Vegan Vanilla Cashew Shake

A creamy, protein-rich smoothie that tastes like a vanilla milkshake!

Total Time: 5 minutes

I feel like I just gorged myself on a vanilla milkshake. Except I don’t feel gross about it. Because what I drank tasted just like a vanilla milkshake, but really, it was just a creamy dreamy smoothie. One with right around 12 grams of natural plant-based proteins – no protein powder, no problem.

Vegan Vanilla Cashew Shake - More than 10 grams of plant-based protein (no powders!), and tastes just like a vanilla milkshake!

Please allow me to digress with a little shake vs. smoothie talk for a moment.

For awhile, I was putting ice cubes into my shake/smoothie recipes and calling them smoothies. Then I realized that smoothies don’t usually contain ice, but shakes do. Except milkshakes don’t. So basically, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t know the difference between a smoothie and a shake.

What I do know is that this Vegan Vanilla Cashew Shake tastes like a freakin’ vanilla milkshake! Oh wait – I already said that. Sorry. I’m excited.

Vegan Vanilla Cashew Shake - More than 10 grams of plant-based protein (no powders!), and tastes just like a vanilla milkshake!

All summer long, I’ve been going crazy for this Tastes Like Ice Cream Kale Shake from The Blender Girl. The. Best. Green smoothie. EVER. I was convinced I would forever prefer the more-neutral spinach in my green smoothies until this one came along.

I love my kale smoothies, but this time, I felt like something a little different. Plus, I was fresh out of kale. So I came up with this new version, using some of the genius ingredients/methods found in The Blender Girl’s kale shake recipe:

  • Genius idea #1: Raw cashews (no need to soak!) together with some water, blended right into smoothies and shakes, add an incredibly creamy element. No dairy needed.
  • Genius tip #2: Yes – it has a banana. But it doesn’t need to be frozen! Which is kind of unusual! And in fact, it shouldn’t even be super ripe as in with many smoothies, because you don’t want the banana flavor to take over.
  • Genius tip #3: A pinch of salt. Why didn’t I think of that?!

So yeah. A healthy, plant-based shake that pretty much tastes like a vanilla milkshake that you’d get from the best burger place in town. That’s a win right there. The fact that it’s full of satisfying protein is the (proverbial) cherry on top.

Vegan Vanilla Cashew Shake - More than 10 grams of plant-based protein (no powders!), and tastes just like a vanilla milkshake!

I should have totally put a cherry on top for these photos. Let’s just pretend it’s there.

(Yay faux milkshakes!)

Vegan Vanilla Cashew Shake

Yield: 1 shake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

A creamy, protein-rich smoothie that tastes like a vanilla milkshake!


  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup ice cubes (about 5-6 large cubes)


Place all ingredients in the pitcher of a high-powered blender (I recently got a Vitamix and haven't looked back - totally worth the investment). Blend on low until all ingredients are fairly well incorporated, then blend on high until completely pureed, about 30 seconds. Pour into a glass and serve with a straw.
* The chia seeds are optional, but the protein will be reduced if you leave them out. To up the protein factor, you may want to add some hemp hearts or flaxseed meal to the mix too, though they do change the taste ever so slightly.
Adapted from The Blender Girl

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

21 Responses to “Vegan Vanilla Cashew Shake”

  1. I don’t know the difference between a shake and a smoothie either – all I know is they are gooood!  Love the cashews and banana – this is probably just like a milk shake. Aka the perfect breakfast!

  2. Absolutely delicious looking! I want a taste now! I think it might taste Superb when i make and drink it 🙂

    Thanks !

  3. Shake vs Smoothie. I don’t know! Sometimes I leave my smoothie in the fridge overnight and have to shake it all back together a little. Does that mean that by that action I changed it from a smoothie to a shake! So confused…
    Despite my confusion over terminology in that case, I can see that there is a perfect word for this recipe: delicious! I can’t wait to try it out. A healthy, ice cream tasting treat! Without the icky feeling of too much sugar and bad fats afterwards? Sign me up! 

  4. Why should you feel gross when drinking a milkshake? Why should one feel gross at all, when eating? “Food guilt” is something that comes up everywhere these days. I feel guilty sometimes too, but I wish I didn’t.
    But my comments aside; I really like your recipe. I usually make a protein shake after training, but I would like to try substituting the protein powder with cashews.

  5. I think that a shake has to have ice cream in it. If it doesn’t have ice cream then it isn’t a shake, it’s a smoothie. Maybe that helps. This looks great and I loooove me some cashews. I will likely give this a go!

  6. This is the ultimate vegan dessert. I’m drinking it now and I might faint. THANK YOU!

  7. did you happen to calculate the protein in this drink? It was really good! I like to figure out how much protein I am getting. thx!

  8. This was so, so good!! First smoothie I ever made that tasted and looked as good as the picture. Thank you! xx

  9. Ahmazing. This didn’t taste like cashews, bananas, or the unflavoured pea protein powder I slipped in (have you ever tried that? it’s not so much unflavoured as ‘without a pleasant flavour’), but just like the greatest thing. Cool!

  10. This milkshake looks so creamy and amazing! I need to try this with a cherry on top! 🙂 Deelish!

  11. Any recommendations to make this banana free?

  12. I love this and it is so good,

  13. Absolutely love this recipe! Looks so delicious. Just made a cashew date smoothie the other day and it is the creamiest thing in the world. Non-vegans could never tell it’s dairy-free.
    Gotta try this one asap 🙂 

  14. Wow-this is delicious! I didn’t have any cashews, but had cashew milk (used 1 cup). So creamy! Perfect breakfast 🙂 Thank you!

  15. This is flippin delicious. 

  16. Wow this is so good! I’ve tried a lot of different protein shakes and think they’re all disgusting so I was searching for something I could make myself. This really is as good as you describe! I’ve made it 5 times already. I use a frozen banana and no ice then add 1 tbsp peanut butter to add 4g protein. Now I keep cashews soaking in my fridge at all times so I can make this anytime! I have a cheap blender so soaking really helps. Thanks for the great recipe!

  17. Yum! Subbed with macadamias because I was out of cashews. Nice, creamy, and refreshing. 

  18. Love this! I just started putting raw cashews into my smoothies and they add such an awesome creamy element! I’ve been doing green smoothies, but I needed a little break today from drinking my spinach. This little gem fits the bill perfectly! Also love the addition of chia seeds 🙂 

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