Naming vegan dishes—particularly those that channel the qualities of a decidedly non-vegan dish—is always a little tricky.
On the one hand, using a conventional name, even if the vegan version takes a lot of liberties, can be a useful way of telling people what to expect. No, banana “ice cream” won’t taste much like traditional ice cream. But it’s going to be cold and sweet and creamy, and isn’t that sort of the point?
On the other hand, using the name of a time-honored dish can feel a bit irreverent, especially if the vegan version of the thing really does take a lot of liberties. “Lentil Bolognese” may provide some useful taste and serving cues, but given how flagrantly mine flaunts the traditional cooking methods, perhaps “lentil sauce” or “pasta sauce with lentils” is a wiser choice.
It’s tough to say. I’ll let you decide whether this creamy concoction deserves the name I’ve given it, which is “Banana Cashew Yogurt.”
Here’s the backstory: Yogurt was, for a long time, one of the few non-vegan foods I missed when I went vegan. I created this blend as a breakfast dish that would evoke the creaminess and sweetness of yogurt, if not quite the rich texture or tartness (though I do add a little lime juice). With only five ingredients, it’s easy to make and serve.
It’s certainly not “yogurt” in the traditional sense, and if you’re a yogurt lover, this recipe may not be for you. If you’re newly dairy-free and on the hunt for a tasty base for granola or muesli—or if you have an adventurous spirit and you’d like to try something new—then give it a shot.
As with many vegan renditions of non-vegan foods, the proper name for this blend is anyone’s guess. Blended banana cashew breakfast? Super-thick banana cashew smoothie? Who knows.
What I do know is that I love the sweet flavor, especially paired with some toasted granola and chia seeds, and I hope you will, too.
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed, and drained
2 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon lime juice
2/3 cup coconut water
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Photos by James Ransom