This post originally appeared on Food52 in 5.

It’s a dip! It’s a spread! It’s a sauce! No … it’s cashew cream! This five-ingredient, five-minute recipe is like a superhero in a jar, waiting to swoop in and sauce just about any weeknight dinner you can think of. The only thing missing is a cute little cape.

To make this creamy condiment, all you’ll have to do is break out the blender from your cabinet. You won’t even need a knife — just let the blender do all of the work for you. Put the raw cashews, oil, water, lemon juice, and salt into the blender jar and let it work its magic … or, rather, reveal its superpower.

The key to creaminess is to emulsify the ingredients really well. To achieve this, blend the mixture twice. Start the blender on its lowest speed and slowly turn the dial until it’s blending on full blast. Then, scrape down the sides and do it once more until the cream is smoother-than-smooth.

Since the sauce is a simple blank slate, and this recipe makes a few batches, you can use it anywhere and everywhere. Think of it as a vegan replacement for mayo or sour cream, but also as a base for creamy vegan dressings and dips of all stripes.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to use it:

Fake-out mayo

To the cashew cream, grate in a clove of garlic and a generous helping of freshly cracked black pepper, and the sauce will take on an aioli-like vibe. It’s great for dipping crudités, spreading on a sandwich in place of mayo, or serving alongside these tingly Szechuan tater tots.

Dairy-free sour cream

Mix the make-ahead cream with a little hot sauce, lime juice, and chopped cilantro to drizzle over a tray of nachos. Or, keep it simple and solo, and scoop it on top of a baked sweet potato. You could maybe even dollop it into this 5-ingredient vegetarian weeknight chili.

Salad dressing

No need to bust out the ranch when you’ve got this on hand. To the cream, add a handful of fresh chopped parsley, chives, and dill, with a little juice and zest from a lemon, and it practically tastes like the “real” stuff. Or swirl in a spoonful of spicy harissa and toss into a hearty kale salad.

A quick dip

If you’re looking to entertain a crowd, combine a cup of the cashew cream with two caramelized onions, a splash of sherry vinegar, freshly chopped chives, and lots of salt and pepper, and serve with plenty of chips to make a secretly vegan crowd-pleaser. Or add a drizzle of honey and some Dijon mustard, and pair with some polenta fries.

With endless possibilities, this jack-of-all-trades sauce may quickly become your go-to weeknight dinner companion, as it has mine. And, since it only takes five minutes to make, you’ll have plenty of time to make that cute little red cape to tie onto this superhero.

Note: If using a high powered blender, as recommended, there’s no need to soak the cashews. If using a classic blender or food processor, soak the cashews in warm water for an hour before blending for best results.

Makes: 1 1/2 cups

Prep time: 4 min

Cook time: 1 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed, safflower, or sunflower oil)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions

  1. Place the cashews, water, oil, lemon juice and salt into the carafe of a high powered blender. Turn the blender on to its lowest speed. With the blender running, slowly turn the speed dial of the blender up until it has reached the highest speed. Let the blender run on high for about 30 seconds. Turn the speed all the way down and then turn off the blender. Using a rubber spatula scrape down the sides of the carafe and the lid and then repeat the blending process once more. If the mixture has yet to reach a creamy consistency after the second blend, continue the blending process until smooth. The mixture have a more spreadable consistency after it’s chilled so don’t worry if it looks a little loose.
  2. Pour the mixture into a glass jar and store in the fridge for a few weeks.