Sometimes I make something and I wonder why I rarely or never make it. This dinner was one of those situations. It was that good and that easy.
As I do every day, I ask my husband what he thinks would be good for dinner the following night. He mentioned to me that he had a craving for some sort of pasta with a cream sauce. I knew I didn't really want a heavy and rich cream sauce. Between the butter and heavy cream, I wasn't ready for a stomachache.
I had one of those light bulb moments. Yosef from This American Bite recently had me drooling over his cashew based Mac and Cheese dish. In the past, I have been successful with various cashew based dishes. Cashews somehow add a wonderful nutty creaminess to a dish and can mimic what dairy and cheese can do. What if I made this Alfredo like sauce out of cashews? I had plenty of leftover cashews from when I made the candied nuts the other day.
I am so glad that I remembered about the cashews. It was so easy to make and I think I may even like using them more than a dairy based cream sauce. The family couldn't even tell the difference that there was no cheese or cream in the dish. Will definitely be making this again.
Pasta and Veggies with Cashew Cream Sauce
1 cup cashews
1 pound pasta (I used medium shells), cooked to al dente (reserve 1 cup cooking water)
1 cup vegetable broth
5 cloves garlic
juice of one lemon
2 tsp. basil, dried
2 tsp. thyme, dried
2 tsp. oregano, dried
2 tsp. sage, dried
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup peas
red pepper flakes (optional)
additional salt and pepper to taste
Start out by soaking the cashews in a bowl of water. Let it soak for at least 4-5 hours. I left my bowl in the fridge while I went to work.
Rinse and drain the cashews.
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process the cashews with the vegetable broth, 3 cloves of the garlic, lemon juice and spices. Everything should be completely pureed.
Add in the sliced mushrooms and peas, and any other veggies you may like. Cook for another few minutes.
Turn the flame to medium and add in the cream sauce. Let the sauce warm for a couple of minutes.
Add in the cooked pasta. Slowly add in the reserved pasta water until you reach your desired consistency.
Serve and Enjoy!