Sometimes when you have a plant-based diet, all you want is a creamy, cheesy, rich pasta dish that tastes like something you had before you went plant-based. Well, have I got the recipe for you. I have a food processor that I love and use pretty much every day. As I’ve previously shared, I’ve used it to make cashew “cheese” sauce for vegan mac and cheese numerous times. Somehow, until recently, I never thought of using it to make pesto, AKA one of the most delicious foods in existence.
Food processors are so magic. You just stick a bunch of stuff in them and bam!
You have delicious pesto. Once it looked like this, I just kept tasting it and adding salt until it was just right. You could also add a bit more garlic, olive oil, or whatever component you think it might be lacking.
I used grape tomatoes and spinach with this, which was a great choice because it turned out so well. The tomatoes especially really add a fresh, tangy flavor to the strong, rich, garlicky flavor of the sauce.
The leftovers of this pasta reheat in the microwave really well. It’s a great meal to make a big batch of and eat for dinners for the week. I also think it would be really good for non-plant-based house guests if you were entertaining, because it is just so good and you can’t really tell at all that it’s free of animal products. Anyway, onto the recipe!
1 large clove of garlic
a big handful-sized bunch of fresh basil
1 c. raw unsalted cashews
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional, but adds a cheesier flavor)
1/2 c. olive oil (but I added slightly more until I found my desired consistency)
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 box pasta of your choice
whatever vegetables you like (I used grape tomatoes and spinach- yum!)
Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Add garlic, basil, cashews, nutritional yeast, and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until creamy, with fine crumbs. Add salt and pepper until it tastes amazing. Sauté tomatoes and spinach in a pan until the spinach shrinks. I didn’t use oil or anything. The tomatoes already have a lot of moisture. Next, mix the pasta, pesto, and vegetables in the biggest bowl you have and voila! You have yourself a quick and satisfying meal.
Love and pesto,