Before we do anything else, can I just say that I love pasta? And garlic? And zucchini?
Phew! Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, we can move on to more serious topics.
A little over a year ago, I posted a recipe for vegan alfredo sauce. It was delightfully delicious, but a little rich. The more I made the alfredo, the richer it seemed (which isn’t always a bad thing). Anyhoo, I decided that the ol’ alfredo sauce needed a little makeover–a lightening up of ingredients with a twist. So I got to work in my tiny kitchen, and this is what happened.
This picture doesn’t do the dish justice, by the way. You know how when you’re taking pictures of your food and the time slips by? Next thing you know, your photography subject is dried out and cold? (Okay, so maybe you didn’t know that, but just play along with me.) Anyway, that’s what happened. In other words, even if this picture looks a little goopy to you, you’re just going to have to trust me that it tastes all smooth and garlicky and amazing, especially when you serve it hot off of the stove.
Annnddd. I’m drawing a blank, you guys.
I’m not gonna lie–caring for a 2-year-old and a 3-month-old all day is exhausting (but amazing) work. You know that thing called “mommy brain”? It’s a true story. I’m not sure what it is about taking care of babies (hello, sleep deprivation!), but it messes with your mind after awhile, and all you want to do is sleep and eat pasta. Every night around 10 pm, I turn into a pumpkin. And, since it’s already 10:45, I’m going to have to hit the sack, people. My brain checked out long ago.
- ½ pound pasta (I used penne.)
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup coconut milk (full fat, not lite)
- ¾ cup hot salted pasta water (divided, plus more, if needed)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt (plus more for salting your pasta water and sprinkling over veggies, or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8-10 ounces fresh zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced)
- ½ onion, thinly sliced (about ⅔ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed and minced)
- ¼ cup green peas (I used frozen variety)
- 1 cup (packed) kale or spinach leaves
- Chopped basil or parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions in heavily salted boiling water. Save about 1 cup of pasta water, and set aside. Then drain pasta, and set cooked pasta aside too.
- In a high-speed blender, place cashews, coconut milk, ¾ cup pasta water, yeast flakes, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt. Blend on high until smooth.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add zucchini and onion. Toss veggies occasionally to keep them from burning, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. If you're using kale, go ahead and add that now as well. (If you're using spinach, wait until later.)
- Once veggies are barely fork tender (should take only a few minutes of cooking), add garlic and green peas to your skillet, and cook for another 30-60 seconds.
- Pour pasta and blender contents over the veggies in your skillet, and stir to combine. If you're using spinach rather than kale, go ahead and add that in now as well. Allow mixture to cook for another 30 seconds or so--just until everything is hot and bubbly looking. Your cashew cream will thicken up pretty quickly, and you'll want to remove it from heat as soon as it does. If you cashew cream is too thick and is starting to look goopy (??), go ahead and toss in the extra ¼ cup of pasta water that you saved.
- Garnish with fresh chopped basil or parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (King James Version)