Creamy Cashew Basil Pasta
I've always LOVED creamy pastas.
But they've never quite loved me back.
Bloating and stomach ache's aside, I always felt a strange sense of guilt about indulging in them too. Something about the combination of the cream sauce, the white pasta noodles, and the complete lack of protein or vegetables had me feeling over-fed and under-nourished every time I opted for the alfredo.
Hence, my mission to find a healthy, protein-packed, plant-strong alternative.
This dish is creamy, vegan, gluten-free and packed with essential vitamins and nutrients to give your body exactly what its asking for to fight disease and function at its peak.
Not only that, but the fiber from the blended cashews, roasted vegetables, savory white beans and whole grain pasta noodles helps signal to your body when you've had enough to eat, and remind it to go hide the leftovers ASAP, Rocky.
Hope you fall in love with this creamy dream as much as our little family has!
Prep time: 30 miN
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 50 min
For Creamy Cashew Basil Sauce
1 cup raw cashews
1 Tbsp avocado oil
1/2 cup red onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cans coconut milk (or sub one can for 1.5 cups veggie broth for a leaner option)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
cracked pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbsp tapioca or all-purpose flour (optional)
1 lb. organic fusili pasta noodles (I used Trader Joe's Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusili)
vegetables for roasting: brussel sprouts, red onion wedges & broccolini
white kidney/cannelini beans
Soak the cashews in warm water for 30 minutes prior to starting the sauce.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in oil, onion, garlic and sea salt, and saute for 5-7 minutes.
Whisk in coconut milk and nutritional yeast, and drop the heat to low. Add in the chopped basil, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Drain the cashews, drop them into the saucepan and blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Add black pepper to taste (and more salt if needed). Assess the thickness of the sauce. If a thicker sauce is desired, mix 1-2 Tbsp of tapioca or all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cold water and whisk together well in a small bowl before pouring into the saucepan. Allow a few minutes for the flour to thicken up the sauce, stirring occasionally over a simmering heat.
For more disease-fighting & drool-worthy
meal ideas, check out my other plant-powered recipes here:
Cook the pasta as directed, pour the drained noodles into the saucepan and stir to combine. Garnish with chopped basil, and serve with roasted vegetables and cannelini beans for a balanced, protein-packed pasta dish.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. If the sauce becomes dry in the fridge, mix in a teaspoon or two of olive oil to liven' it up a bit.