This meatless pasta is a great way to add variety to your meals! Instead of using cream and meat to season the pasta, I used cashew nuts, vegetables, and herbs as a creative way to enjoy a dairy-free, meatless dinner! Cashew nuts are already a soft nut, so they don’t need much time to soak. Simply through them in a bowl with water at breakfast, and they’ll be ready to go by dinner! To make this dish paleo and keto-friendly, use veggie noodles (zucchini, sweet potato, etc) instead of grain-based pasta!
I always get stuck in the same routine when it comes to cooking. I buy the same ingredients, cook in the same patterns, and so on. So once in a while, it’s fun to try something totally new! I was actually inspired to make this dish when my sister-in-law was staying with us. She’s a vegetarian and I wanted to make something that she could eat as well. But I also need protein to feel satisfied, so I knew a veggie and pasta dish alone wasn’t going to work. So, after lots of thinking, I decided to give this cashew cream a try and it was delicious! This dish will make you feel creative and healthy!
I am definitely a meat-eater. It gives me strength and energy and I crave less when I have meat. However, I do think it’s good to give the meat a break sometimes. This creamy cashew pasta is rich, filling, and packed with healthy vegetables!
Are Cashews Good for You?
Nuts and seeds in general are very good for you. They are an excellent source of protein, fat, and carbohydrates all rolled into one, and provide many important vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that nuts are dense in calories though, so if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s helpful to measure out a portion instead of just eating mindlessly from the bag or bowl.
Cashews are a type of nut that are best grown in warm, tropical climates. I once saw cashew trees while I lived in Cambodia and was blown away by how they grow. Big bulbs grow from the tree and then underneath this big bulb is the tiny cashew nut. These little nuts pack a powerful punch nutritionally. In just 1 ounce, cashews contain the following (not a comprehensive list):
- 5 grams of protein
- 12 grams of fat
- 67% of our daily value of copper
- 20% of our daily value of magnesium and manganese
Why is copper important for our health? Believe it or not, copper is not just essential for pennies! Copper is an essential trace mineral that is found everywhere in the body but especially in the heart, kidneys, liver, brain, and bone. Copper helps build red blood cells, a strong immune system, and a healthy brain. It also helps in maintaining nerve function and strong bones. Basically, copper is really important.
What about magnesium? Magnesium is a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and inflammation. Inflammation markers increase when we don’t get enough magnesium. It’s needed for the synthesis of DNA and the creation of strong bones, the production of energy, and for basic muscle contraction and relaxation. The list goes on and on though. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of processes in the body.
And lastly, manganese! Manganese is a trace mineral that helps build strong bones and reduce inflammation. It can be helpful in reducing blood sugar levels and provides the body with important antioxidants. While we only need a small amount of manganese, that small amount makes a big impact!
As you can see, cashews are a great addition to your diet. This pasta dish is a great way to utilize them, especially if you are sensitive to dairy!
Creamy Cashew Pasta
- 8 oz cashew nuts soaked (overnight or for at least a couple hours before)
- ¾ cup water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- ½ bunch asparagus chopped
- ½ bell pepper chopped
- 6 mushrooms chopped
- 10 cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ tsp basil
- ¼ tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup cashew cream
- 1¼ cup vegetable broth
- 2-3 zucchinis for veggie noodles
- Drain and rinse the cashews. Add them and the water to a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Mince the garlic and chop the onion and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- While stirring the onion and garlic occasionally, chop the asparagus, bell pepper, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes. Add them and the basil, thyme, and salt to the pan and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cashew cream and broth and mix all together. Simmer on low, stirring frequently.
- Spiralize 2-3 zucchinis.
- Add the zucchini noodles to the pasta sauce. Mix together and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the zucchini starts to tender slightly.
- Optional: serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese!
- Sun-dried tomatoes in oil are best for this dish.
- If not using zucchini noodles, use fettuccine or your favorite pasta