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Salt-free Cashew Spice Blend

Salt-free cashew spice blend is a sprinkle that adds a zesty crunch and flavor blast to salads, pasta dishes, soups, and on vegetables.

Salt-free Cashew Spice Blend in a small olivewood bowl on a white plate with garlic cloves and a lemon wedge.

Initially, I came up with this salt-free cashew blend to replace grated Parmesan on pasta. While it doesn’t taste like Parmesan, it gives a nutty spicy flavor and texture that replaces Parmesan really well. Salt-free cashew spice blend adds that extra blast of flavor, with the benefit of a little crunch too. Now I use the salt-free cashew spice blend to liven up lots of dishes . . .pizza, pasta bakes, salads, soups. It is always a garnish for the Mirepoix Mirepoix Lentil Soup. And it’s salt-free! The lime juice or juice from a very tart lemon gives it enough zestiness that you don’t miss the salt.

The Salt-free cashew spice blend can be refrigerated for up to 7 days. It freezes well for up to 3 or 4 months. Be sure to let the cashew spice blend cool entirely before freezing. Otherwise it will clump up somewhat from moisture.  I just keep in the freezer so it’s available anytime I need to dress up any dish or salad.

Small olivewood bowl with Salt-free Cashew Spice Blend on a white plate with a lemon wedge and whole garlic cloves.

Salt-free Cashew Spice Blend Recipe

Salt-free cashew spice blend is a a zesty sprinkle that adds crunch and flavor blast to soups, salads, pasta dishes, soups, and on vegetables. It is a perfect parmesan replacement.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Cuisine: American, Italian, Mediterranean
Diet: SOS Free, Vegan, WFPB
Servings: 16 Tablespoons

Tools Used in this Recipe

  • Chef Knife
  • shallow bowl
  • baking pan or sheet
  • parchment paper
  • jar or other storing container


  • 1 cup cashews unroasted, and preferably organic
  • 1 lime or very tart lemon juice only, about 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 11/2 tsps granulated garlic
  • 11/2 tsps ground cumin
  • 11/2 tsps coriander


  • Preheat oven to 300˚
  • Place the cashews in shallow bowl. Pour boiling water over the nuts. Let sit for a 2-3 minutes, then drain the water. This step will clean the nuts and get them ready to absorb the lime juice and spices. This step also makes it easier to chop and the cashews don't fly all over the place.
    1 cup cashews
  • Chop the nuts to the size you want.
  • Add the lime juice and stir to coat all of the nuts evenly with the liquid. Extra liquid is fine at this stage as some will be absorbed into the cashews. Sprinkle or grind the spices listed to cover evenly and toss with them in the bowl for better coverage, repeat 1 or 2 more times.
    1 lime or very tart lemon, 11/2 tsps granulated garlic, 11/2 tsps ground cumin, 11/2 tsps coriander, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Cover and set aside for 15 minutes or more. This rest time allows the spices to pick up moisture so they won’t overcook and infuses the flavor into the cashews. If you want to leave longer, put in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.
  • Drain and discard any excess liquid if any.
  • Line a baking pan or sheet with parchment paper and spread the cashews out to one layer. Put in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
  • Remove and lift the paper on each corner to toss the cashews, then return to oven for another 5 minutes, then toss again.
  • After another 5 minutes, the cashews should be a golden brown and when they cool will be crunchy. Leave in longer if you like a darker roast.
  • You can leave as is, chop the cashews further or pulse them in a food processor for a fine grind at this stage to make a sprinkle.
3 white bowls of Mirepoix Mirepoix lentil soup with vibrant vegetables andwith roasted potatoes
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Heirloom Tomato & Basil Salad on an oval platter.
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