Cashews are such a versatile nut and can be a vegan substitute for almost any recipe that calls for cheese or cream. Whether sweet, cheesecake, ice cream, whipped cream, or savory, cheese, dipping sauces, and of course my absolute favorite, sun-dried tomato cream sauce. I love heavy pasta dishes, but I hate the way they make me feel after I finish eating. Who wants to feel like shit after eating? It’s just not worth it. This sauce is super easy to make and can be incorporated into any Italian dish that requires a tasty and zesty sauce. I’ve put it over zucchini noodles (zoodles as some like to call them), quinoa pasta, vegan ravioli, etc.
This particular time, I used Bonza, chickpea penne pasta. If you haven’t heard of Bonza before, it’s a brand of gluten free, vegan pasta. It’s made of chickpeas and is extremely high in protein, fiber, and has close to half of the carbs of regular wheat pasta. I’ve experimented with many gluten free pastas, but Banza chickpea penne pasta is by far the best. It has an amazing texture, taste, and doesn’t dry out or fall apart like other typical gluten free pasta (Even my non-vegan, foodie, pasta loving friend agrees, and that’s saying something). But, if you don’t have the chickpea pasta on hand, or if you can’t find it at your local grocery store, you can certainly use whatever you’d like. So here it goes…
Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Cream sauce
4 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon juiced
1 cup cashews (soaked for 3 hours or added to boiling water and boil for 10 min, strained)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 1/3 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or any other unflavored unsweetened plant based milk)
1 cup white onion chopped (sautéed until translucent)
1/3 tsp oregano (fresh or dried)
1/3 cup fresh basil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (I use braggs)
1 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp raw coconut sugar (you can also use agave, or any other unrefined sugar you have, although unnecessary)
Notes: You can either soak the raw cashews for 3 hours in cool water, and then strain, or you can add the raw cashews to boiling water, boil for 10 minutes then strain, I’ve done both and have not noticed any differences, especially if you have a good blender)
Note: You don’t have to use sugar, or nutritional yeast if you don’t have any, neither are necessary, just add a bit more of a creamy, cheese flavor
1. Soak raw cashews in cool water for approx. 3 hours (you can also add them to boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, strain, set aside)
2. Add chopped white onion to a sauté pan on medium heat, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sauté until translucent, set aside.
3. Add all ingredients into high powered blender, scraping the sides every minute making sure it’s blended thoroughly
4. Blend until thick and creamy
5. Spoon out into bowl, toss with pasta, veggies, protein source, or whatever else you’d like, to add a delicious, creamy, rich flavor, without the guilt! (and maybe the tummy ache)
Notes: I used Banza penne pasta, with sautéed button mushrooms and asparagus (chopped the mushrooms and asparagus and sautéed them in a pan over medium heat with about a tbsp of olive oil)
Notes: I also added shredded almond cheese, a lemon slice, Beyond Meat grilled “chicken” and a bit more crushed red pepper because I like it nice and spicy, feel free to get creative and add anything you’d like!
I hope everyone enjoys!