Cashew and Squash Canapés: A Raw, Vegan Spin On Deviled Eggs!
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Raw vegan deviled eggs

As I’ve mentioned before, in spite of the fact that I was raised Episcopalian, the Easter I tend to celebrate is Greek Orthodox Easter (which is really, really late this year). Even so, I like to create at least a couple of holiday dishes every year at this time. Last year, I prepared an easy raw, vegan Charoset for Passover. This year, I thought I’d try to recreating the appetizer that accompanied every (Western) Easter celebration of my childhood: deviled eggs. I think my raw, vegan version turned out pretty well—and it was a lot of fun to make!

The process for these deviled eggs is easy. Simply whip up a creamy cashew pate (with curry and turmeric for yellow color), slice some raw zucchini or yellow squash diagonally, into ovals, and top them with a rounded tablespoon of the pate. Sprinkle with paprika if you want to be all traditional-like, and serve.

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These will make a fantastic hors d’oeuvre for holiday gatherings, or a cute appetizer for the table. And though I had a family tradition from childhood in mind when I thought to make deviled eggs, it occurred to me that hard boiled eggs are included in Seder plates as well, so perhaps this recipe will come in handy both for Easter and Passover gatherings this year!

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Raw vegan deviled eggs
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Raw, Vegan Cashew and Squash Canapés ("Deviled Eggs")

Author - Gena Hamshaw


  • 1 cup cashews soaked 2-3 hours
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp sea salt to taste
  • 3/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Dash paprika
  • 1 zucchini or summer squash cut diagonally into ovals


  • Place the cashews in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Add the salt, spices, and lemon. Pulse till the cashews are broken down.
  • Run the motor and drizzle the water in. Continue blending till the pate is silky smooth, stopping frequently to scrape the sides of the bowl down. You'll have one cup of pate.
  • Place a rounded tablespoon of pate on each zucchini oval. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, and serve.
  • Serves many--you can reserve extra pate for crudites or wraps!


Raw vegan deviled eggs

Raw vegan deviled eggs

So cute and authentic!

I have to say, the filling for this canapé really does taste a lot like the center of deviled eggs (maybe a little less thick). If you don’t believe me, believe my Mom, who tasted one soon after I whipped them up. She looked at me, wide-eyed, and exclaimed “it tastes just like an egg!” My mother is incredibly supportive and open minded about vegan food, but she’s not one to pretend that something is a “dead ringer” if it’s not. I took her words as a high compliment.

The idea of “cravings” is always a little loaded in conversations about veganism. Critics of veganism, some former vegans among them, often cite cravings for animal food as proof that veganism is incomplete or unnatural. But cravings for food, for drink, and for substances are everywhere, all the time, and they don’t necessarily have to suggest some kind of insidious deficiency. Sometimes, cravings are an expression of our desire for stimulation; I crave cigarettes all the time, and I’m perfectly capable of craving a soy latte when I’ve already had three or four cups of coffee for the day, but this doesn’t mean I need either. It usually means I’m bored, tired, or frustrated with studying. Sometimes I crave a particular food simply because I’m hungry; as soon as I have something to eat, whether or not it’s the thing I was daydreaming about, I feel satisfied.

Sometimes persistent cravings really do indicate that a person isn’t eating enough of a particular food. People who are on super low-carb diets tend to crave carbs because they are so obviously deprived of readily accessible energy. When I was obsessed with eating low fat—as I always was in my disordered periods—I craved fatty foods relentlessly. In this instance, the cravings certainly were an indication of something imbalanced in my diet. And yes: if a vegan happens to be craving animal foods, the craving might indicate that he or she isn’t eating enough fat, or enough protein. This is not to be minimized or brushed aside, and it’s something that a vegan-savvy R.D. or health care practitioner can help to troubleshoot.

It’s worth noting, though, that the food one craves isn’t necessarily the very food one must eat in order to feel better. When I was fifteen and ravenous for fried dumplings and pizza, it wasn’t because I needed those two foods in particular. It was because I was crying out for fat. I could have satisfied my cravings with some pizza, sure, but I might also have satisfied them by welcoming all kinds of fats into my diet more regularly. If you are new to plant-based eating and you’re struggling with persistent cravings for something that isn’t vegan, a health care provider (one who is knowledgeable about plant based diets) can take a look at what you’re eating, help you to identify why you’re craving that particular food, and work with you to correct imbalances. You may find that the craving was an expression of something broad and global—not a literal command from your body to eat animal foods in particular.

As a vegan, the cravings I’ve had most often are not, like the cravings described above, an expression either of boredom or of something amiss in my diet. They are an expression of nostalgia. Food is charged with meaning and emotion, and it’s natural to crave dishes or ingredients that evoke a feeling or a particular time in our life. Sometimes I miss laughing with my mom as we piled our plates of spaghetti high with parmesan cheese, or eating turkey wraps from a café that used to be around the corner from my high school, or cups of coffee turned the color of light caramel with half and half. It’s not so much that I can’t live without these foods; it’s that they’re a part of the fabric of my past. The good news is that there are now vegan foods that can help to replace them, both commercial and homemade, and there are other foods that satisfy the craving even if they don’t simulate the food precisely. Piling a bowl of spaghetti high with hemp seeds and/or nutritional yeast replace some of the texture, salt, and umami I miss from cheese.

Obviously, cashew pate situated on top of a zucchini slice is no real replacement for a deviled egg. Egg lovers certainly won’t be fooled, and the nutritional profile isn’t the same. But if we’re talking about cravings for the spirit of a dish—the flavor, the taste, the mouth feel—this dish might just fit the bill. It’s creamy and rich in fat. It’s salty and gently spiced. It has a contrast of textures. And, most importantly, it’s delicious, and worthy of sharing. I may have left out one kind of craving that a vegan might feel, which is a craving for the inclusiveness and shared experience that comes with eating a more conventional diet. The best way to address this craving is to create vegan food that will be savored by all. If my mom gives these little appetizers her ringing endorsement, then I guarantee you she won’t be the only one.

Happy holiday weekend, friends!


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Categories: Snacks, Vegan Basics
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, No Oil, Raw, Soy Free, Vegan

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  1. Thanks for this simple recipe. I usually crave protein at the strangest of times and I always reach out for some eggs. I think the cashew bit addresses the protein craving minus the cholesterol.

  2. I’ve found two local bars that serve amazing vegan grilled cheese and vegan pizza. While I try not to eat things like this often, it is so wonderful to me that I can go enjoy some great local beer, get a little tipsy and enjoy some familiar comfort foods with my omni friends, like a “regular” person. The best part is that the food is so good, my omni friends are more than happy to split it with me. It creates a warm little bubble in my life where being vegan isn’t polarizing, it just feels normal and connective.

    I’m really glad you addressed cravings, I think it’s something that trips a lot of vegans or would-be vegans up. I know sometimes I crave meat and eggs, but often I want something with fat and protein, or have let myself go too long without eating. Sometimes, I just want something really flavorful, in which case I create a dish with bold spices (like marinated tempeh) and that does the trick! I can’t picture sitting down and actually eating meat, but these cravings do occur and I allow myself to process them without feeling bad about it.

  3. I grew up Greek Orthodox so I too will be celebrating Easter in May (although I also celebrated the Catholic Easter). Does your Greek family embrace your vegan dishes? This version of deviled eggs looks fantastic to me and I wish that my Romanian family would try some of the food I eat. The Romanian version of deviled eggs involves a thick layer of mayo on top of the eggs (which already have mayo)…even as a kid that wasn’t appealing to me!

  4. This has “Hummus” and “Babaganoush” twist written all over it…I think I will make a few tests…

  5. What a beautiful post. It’s so interesting to talk about food memories – because honestly, I think that’s why I “crave” certain food, even when fresh veggies are most nourishing.

    Glad your mom likes the recipe – I can’t wait to try it out myself! 🙂

  6. Interesting take on the deviled egg – will definitely try. The colors alone make me feel good.

    “It’s worth noting, though, that the food one craves isn’t necessarily the very food one must eat in order to feel better.”

    I agree. The same with nicotine. You don’t need cigarettes to get your fix.

  7. This is truly a masterpiece.. I have to try this ASAP.. I grew up loving Deviled Eggs, and even though I don’t miss them, I can still appreciate the creativity in this recipe..

  8. Your presentation is spot on! I’m not a huge fan of deviled eggs but these sounds tasty.

    Great commentary on cravings!

  9. Great post Gena. The recipe looks amazing and I will definitely try it as I’m always looking for healthy, “non-carb” appies to bring to events. I actually made your guacamole on the sweet potato rounds for easter and they were a hit.
    I also like your discussion on the cravings issue. I think that each individual will need different amounts of fat, carbs, protein etc. and I agree that your body will tell you what you need through cravings. We just need to know how to listen to our body without turning to disordered eating.

  10. These look interesting… I still have to ease into loving squash 🙂 Hope you had a lovely Resurrection Sunday!

    The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” – Matthew 28:5-6

  11. thx for your thoughts on this topic! i crave chocolate a lot. I must have a chocolate deficiency. 🙂

  12. Omg, I just have to say that these are downright DELICIOUS! When I was still eating a paleo diet, deviled eggs were definitely a part of a holiday. You did an amazing job, and they are a dead ringer. I’m so glad I found this recipe, thank you!

  13. Well put! I’m kind of tired of reading all the ex-vegan rants out there (and I’m not even a vegan, but a 20-year vegetarian) supported by this “craving” pseudo-argument. (Again, not a vegan but) I think, the problem isn’t the vegan diet itself, but the way they implemented it in their own lives and the way they interpret their health issues or cravings. You put this all in such a thoughtful and gracious manner (while I just feel rant-y), so thank you!

    • Thank you very much, Sarah! As I said, I think it’s important not to minimize peoples’ feelings, or ignore what cravings might suggest about possible gaps in one’s diet. But I agree that in many narratives, it seems that it was a certain kind of approach to veganism, not veganism per se, that was problematic.

  14. it’s funny you wrote about cravings along with this example of a substitute for egg. i’m a vegetarian by definition, but i have been working very hard to transition to a complete vegan lifestyle. the ONE animal product i have left to cut out of my diet is EGG WHITES!! 🙁 i drink almond milk, i haven’t eaten any meat or seafood for a few years, and i stay away from all dairy products including cheese. i’ve even given up greek yogurt, and even though it was rough at first i have been successful at not eating any yogurt except when i come across soy yogurt.

    but i SERIOUSLY crave egg whites almost every day. you mentioned your childhood, and i think egg whites were a part of my childhood and i am just having a really hard time giving them up. it’s so embarrassing that i have caved into this craving a few times now since trying to give up this last remaining animal product. i have searched and searched for an egg substitute, but none of the stores in my area seem to carry an egg substitute. i don’t know what to do 🙁 maybe i’ll try to find an RD in my area, but i’m not sure if there are any within a reasonable driving distance. thanks for this post though, i really appreciate the encouragement to not give in to our cravings.

    • Hi SJ!
      I also had eggs be the last thing to go before switching to a full vegan diet, but I loved whole scrambled eggs with a bunch of veggies. Now I know it’s not the same thing, but you can make a “scramble” of sorts with just chickpea flour and water.

      Just 1/4 c. chickpea flour and 1/4-1/2 cup water mixed together and then scrambled in a pan like eggs is pretty good. You can add nooch, veggies, tumeric or whatever else you might have put in your eggs whites. Of course it doesn’t really taste the same, but it’s pretty close and helped me a bit. Plus, the possibilities are endless for flavors.

      • Thanks for the tip, Abby! This is an ingenious idea. I make chickpea crepes plenty, but had not thought of a scramble.

        • Not to hog the suggestion box here or anything, but I can’t have tofu either.

          What I’ve found is that if you use just equal parts chickpea flour and water again, but cook it on the stove for a couple minutes (stirring constantly) and then transfer it to a small container before putting it in the fridge for a couple of hours, you’re left with a faux tofu of sorts. I cube it and use it in stir-frys and rice bowls all the time. So easy and versatile, and kind of mimics tofu 😉

    • There is nothing embarassing about your craving, SJ. I craved Greek yogurt for a long time as a vegan, until I sort of forgot about it. These things take time; we’re all very habituated to certain foods, and it’s only sensible that we’d have a hard time transitioning.

      I hope Abby’s suggestion is good. Tofu scramble is also delicious, and mighty high protein, too!

  15. your thoughts on cravings and the emotional association are spot on! so wise 🙂 thanks for another good read!

  16. these sound like an awesome little treat! thanks for all you do Gena, you inspire me every day

  17. Cute “eggs”, Gena. I like your musings on cravings. It all goes into mindful eating. My cravings are usually chocolate-related and nachos. I find the nacho craving perplexing but I think it is more of a texture and salt issue, me thinks. I don’t eat a lot of crispy things and if I do, they are a poor imitator of nacho chips of yore. 😉

  18. This is really cool! I would have never thought about even trying to mimick deviled eggs with a vegan version. Actually maybe they should be called angeled eggs 🙂

  19. Your photography is beautiful because it’s so understatedly elegant. You don’t take a million photos of the same picture; you simply let a few of the best do the talking. Speaking of elegant, these canapés look like something you would get at a fancy French restaurant. I’ll have to try them! Also, I totally agree with you about cravings. Although I don’t ever crave animal foods, there is still some sort of nostalgia connected to the experiences with those foods for me. Whenever I have cravings, they’re usually always for either pistachios, bananas, or parsley. Weird, I know. 🙂

    • Oh lord, Elisabeth. I tend to think my photographer is super mediocre! Have you seen some of the stuff out there in the blogosphere? I’m a major amateur by comparison. But thank you for this wonderful comment — it made my day! 🙂

  20. So well said, lady! The craving for inclusiveness is the strong craving of all. Plus, these are so freakin’ cute! Love.

  21. I loved your spot-on narrative on the likely origin/meaning of cravings…I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said, esp. re. the not eating enough fat and/or carbs triggering all sorts of omni and other comfort food cravings (ie. daydreams re. triple cheese pizza!) that had I been properly fueling myself throughout the day, would hold no appeal.

    Enjoy your holiday weekend, Gena! 🙂

    • Isn’t it amazing how hunger and lack of nourishment can so easily throw us off kilter? I agree completely that proper nourishment is absolutely key to preventing these kinds of strong and persistent (and sometimes inexplicable!) cravings.

  22. “I may have left out one kind of craving that a vegan might feel, which is a craving for the inclusiveness and shared experience that comes with eating a more conventional diet.” This is very true. Just last night, feeling a little left out at a very heavy meat-eating dinner party, someone (who has a reputation for over-indulging in beef products and loaded fries) started raving about the veggie burgers I brought, which he had chosen to eat over the conventional offerings. It made me feel great 🙂

  23. I was talking about this issue just a few days ago with an omnivore who said they craved meat when trying out vegetarianism. My opinion is pretty much in line with yours. Cravings might well point to a lack of something in the diet, but these macro or micro nutrients are just as readily available in plant based foods as they are in animal products, it’s just about knowing what contains what, and often those new to a vegetarian/vegan diet don’t know how to eat a balanced diet. Likewise, cravings aren’t always associated with a deficiency but are often emotionally related- boredom, sadness etc. can trigger them and it doesn’t mean we should follow them all the time!
    I actually never liked eggs as an omnivore but I seem to like vegan variations on eggy dishes like tofu scramble, vegan quiche etc. so I’m going to give these deviled eggs a try all the same.
    Thanks for sharing your wise words as always Gena 🙂 Have a good Easter weekend.

  24. Craving is my worst enemy. I am not at peace with food especially fatty ones. Although, I do a lot of workouts every day I still have a hard time losing weight because of my cravings. I can’t resist it especially during midnight when I’m kind of sleep walking towards the fridge. I wish can control this and convert to vegan!

    • Julio,

      I made the switch to a plant-based diet 15 months ago. The first 60 days were really, REALLY tough, with family criticism and free lunches at work being a daily occurrence. Still, at the end of 30 days I felt phenomenal and by the end of 60 I had learned how to cook healthy foods which I really loved. After making my family some amazing vegan chili and cornbread, they realized I didn’t walk around eating carrots and lettuce 24/7.

      Perhaps you should check out Fat,Sick, and Nearly Dead or Forks Over Knives. Those are the documentaries which got me started.

      It gets easier with time and knowledge. Don’t give up on yourself.


    • Julio,

      In my experience, people who deny themselves fat end up craving it all the more (or they crave sugar, or carbs, or something else). I’d really recommend getting enough healthy fat in your diet — it can make a world of difference!


  25. The craving for inclusiveness…well said! Food is such a social thing and being vegan can feel lonely at times. Make something to be shared and also to show that vegan food is delicious!

  26. Very pretty! I have used hummus in place of the yolk when doing a lower fat deviled egg with egg white shell, which has a fairly close vibe to the yolk filling texture, flavor and color. It could be used here for something almost ready made, but I do love cashew cream as well and turmeric is a healthy addition. Thanks for your great posts.

  27. Your take on the cravings issue is phenomenally helpful. Sharing on Twitter and elsewhere. Thank you for these insights.

  28. Your creativity inspires me, Gena. This is such a lovely and health-promoting ode to deviled eggs and I also love your thoughts on cravings.

    • Thank you, Carrie! I was astonished at how much my mom loved these — so I hope you try them and enjoy them, too.