Vegan Cashew Cream

August 14, 2011 at 9:00 am 2 comments

My family is both intrigued and appalled by vegetarian/vegan cooking. On the one hand, they understand the health claims, but at the same time my dad rejects the idea that life without meat can be truly healthy. He always thinks that my iron levels will fall off the charts without red meat, until I point out that beans and leafy greens contain iron also. My mom is more on board and has begun incorporating meatless meals into her weekly repertoire, but my dad has yet to get over the hurdle. While he always clears one two plates of my cooking, he calls it rabbit food, even when I cook him chicken on the side! For my vegan meal during my last week home, I decided to be a little tricky: I simply wouldn’t tell him that it was vegan and see if he even noticed!

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All went as planned. He made his daily phone call as he was leaving the office: “How was your day? Anything in the mail? What’s for dinner?” I smiled connivingly and answered sweetly through the phone, “pasta with mushrooms and alfredo sauce!” He was pretty excited that certainly no food fit for a rabbit would be found at dinner and continued his commute home.

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Meanwhile, I soaked cashews for an hour in boiling water. Then I drained them, added them to a food processor, added a bit of fresh water, and pureed them. I sautéed some mushrooms in olive oil and garlic, and then added a bit of my cashew cream. Then I seasoned it with salt and pepper until I was satisfied, and topped it off with my secret weapon: nutmeg. I mixed in some whole wheat linguine and made some green beans to accompany it as a side, and set the table as my dad arrived home from work.

My mom was in on the secret, but loved every bite even knowing what it was made of! We watched as my dad took his first bite, and then continued without note through the rest of his plate. As he asked for a second plate, he wondered, “What’s in the sauce? It’s… different.” Uh oh! The jig is up! He loved the flavor, but the cashew bits clued him in that this wasn’t any old alfredo sauce. I finally let him in on the secret, but it didn’t change how he felt about the dish! The flavor of a usual cream sauce came through with none of the cholesterol of the heavy classic. Maybe next time I’ll blend the sauce for longer and he would really have no clue!

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Pasta with Mushrooms in a Vegan Cream Sauce

Sauce inspired from recipes at Daily Garnish and Mom’s Vegan Kitchen

4.5 oz raw cashews

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2/3 box whole wheat linguine, cooked according to package

Boil water in a tea kettle. Pour over the cashews in a glass bowl until they are just covered. Set aside and allow to soak for about an hour. Drain and rinse the cashews. Add to a food processor with a few tablespoons of water. Blend until a smooth sauce is formed, adding more water if necessary for a creamier consistency.

In a pan, sautee garlic in olive oil until it is aromatic. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are tender. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water if they look dry. Add the cashew cream (should be approximately one cup) and allow to heat through. The sauce will begin to take on a creamier consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix with cooked linguine. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg and serve.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide  |  August 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    This may be vegetarian, but it’s not deprivation in any way, for the doubters. Great recipe.

    Reply
  • 2. Green Goddess « homemadeadventure  |  August 16, 2011 at 8:53 am

    […] they are low-fat, vegan, gluten-free… you name it! I had some leftover cashew cream from my pasta sauce, and decided to try my own hand at it! It is a little more inspired by the flavors in pesto than in […]

    Reply

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