Pre-Vegan, my favorite meal was Rigatoni Vodka. Whenever we went to an Italian restaurant this is what I always ordered. I would try to order something different but I just couldn’t because I loved it so much. Rich and creamy with a bit of kick from the red pepper flakes and vodka. Its the perfect comfort food and I’ve missed eating it oh so much.
I’ve made it myself a few times and it’s always been just ok. The creaminess was never up to the creamy standards I was used to in this dish. While making a cashew cheese, at home, the other day I added too much water and made this beautiful cream and I instantly thought of using it in a pasta recipe. Rigatoni Vodka was the first dish I though of. Vodka isn’t an ingredient I usually keep on hand but luckily it’s something my parents do and I was able to borrow/steal some from their freezer downstairs!
This recipe was a big hit with my family. My daughter came into the kitchen and said how amazing it smelled. I was surprised she actually tried it and was so happy that she actually liked it. My son wouldn’t try it but I mixed a bit into his pasta anyway and put a few dabs of vegan butter on his to trick him. He ate it all up!
A rich and creamy tomato sauce that takes me back to my pre-vegan days ordering take out from the Italian place in my neighborhood.
This recipe makes a large amount of pasta. 1 1/2 pounds! We are big on leftovers in our house for work and or school lunches.
- 1 1/2 pounds of Rigitoni Pasta, cooked according to box directions
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, small diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use more for more spice!)
- 1 28oz unsalted crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup vodka
- 1 cup cashews (see notes)
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cups basil, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onions and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 5-7 more minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Carefully pour in the can of crushed plum tomatoes and vodka and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or more.
- In a high speed blender, blend the cashews and water into a cream.
- Pour into the tomato sauce, adding the sliced basil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 5 minutes.
- Mixed into cooked rigatoni and serve immediately.
- The amounts given for the cashew cream makes a lot. It creates a very thick, rich and creamy sauce. Feel free to use 1/2 a cup of cashews and 1/2 a cup of water for the cream for a slightly less rich and creamy sauce. It will still be delicious while saving on fat and calories!
good good things http://good-good-things.com/
Spinach Basil Pesto
Pesto is one of the only green in color foods I can get my kids to eat. So I especially like to hide a leafy green veggie in it! I’ll use anything from Arugula to Mizuna to a touch of baby Kale and Spinach. They have no clue. They love it and ask for it all the time. I typically make it once a week so we have it for pasta one night and on a homemade pizza another night.
Rolled out dough, topped with halved cherry tomatoes and baked. We then throw on some raw cashew cheese on top as soon as it comes out of the oven. Its great.
Pesto and Roasted Vegetable Sandwich
I personally like to to save some for Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches. I could eat these sandwiches all summer long.
There is also sometimes pesto eating before a pesto dinner. I get hungry while I’m cooking.
I generally always made our pesto in a food processor but, sadly, part of it broke and I still haven’t ordered the replacement part. All of our pesto is now made in our Vita Mix. The processor makes it chunky, which I prefer. The Vita Mix makes the pesto smooth, which is also ok. It just depends on what you like or which appliance is working and which isn’t!
Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts. I’ve given up on pine nuts since having a good ol’ case of pine mouth a few years back. It was terrible. My mouth tasted like metal for days. Right not my favorite nuts and seeds to use are: almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Seeds being my favorite since I like to keep my daughters school lunches nut free. Feel free to experiment with any nut or seed you like.
What’s also traditional in pesto which is a concern for vegans or those that are just dairy free is cheese. I found the best way to replace the cheese in this recipe was to use miso paste! We think it’s a perfect substitution and it’s quite healthy for you also. A good Mellow Miso is easy to find in well stocked supermarkets.
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups basil
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 2 1/2 tablespoons mellow miso paste
- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, may need more
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (optional)
- salt to taste
- Add all ingredients and blend until combined. Salt to taste. If it's thicker then you would like then drizzle in some more olive oil.
- Pulse seeds and garlic until finely chopped. Add basil, spinach, mellow miso paste, agave syrup and blend. While the machine is running slowly pour in the oil. Blend until combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Season to taste with salt.
- Experiment! Try different nuts and seeds! Try different leafy greens but always use basil! Enjoy!
good good things http://good-good-things.com/
Mediterranean Pesto Seitan Wrap
Cashews are hands down one of my top 5 favorite foods. Not just favorite nut but favorite FOOD’S! I love eating them raw, roasted and salted. I add them to stuffings, chili’s and stir-frys. Forget tofu ricotta I make cashew ricotta. My favorite morning cereal is a store bought granola with cashews in it. The big container of mixed nuts we buy is all out of cashews long before we reached the halfway mark of the container to the annoyance of many. I’m surprised I don’t make my own or even buy already made cashew milk. I might have to try that!
Whenever I feel a meal needs a creamy condiment I whip up a fast Cashew Cream. Since I use a Vita Mix I don’t need to soak my cashews first so this is often a last minute type of thing for me. The table is usually set with the dinner on it and by the time I get the other 3 people in my family at the table and ready to eat I can hop back into the kitchen and have this ready in less then 1 minute.
Seared Mushroom, Black Bean and Rice Burrito w. Cashew Cream
I use this Cashew Cream on wraps, sandwiches, soups, stews and chili’s. I even make a batch of it the night before we leave for our annual summer beach vacation to use while in our rented beach house. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Simple Cashew Cream
makes about 1 1/4 cups
1 cup raw cashews
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Add all of the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add more water a teaspoon at a time if needed.
Chocolate Coconut Pudding
I mentioned a month ago how my darling husband gifted me with a machete for my birthday. Just so I can open young coconuts for him and the kids. How sweet of him to be thinking of me. The whole machete thing has been working out though. Once every week or two he takes it out of the closet and hands it to me to open our latest coconut that the kids begged me to buy at Whole Foods. The thing cuts through coconuts like a dream. Drinking the coconut water from an actual coconut instead of the tetra packs of them is 10x better tasting. My problem has been what to do with the young coconut meat that is left inside. I don’t like it as is. It has to be turned into something and my first though was why not a pudding? We love pudding and most of the time I made a chocolate coconut pudding out of canned coconut milk so why not use this fresh coconut meat? I set out one night to make it and it was perfect. The second time I made it it was perfect again. The kids get so excited now at the though of this Almost Raw Chocolate Coconut Pudding. Here is our recipe!
Almost Raw Chocolate Coconut Pudding
1 cup fresh young coconut meat
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
coconut water to blend. I start with 1/4 cup.
pinch of sea salt
Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressing it against the pudding so it doesn’t create a skin on top. Place in the fridge for a few hours or over night until thoroughly chilled. Serve and enjoy.
Supreme Rice and Beans
We eat Rice and Beans at least once a week. It gets very boring so I went a little fancy the last time I made them. I seared some sliced mushrooms in oil w. pepper and salt. Made a quick Guacamole. Then blended up a cashew cream in the Vita Mix. My husband and I only want to eat Rice and Beans like this now. The mushrooms are really what put it over the top!
Mirin Glazed Tempeh w. String Beans and Peanut Sauce
A recipe in progress. The Mirin Glazed Tempeh was amazing. My 20 month old son and I couldn’t stop eating it straight from the pan.
Kung Pao Tofu
Another recipe in progress. I’m not quite sure whats missing but I’ll figure it out soon. :)