the food processor cover, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then replace the cover.
  5. With the food processor running, stream in the almond milk. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy (3 – 5 minutes).
    You might need to stop the food processor and scrape down the inside of the bowl again to ensure that all ingredients have been processed smoothly.

    Mmmm, smooth 'n creamy cashew dip!
    Mmmm, smooth ‘n creamy cashew dip!
  6. Taste the dip and adjust the seasoning to your taste, if necessary.
  7. Chill dip in the refrigerator for 30 – 60 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve with corn chips, crackers, or crudités.
    Cashew-Adobo Dip and blue corn chips
    Cashew-Adobo Dip and blue corn chips

    Want to upgrade your party snacks? Spread this dip on a rice cracker, top with a slice of garden-ripe tomato (I used Indigo-Apple tomatoes from my garden), finish with a small dollop of the cashew dip, and top with fresh parsley or chives.

    Upgrade your party snacks: quick, easy, and delicious!
  9. Store leftover dip in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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