This is a household favorite! It was inspired by this recipe, but has since diverged quite a bit. http://veganizzm.com/post/4409367066/creamy-vegan-fettucini-alfredo-with-zucchini-carrot
Raw cashews pureed makes a wonderfully creamy sauce, rich in protein! You have to try it to believe it. I don’t think the finished product tastes anything like cashews either.
One of my cooking techniques is to find a recipe that you like and then alter it for the seasons or depending on what you have in the house. This used to be really difficult for me, as I’m a rule follower and I had trouble getting creative in the kitchen. But, I’ve gotten much better at it with time. Generally, I try to make a recipe the first time as written so I can see where it started (except for decreasing salt – I often do that because you can’t make something less salty but you can always add salt later!). But after that, it’s fair game and I tweak a bunch sometimes. This is particularly true during our CSA season when we get a seasonal variety of local organic veggies. I started making this dish in the summertime, using zucchini and carrots as the veggies. I’ve continued making it in the fall, now using winter squash and carrots.
Tonight, I’m diverging more from the previous time, we’ll see how it works out!
Creamy Pasta Recipe
Veggies Ingredient Options, choose one of these or make up your own:
- OPTION 1: 3 medium carrots and 1 zucchini, in ribbons by using a peeler
- OPTION 2: 3 medium carrots and 1 small butternut squash, in ribbons by using a peeler
- OPTION 3: 3 medium carrots, sliced into thin circles and 1 medium acorn squash, cubed (what I’m doing today)
- 8 – 10 oz of whole grain pasta (angel hair or pasta of choice)
- juice of 1 a lemon (about 3-4 Tablespoons)
- 1/2 – 1 cup (or more) hot water
- 1.5 cup raw cashews (I buy the cashew pieces which are less expensive than whole)
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (super inexpensive at our local Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Handful of fresh basil (about 1/4 cup or more), thinly sliced
- Cook pasta
- Saute the veggies until soft, using a lid to help accelerate the process
- In a blender, puree lemon juice, water, cashews, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil. Add additional water as need to puree into a creamy sauce. [If you have the foresight, put all the ingredients in a blender ahead of time, allowing the cashews to soften up before pureeing.]
- Toss pasta, veggies, creamy sauce, and basil. Serve immediately.
Tonight’s Finished Product – Yummy! Option 3 worked just fine!
Chef’s Tips: Peeling and cutting squash sucks. I hate doing it. If I know the night before that I plan on making something with squash, I actually have my husband do it for me. (I know that’s lame!) But, today I was on my own, so I sucked it up and peeled and cut my acorn squash and didn’t cut off any of my fingers. Phew. The first cut is always the hardest. I cut the acorn squash in half by starting it a little bit with my 8″ chef knife and then using a rubber mallet to tap the knife down with fingers nowhere near the path of the knife. It is far less scary this way. Then I cut off the pointy ends of the squash with the same technique, such that each half now as two flat surfaces for more stable cutting! Scoop out the seeds and stringy gunk. Then, I “peel” the squash with the knife, definitely losing some edible squash in the process, but I rather not spend the time to get out each nook and cranny. At last, I cut each piece in half again, then cut into rings, and then cube. If you have a better way of cubing an acorn squash, please comment below!