Tangy. Savory. Spicy. Sweet. Man. Oh. Man.
This pesto is insane - all you need is a blender and a few minutes and you're on your way to a super impressive plant-based pesto pasta dinner. Actually, I don't know if you can call this a pesto, I'm not going to google what constitutes one so, please, don't call the pesto police on me. Anyway, this, ahem, SAUCE is one for the books...and by books I mean blog.
I've heard a lot of talk about bean-based creamy sauces lately which are a lower-fat alternative to the overtly rich and oh-so-popular nut based vegan sauces. Using beans as a base means your sauce is inherently high in protein aka really filling which is always great and I could totally see how a soft, white bean would create a really nice base for many different flavors.
After some disappointing experimentation, I decided to pair the beans with sweet sun-dried tomatoes, red chili flake and fire-roasted red pepper for a multi-layered flavor parade - sweet, acidic, smokey, spicy and slightly 'cheezy' thanks to the holy-grail combination of nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar and cashews.
This sauce is super well rounded and it tastes good on everything - not just pasta but is magic when enrobing linguine and the like. The recipe makes enough sauce for two meals so be sure to save the extra for tomorrow's dinner - just see my tip about thinning it out below!
Take a stab at this one and let me know what you think!
Serves: 2-4 • Prep Time: 10 minutes • Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 1 can low sodium white/canilleni beans
- 1/2 cup packed oil free sun-dried tomatoes (I used Trader Joe's dry-packed variety)
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 whole red pepper, roasted on a gas stovetop OR 1/2 jar of roasted red peppers in water, drained
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 low sodium veggie boullion
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, more to taste
- 1/2 tsp. chili flakes, salt and pepper
- 2-2 1/2 cups water, plus more if you like a thinner sauce
1. Add all of the ingredients to a high speed blender but hold back half the water. Use a tamper to ensure an even blend and stop a few times to scrape down the sides.
2. Once fully blended, add in the other half of the water. Check for desired consistency and flavor profile - adjust as needed. Blend again until fully smooth.
NOTE: The sauce will thicken up a bit as it sits, I used some of the cooking liquid from the pasta to thin it out when preparing the dish but I did notice upon reheating the leftover sauce the next day that I had to add a significant amount of water just to get it back to the right consistency. If re-heating, Just play it on the safe side, adding a little water at a time - that way you won't risk over-thinning the sauce. If the sauce does come out too thin, simply bring to a low simmer on the stove for 5-10 minutes to allow it to reduce slightly.
- 1 box Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Quinoa + Corn Linguine (or any other pasta you like)
- 2 cups packed fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1. Cook the pasta according to packaged directions. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water (skip the rinse if using regular pasta), carefully reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in a small cup or dish.
2. In a large shallow pot, steam the spinach and tomatoes in a small amount of water until the tomatoes begin to release their juices and the spinach is fully wilted.
NOTE: I added the tomatoes in first, cooking for about 3 minutes before adding the spinach as it wilts so quickly.
3. Once the vegetables are cooked, turn the heat to low and add in your pasta, cooking liquid and half the sauce - stirring gently to pull the sauce and veggies through the noodles.
4. Plate up the pasta and top with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan.