Summer may not have officially started yet, but it sure felt like it this week. It was so delightfully warm on Wednesday night that Matt and I decided to take our date-night-in outside to the balcony. What a fabulous date night it was; complete with rose wine, a warm breeze, and the easiest and most delicious Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce over pasta (that just happens to be vegan).
If you read about last week’s culinary adventure, you’d remember it was all about vegan-friendly cashew cream. I made my very first batch ever, and needed just a smidge of it for the fab Vegan Vodka Sauce I was making. The sauce was particularly yummy paired with my Eggplant and White Bean Veggie Balls. But using just 1/4 cup of the cashew cream in the vodka sauce meant that I had more than a cup leftover. Not to worry. I froze the remainder until I was ready for it again.
I was eager to try another recipe using my new star ingredient asap, so I decided on a vegan version of a creamy roasted red pepper sauce. Traditional Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is as quick and easy as it gets. Simply blend roasted red peppers, homemade or jarred, with heavy cream and broth. Yum. So then I thought, why not use this delicious cashew cream instead of the real cream and broth to make a vegan version? So I did. And it worked beautifully.
My vegan Roasted Red Pepper combines sweet and tangy roasted red peppers, garlic and cashew cream to create a luscious and flavorful sauce, without any guilt. I roasted my own peppers because it’s incredibly simple. But jarred roasted peppers work too. Just be sure to read the ingredient list to make sure there’s nothing funky going on. As for the cashew cream, I’ve never heard of pre-made cashew cream but it probably exists. My advice is to make your own and freeze what you don’t use right away (my recipe for cashew cream is at the bottom of the post). After seeing how well it holds up to freezing, I’ll make a double batch next time. Once you have the peppers and the cashew cream ready to go, this sauce comes together in less than 10 minutes.
This was the perfect recipe for this week. Between a particularly busy time at work, getting ready for a long weekend at the beach, and fitting in some yoga and running, I feel like I had so much to cram into these last 4 days. Thankfully, I was able to get a healthy lunch, a date night dinner and a blog post out of this sauce. Seriously, in the time it took to boil water and cook up some all-natural whole wheat spaghetti, I was able to whip up this tasty sauce.
Anyway, I made it through the 4-day work week and now I’m on to a four day weekend. What a great way to kick off the summer! I’ll be heading to Block Island, Rhode Island with Matt’s family and couldn’t be more excited.
I hope everyone has an amazing weekend full of sunshine, good food and good company!
Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Sauce & Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 20 minutes
8-12 ounces Whole Wheat Spaghetti (I used Whole Foods 365 brand)*
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup roughly chopped Roasted Red Peppers (jarred or homemade), see my recipe below**
1 tablespoon Roasted Pepper Liquid
1 cup Cashew Cream***
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 tablespoons reserved pasta cooking water (or regular water if not cooking pasta)
1-2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (optional)
Boil a large pot of water for pasta. When water comes to a boil, add 2 teaspoons sea salt and pasta. Cook according to package instructions, about 10 minutes.
While water boils and pasta cooks, make the sauce. Chop garlic and peppers. Heat oil and garlic over medium heat in a medium-large skillet. When garlic begins to sizzle, cook for a minute. Then add chopped peppers, a tablespoon or two of roasted pepper liquid and two tablespoons of water. Cook until heated through, 3-5 minutes.
In a food processor, combine cashew cream, red pepper mixture, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons pasta water, or more depending on desired consistency. Process until combined. Serve sauce over spaghetti. Garnish with nutritional yeast if desired.
*read the label! Whole wheat pasta should have one ingredients “100% duram wheat flour”. Also, I say 8-12 ounces of pasta because it’s technically 2 ounces per serving, but I think 3 ounces per serving is more realistic.
**Roasted Red Peppers Recipe
I needed 4 medium size peppers for this sauce. Place them under the broiler, turning every so often, until most of the skin is charred and black. This step can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on broiler.
Allow to cool. Peel off blackened skin (it’s ok if there’s some charred residue). I try to keep as much of the juice as possible. Remove seeds and stem. Use in any recipe that calls for roasted red peppers.
***Cashew Cream Recipe
1.5 cups raw, unsalted Cashews
1 1/4 cups water (more or less)*
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice (or half of a large lemon)
3/4 teaspoon salt (more or less)
Soak raw cashews in a bowl of filtered water for 1-4 hours. Add soaked cashews to a food processor or high powered blender. Add water salt and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.
I used a food processor and it took longer than I expected. I had to stop and hand stir/scrape the bowl a couple times. When in doubt, just keep blending.
(start with 3/4 cup water and add more as needed)