I recently decided to stick to a plant based diet. This has lead me to discover alternatives for my favourite recipes. This creamy vegan pesto pasta is the perfect way to remind yourself that meat products don’t have to be the center of attention in your meal. You can make yourself a comforting, satisfying and nutrients filled meal just by sticking to plant based products and some great spices.
Ingredients (2 servings):
1 cup of water
3/4 of unsalted cashews
5 garlic cloves
1/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk
3 tbs of nutritional yeast
1 cup of arugula
1/2 cup of fresh basil (+ 1 tbs for topping)
1 bunch of asparagus
1/2 pound of fusilli pasta (or pasta of your choice)
2 tbs of olive oil
2 tsp of pink salt (+ a pinch for topping)
2 tsp of chili flakes (+ a pinch for topping)
Preheat oven to 450F, cut off the stem and root end of 3 shallots and 3 garlic cloves, spread 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the shallots and garlic and put them in the oven for approx. 20 minutes.
Boil 1 cup of water and pour boiled water over your cashews. Let them soak for approx. 20 minutes.
Following the instructions on your pasta box, cook pasta until al dente and set aside.
Snap the ends off the asparagus (no need for a knife here, asparagus will naturally snap off right where you need them to). Cut the asparagus into bite size pieces (about 3 cuts horizontally).
Mince the two remaining uncooked garlic cloves and slice the two remaining shallots. In a pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is heated up, add the shallots and garlic. Let them cook down for approx. 5 minutes, add a pinch of pink salt and chili flakes (to your liking).
Toss in the cut up asparagus and continue to cook for another 5 to 8 minutes (until the asparagus is bright green but still has a crunch to them). Set aside.
In a blender combine shallots and garlic from the over with skin removed, the ¾ cup of soaked and drained cashews, 1/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk, half a squeezed lemon, 1 teaspoon of pink salt (continue to salt the sauce as needed after tasting), 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, the arugula and the basil. Blend on high until you reach a smooth, alfredo-like sauce consistency. If you find the sauce is too thick, you can add a couple tablespoons of water until you reach your desired consistency.
In a large pot on low-medium heat, combine asparagus, pasta and pasta sauce. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated and heated up.
Serve with desired toppings: I always like adding a pinch of pink salt, chili flakes, fresh chopped basil and a pinch of nutritional yeast.