Orange Spiced Cashew Cookies // The Spicy RD #vegan #glutenfree #healthy

These Cashew Cookies {gluten-free, vegan} are so delicious! Flavored with orange, cinnamon, and cardamom, they’re a healthy treat for the holidays!  Last year I was a Grinch and didn’t make you any Christmas cookies.  Not even any super easy, perfect for last-minute holiday cookie baking scrumptiously delicious Orange Spiced Cashew Cookies {Jam Optional}. Bah humbug to me!

Speaking of the Grinch, did any of my San Diego friends make it to this year’s production of The Grinch at The Old Globe?  If not, you should! What a fabulously mean and FUNNY Grinch!

Ok, ok…back to these fabulous cookies, which are not only super EASY to make, but also, you guessed it, on the healthier side of cookies, plus they’re gluten-free and vegan to boot. Oh, and if you’re looking for a grain-free option, why not try them with a little coconut flour and let me know how they turn out!

See how nice I’m being to you this year? 🙂

Orange Spiced Cashew Cookies // The Spicy RD

Do you suppose I’ll get my angel wings???

Inspired by another super delicious {and kind of good for you} Lemony -Walnut Cinnamon Cookie from Ricki Heller’s gorgeous allergy-friendly, gluten-free, vegan cookbook, Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free {hint, hint…this would be a perfect last-minute gift for one of the sweeties in your life}, these cookies are a mix of simple, wholesome ingredients including heart-healthy cashew nuts and flax meal, good for you spices and orange zest, plus a smidgen of brown rice flour and pure maple syrup for a subtle sweetness.

I love these cookies {and Ricki’s walnut lemon version}, plain and unadorned, with a mid-morning cup of coffee, or an afternoon cup of tea.

Just perfect.

But, for those of you who want to add a little adornment to your holiday cookies, sans sprinkles, and frosting, you might try adding a dollop of fruity preserves for some festive fun!

I made a batch with my favorite Jackie’s Jams preserves {a client of mine} which I love for their simple ingredients and lower sugar and calorie content than traditional preserves {8 g sugar and 35 calories vs. 12 g sugar and 50 calories per tablespoon}.

Oh, and they have some fabulous flavors to boot, including their special reserves Balsamic Fig, Plum Lavender, and Truffle Fig. Oh, boy, yum!

You can try wintery blood orange marmalade, or add a smidgen of summery goodness with triple berry or apricot preserves.

Jackies Jams // The Spicy RD

I wouldn’t recommend using the Zippy Jalapeno on top of the cookies, but just as an FYI wanted to let you know that goat cheese + crackers + Zippy Jalapeno makes a FABULOUS easy last-minute appetizer.

Who wants the recipe???

For the orange spiced cashew cookies that is…

Orange Spiced Cashew Cookies // The Spicy RD #vegan #glutenfree #healthy

Orange Spiced Cashew Cookies

These Cashew Cookies {gluten free, vegan} are so delicious! Flavored with orange, cinnamon, and cardamom, they're a healthy treat for the holidays! 
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 17 cookies


  • 2 cups raw cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour {or other gluten-free flour OR all-purpose flour}
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest, freshly grated
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • jam of choice for filling, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine all ingredients, except maple syrup in a food processor bowl, and mix the ingredients together until you have a fine meal.
  • Add the maple syrup to the dry mixture and process until the mixture is moist and starts to leave the sides of the processor bowl.
  • Divide dough in to 15 to 20 balls and place on cookie sheets. Press down each dough ball with the back of a moistened spoon {or use your fingers} until about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges, then remove from oven and allow to cool while still on baking sheet.
  • Enjoy as is, or top off cookies with a dollop of jam if desired.


These are vegan and gluten-free {when made with brown rice or other gluten-free flour} but feel free to experiment with all-purpose or whole wheat flour if not on a gluten-free diet.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 70mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Mediterranean, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword christmas cookies, thumbprint cookies
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Orange Spiced Cashew Cookie Ingredients
Orange Spiced Cookies #holidaycookies #holidaygift #homemade

Of course, you could eat these all yourself, but why not make an extra batch {or two} to give as a homemade holiday gift to your friends? 🙂 

And now with these cookies checked off my list, I am off to spend some time with my family and friends, so for those of you who celebrate, have a very Merry Christmas, and Happy Healthy Holidays to all!!!

Holiday Gift Wrap // The Spicy RD

P.S. I hope Santa leaves you something special under the tree 🙂

What are your favorite holiday cookies? Have you been doing lots of baking this year? How will you be spending the holidays this year? PS Have you been naughty, nice, or a little bit of both???