Happy LOVE week everyone! The countdown to Valentine’s Day is on. Don’t you just love love? Friendship, romance, familial… all love should be celebrated. One of our favorite ways to show someone that we love them is by making them a cozy, nourishing dish with our own hands. Lingering over a homemade meal with good conversation and a wine glass in hand (obvi) pretty much sums up our perfect evening.
Our Valentine’s gift to you is a healthy and affordable meal that feels sophisticated enough for a celebration, but simple enough for a weeknight meal. Enter this chickpea pasta with easy cashew cream sauce. It’s packed with plant based protein and fiber, but free of dairy and gluten (if that’s your thing). Never did eating pasta make us feel so dang good.
The Best Sauce Ever
Even though cashew cream sauces have been around for a while, we learned to love it on our recent Whole30 challenge. Who knew that soaked cashews could be blended and transformed into this creamy goodness. It’s what dreams are actually made of. We used it to thicken soups, add creaminess to casseroles, and as a sauce for chicken and veggies. The possibilities are truly endless.
Our sauce is a mashup of some of our favorites already out there. We love that it is so easy and only requires things we have on hand You don’t have to soak the cashews for 4 billion hours. You don’t have to blend in cooked potato. It’s just a few simple ingredients that makes for a whole lot of flavor. We know you’ll fall in love like we did.
Chickpea pasta, you say?
While the star of the dish is the cashew cream sauce, the chickpea pasta deserves some real credit. You heard us right; pasta made from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Legume pastas are ultra trendy right now because they are a protein rich, gluten free alternative to standard pasta. When we say high in protein, we mean it! Banza, one of our favorite brands, has 25 grams per 3.5 oz serving! That’s as much protein as a 4 oz chicken breast. As a bonus, Banza pasta has 13 grams of gut-regulating fiber. That’s half of your recommended daily intake of fiber in one serving. Say what?!
Between the good source of fats from the cashews and the protein + fiber from the chickpea pasta, this meal will fill you up for hours. But don’t expect the standard post pasta como. The same ingredients that filled you up will also help stabilize your blood sugar. Folks, it just keeps getting better. Try it today!
Chickpea Pasta with Easy Cashew Cream Sauce
1 package chickpea linguine or spaghetti, cooked per package instructions
¾ cup raw cashews
½ tbsp olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
Basil to garnish
Soak cashews in 1 cup almost boiling water. Let sit for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients for the sauce.
Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 more minutes. You want it golden, but not brown.
Add the sauteed shallots to a blender or food processor. Pour the soaked cashews with their soaking liquid to the blender as well. Blend on high 1-2 times through until completely smooth. Add in the nutritional yeast, juice from ½ lemon, tapioca starch, and crushed red pepper. Blend everything together 1 more time. Salt and pepper to taste.
Note: If the sauce feels a thin for a cream sauce, wait a few minutes. The tapioca starch takes a few minutes to thicken. Add more if needed after that time. If it thickened a little too much, use a little leftover pasta water to thin.
To assemble, toss together the cooked pasta and about ¾ of the sauce. Add remaining sauce as needed. You might have a little leftover, which would be great served on protein like chicken or salmon, or over steamed asparagus.
Season to taste as needed. Serve the pasta with lots of fresh cracked pepper, red pepper flakes and fresh basil.
We are wishing you a Valentine’s Day filled with love and happiness! Oh and a big plate of pasta. That never hurts 😉
Kell & Kels