Who needs dairy-laden pasta when you can make your own creamy yet healthy vegan pasta dish made with cashews? Melisser Elliot, award-winning author of The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life (Skyhorse Publishing, November 2010), shares this simple vegan dinner recipe that is vegan comfort food at its delicious best. Elliot, who is founder of Sugar Beat Sweets bakery in San Francisco, California and founder of The Urban Housewife blog, suggests substituting broccoli for the asparagus when asparagus isn’t in season. This healthy vegan recipe is also a winning dish when inviting non-vegans to dinner.
Pasta with Asparagus in Lemon Cream Sauce
- 1 pound pasta noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 pound asparagus stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 cup raw cashews
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
- In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and red pepper. Add asparagus and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Saute asparagus until crisp but tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on thickness of stalks.
- Meanwhile, puree cashews in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. Add lemon zest, black pepper, and remaining salt, and blend together.
- Add water and lemon juice in a steady stream to cashew mixture with food processor running; the sauce will be thin.
- Add pasta to skillet, toss to combine, and remove from heat. Stir in cream sauce to coat. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.