Eggnog is a holiday favorite that traditionally is made by blending milk or cream with eggs, sugar, nutmeg and often some form of alcohol such as brandy, rum or whiskey. So, obviously traditional eggnog is not a raw vegan friendly option. But today I have a recipe for you that provides the comfort of the regular version, while also being a healthy alternative.
To replace the dairy and egg we start with a thick and rich cashew nut milk. For this nog we are using cashews because it keeps things simple by avoiding the need to strain the milk. Ideally you want to soak the cashews for about two hours before blending.
However, if you prefer to use another variety of nut, simply blend your favorite nut with the water and then strain through a nut milk bag. This will ensure your nog has a nice, smooth texture. Good alternative choices would be almonds or Brazil nuts. You can also choose to strain the cashew nog if you like a really silky-smooth consistency.
Added to our creamy cashew milk are fresh dates, which provide sweetness as well as creating a thicker texture than other types of sweeteners, such as agave or honey.
The finishing touches that help round out the flavors of this nog are vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. The spices are a traditional ingredient in eggnog and they also add a warming quality that soothes the senses and assists digestion.
You can adjust the consistency of the nog by adding more or less water according to your preference. Some like it really thick and creamy, while others prefer it to be lighter. You may also adjust the sweetness to taste.
Healthy Holiday Cashew Nut Nog
Makes about 3 cups
1 cup cashews, (ideally soaked for two hours)
3 cups water
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If you prefer to serve it warm, and if you have a high-speed blender, you can continue blending until it reaches your desired temperature. Alternatively you can gently heat it on the stove-top.
To preserve the enzyme content you want to check the temperature as you go. If you can dip your finger in without burning then the enzymes will remain intact. If it is too hot and burns your fingers then the temperature is too high.
It will keep for at least two or three days in the fridge but if you do make it in advance I recommend blending it again right before serving to ensure the texture is smooth, as well as warming it up. The weather here in Costa Rica is quite warm so a chilled nog goes down nicely here, but I know most of my readers are experiencing winter at the moment so you will probably prefer to serve this warm, or at least at room temperature.
If you whip up a batch of this to take to a holiday gathering you can be sure there is something healthy available that will sustain you. And your family and friends will also enjoy this without even realizing that it is sugar, egg and dairy-free!
You can also add this to your coffee or tea as a milk or cream alternative. Another idea is to use it as a base for a smoothie, adding fresh fruit such as bananas and oranges. What a delicious way to get a nutritious start to the day during the holidays!
I hope you enjoy it and wish you all the best for a happy, healthy holiday season.