Basil Cream Pasta (Shh! It’s Vegan!)
I’m learning a few things about vegan eating.
Number one. It’s nearly impossible to do over lunch at IKEA.
Number two. It’s not as hard to do over lunch at a pizzeria. Just make sure the guy taking your order knows that “no cheese” includes “no feta.”
Number three. Cashews are king. They can do cuh-razy things. Like turn into a divine whippy cheesecake. Like make a creamy scrump pasta sauce.
Here’s how it goes for this pasta sauce. Everything in it is stuff you have in your pantry. If not, get the stuff in your pantry. Raw cashews are the most unusual ingredient here, but you can nab a bag of those from the Whole Foods bulk bin aisle. I buy the “raw cashew pieces” because I’m cheap like that.
This sauce is super quick and easy to make. It comes out of your blender tasting like a mild pesto, with creamy undertones and tons of flavor. I made a second batch and served Ezekiel Pita triangles for dipping, which was a big hit over here. It was like eating at the Olive Garden. Without all the junky fats and oils. And def without the price tag. Gosh. I really am cheap, aren’t I?!
Let’s pretend like I am, because tomorrow, when I hit up Banana Republic for a sequined tank for next week’s rockin’ Girls Night Out, I want to believe I’ve saved enough money to purchase that crap out of that thang.
Vegan Basil Cream Pasta
13.5 ounces coconut milk
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
2 tablespoons crushed roasted garlic puree (I like the organic Earthbound Farms tube)
1 1.2 teaspoon salt
6 bunches of fresh basil (i.e. a really good, thick handful of fresh basil)
1 pound pasta, cooked
In an industrial-strength blender, puree the coconut milk, cashews, mustard, margarine, garlic puree, and salt until smooth and thick. Toss in the basil leaves and blend until very finely chopped and mixed together.
Pour the sauce over hot, fresh-cooked pasta. Stir to mix. Serve and enjoy!
NOTE: Don't have an industrial-strength blender like a Vita-Mix or Blendtec? Just cover your cashews with water, cover, then place in the fridge overnight. This will soften your cashews enough to puree in a less-than-stellar blender. Just drain and blend! Of course, if you're planned ahead enough, you can use this method with an industrial blender, as well!