Since we are going out of town this week for Christmas, we decided to celebrate as a family this evening. Of course, whenever you celebrate Christmas you NEED to have a Christmas meal too! Since we wouldn’t be having any ham, turkey, or anything else of that nature, I decided to cook us up a little “veganormous special.” What better to fill you up and keep you warm during Christmas than PASTA! Pasta is one of my favorite foods and now when I cook it I can eat like a fat kid and still fit into my suit the next day.
This is a pasta dish I came up with today and have never made before. Such is usually the case with my pasta dishes. I think about what flavors I am in the mood for, what ingredients might develop and complement those flavors, and I go for it. It can be scary this way because if you screw it up you have wasted a ton of ingredients and you look like a fool (I’m not a big fan of looking dumb). I wasn’t too worried about this version though, and luckily it passed the test with flying colors. Here’s the scoop.
SMOKY, SPICY, CREAMY, VEGAN PASTA (GLUTEN FREE TOO)
Here is a picture of all the ingredients. I was too lazy to take a picture of each item and I’m sure you are thanking me that you don’t have to look at all of them.
Here’s the list:
Two Roasted red Bell Peppers (bake them at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, take out the seeds, boom)
1 Large can of San Marzano tomatoes (Italian tomatoes that are amazing
1 cup of raw cashews (yep, you read right)
1 package of baby bella mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
1 package of Gluten-free Quinoa Spaghetti pasta
1 can of organic tomato paste
2 chile peppers in adobo sauce
himalayan sea salt
I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s really not near as bad as you think! Here is what you do:
Saute the olive oil, shallots, and garlic under medium heat until they start to break down.
Chop up the mushrooms and throw ‘em in.
Throw in a BUNCH of spinach. Spinach breaks down into a fraction of its original size so don’t hold back! This is what it starts to look like:
Now for the sauce.
In a blender (VITAMIX!) or food processor, throw in the tomatoes, red peppers, adobo chilies, and cashews. At this point you are probably wondering what is up with the cashews. Cashews are a Vegan’s secret weapon. If vegans were an army, the cashew would be their stealth bomber. Cashews are what givse this pasta the creamy texture and acts much like cheese would if you were using it in a typically fatty pasta dish. They blend perfectly into the sauce, add texture, and have great flavor that you would never expect. Blend all this up and it looks like this. The color is awesome! (did I really just say that??)
This sauce, even before it is combined with the other ingredients, is AMAZING. I thought about chugging a glass of it and pouring the rest all over my head like I just won the World Series, but then I came to my senses. It’s that good. After you blend it, toss it in the skillet with the other ingredients.
How clutch is that color?? I can’t get over it. Once the pasta is boiled (be careful with gluten-free pasta. . .its fragile like my emotions after a Red Sox loss), toss the sauce with the pasta and LET IT SIT FOR AT LEAST 5 MINUTES!!! This is important so don’t skip it! By letting it sit, the pasta marries with the noodles as they soak up the flavors and settle (its really quite domestic). THEN, plate your pasta, top with fresh basil, and go to town!!
There you have it. Fill UP without filling OUT! This recipe makes a bunch of food too so you can eat on it all week (and believe me, I will).
Give it a try and I hope you enjoy (I KNOW you will enjoy, but I’m being nice).
Comments and questions are appreciated as always.
GRANT on twitter @veganormous