Okay–so I am clearly not opposed to dairy products, but I do use almond milk for most “milk” purposes, save for in my lattes. (Have you ever tried to steam almond milk? It’s pretty disgusting and comes out like a weird dairy-like sponge…) Anyway, I received the Oh She Glows cookbook a couple of months back as a gift and was intrigued by a few of the recipes, which offered up some interesting, healthier alternatives for meals that didn’t seem too offensive.
Since I pretty much cut out pasta from my regular diet over the last year (I’ll still eat it on a night out, or make it at home maybe once a month), I was curious to try this recipe first to see how it would measure up as a guilt-free option. The main substitute is using blended cashews in place of cream or butter to get a really satisfying, creamy finish that’s similar to a “rose” sauce. Don’t get me wrong – this won’t blow you away à la a Batali or Jamie Oliver pasta dish, but it is very tasty and is a great sub if you’re in the mood for pasta (with leftovers!) and want to avoid using cups full of butter, oil and cream. Plus, I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it to guests for a casual lunch or dinner.
Oh She Glows Tomato Basil Pasta
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk
255g uncooked pasta (I used gluten-free brown rice fusilli)
1 teaspoon olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes (I used whole, canned plum tomatoes, just “squished” into the pan)
3 handfuls spinach
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt + pepper
Place the cashews in a small jar or bowl, cover with water and let sit for at least two hours or overnight. Drain, rinse, and combine with almond milk. Blend until smooth and thick. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cool pasta al dente, according to package instructions.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for five to ten minutes until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes (do not use the liquid if using canned) and spinach and cook for ten more minutes over medium-high heat, until spinach has wilted. Stir in cashew cream, basil, tomato paste, oregano and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for five to ten more minutes until heated through.
Add cooked pasta to the pan and stir until well combined with sauce. Serve with fresh basil (and shredded parm if you’re not vegan…!) Enjoy!