Heirloom Tomato Pasta with Garlic Basil Cashew Cream {vegan}

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This bright, garlicky tomato sauce is the perfect use for the dearth of ripe tomatoes in your garden and at the farmers market this summer. Great for a quick weeknight meal, this pasta also keeps it healthy and light, replacing heavy butter and cheese with lighter and more swimsuit friendly cashew cream. Whatever cashew cream you have leftover makes the perfect addition to your appetizer tray- just spread it over toasted slices of baguette and top with your favorite vegetables.

Cashew Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least one hour and at most overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • The zest from 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2-3 tablespoons mixed herbs (try basil, parsley, chives, thyme, whatever you like!)

Cashew Cream Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a high-speed blender, adding more water as needed, and scraping down the sides of the mixer and blending until you have a fluffy, creamy, smooth mixture. Season to taste, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.

Pasta & Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 box of your favorite pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • Roughly 4 large heirloom tomatoes (about the size of your fist), roughly chopped
  • 1 small handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Pasta & Sauce Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium size skillet, and add the  onions. Cook 6-8 minutes, until the onions soften and begin to turn golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and stir everything together. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes soften and a sauce begins to form. If you want a smoother sauce, at this point you can purée the mix in a blender and return to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and keep the sauce warm while you cook the pasta per package instructions.
  3. When the pasta is al dente, save 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, and add to the skillet with the sauce. Add 1/4 cup of the cashew cream, and toss everything together. If you need to thin the sauce a bit, add a splash of the pasta water as needed. Add more cashew cream if you’d like a thicker, creamier sauce. Serve the pasta in bowls topped with the fresh basil and more cashew cream on the side. Enjoy!

Note: To sneak in more healthy vegetables, add a few handfuls of fresh spinach to the sauce- the heat of the pasta will wilt it.

{Cashew cream Inspired by Kris Carr’s faux ricotta.}

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