I recently purchased a high-speed blender and have been enjoying experimenting with vegan cashew cheeses! This recipe utilizes some leftover cashew cheese that I made previously for pizza, but also combines some vegan cream cheese for extra creaminess. The veggies in this dish can be mixed and matched to your desire. I used artichoke, shishito peppers, green bell pepper, and red onion, but I often also throw in some spinach or vegan bacon bits!
Vegan Cashew Cream Alfredo Recipe
Ingredients (Serves 2)
Vegan Alfredo Sauce:
- 0.25 cup raw cashews
- 0.5 cup water
- 1.5 tbsp + 1 tsp tapioca starch/tapioca flour
- 0.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 0.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 0.25 tsp salt
- 0.13 tsp garlic powder
- ~1oz vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti brand)
- ~0.25 cup red onion, diced
- ~0.25 cup green bell pepper, sliced then halved lengthwise
- 3 artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- Handful of shishito peppers, stems cut off and chopped in half
- 2 servings of dry pasta (I use penne)
- 1 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance brand)
- Handful of fresh basil for garnish, ripped up
- ~1 cup reserved pasta water
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
1. To make the cashew cheese, add the cashews to a small pot and with water. Bring to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes until they are softened.
2. Drain and rinse the cashews and add them along with the water, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, salt, and garlic powder to a blender (the vegan cream cheese will come in later). Blend until completely smooth.
3. Pour into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, and continually stir as it cooks. It will start forming clumps, and then it will become a gooey blob. This takes 5 minutes or less. This cheese can be used for any number of recipes, but for this pasta dish be sure not to overcook it as we will need to loosen it back up in the Alfredo sauce. (As I mentioned, I had this cheese leftover in my fridge. If I were to make this cheese fresh for this recipe, I might recommend taking it off the heat just before it becomes a blob!) Set aside.
4. Cook pasta according to package instructions, and remove from heat once al dente. Reserve about a cup of pasta water. Set aside.
5. While the pasta is cooking, add the butter, garlic, onion, artichoke, and bell pepper to a pan over medium high heat. Panfry for about 3–5 minutes.
6. Add the cashew cheese into the pan, pouring in about a tablespoon at a time of the reserved pasta water into the pan to break down the cheese blob. Continue to add pasta water and smoosh around the cashew cheese, it may take a decent amount of pasta water.
7. Add in the vegan cream cheese, continuing to use pasta water to combine everything into a smooth sauce. Keep the pan simmering and reducing.
8. Once sauce is to your desired thickness, turn off the heat and taste to adjust seasonings. More salt? Black pepper? Nutritional yeast? Add in the pasta and stir well to combine.
9. In a separate pan, heat ~1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil on high heat until it is nearly smoking. Add the shishito peppers, moving them constantly so that they don’t get too burnt. After about 3 minutes, remove from heat and sprinkle generously with salt.
10. Serve the pasta with the shishito peppers on top. Garnish with some fresh basil, and optionally, a drizzle of olive oil. You could even opt to add vegan bacon bits or herby panko bread crumbs to bring this dish to the next level. Enjoy!
The vegan cashew cheese was inspired by “Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella” from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. Thank you for sharing this recipe!