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Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta with Citrus-y Vegan 'Parmesan'

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Summery, fresh and FULL of flavor. I LOVE everything this simple, quick dinner has to offer - and to be honest, I've been making it a while but I am FINALLY getting around to sharing it with you. If I were to compare it to an old classic I'd say it reminds me a lot of penne a la vodka - the light pink-y sauce, the rich flavor and the penne shaped pasta of course (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta).

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I love the hit of healthy fat we get from the addition of coconut cream, it makes the sauce coat the noodles perfectly (especially with the addition of a little starchy pasta water) and the color that it gives - oh, just you wait! We take things even further than your traditional pasta dish by mixing in sweet spring peas, loads of fresh basil and a sprinkle of my brand new citrus-y vegan 'parm' that is made with mineral rich Brazil nuts. 

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A few pantry staples plus a few fresh ingredients and you have a dinner to wow just about anyone who gathers around your table. This dish would also be great with zucchini noodles too, but lets be real, a girl needs some real-deal pasta every once in a while.

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It's as easy as this - we start with an creamy tomato sauce packed with sneaky veggies made right in your blender and we then heat it through so the flavors can meld. Next, we boil up some pasta, blanch some peas and chop some basil. We then pulse together the nuts, nooch and lemon zest based 'parm' in a processor for something truly special. Scroll below to see how it all comes together!


Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 30 min • Cook Time: 10 min


CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE

  • 16oz. can (or half a 32oz). can of whole, Roma tomatoes (look for an Italian brand)
  • 2 small cans of coconut cream (8oz.) OR the thick, creamy part from two 16oz. can of coconut milk 
  • 8oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (they add natural sweetness and thicken the sauce)
  • 2-3 tbsp. coconut sugar *optional
  • 1-3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil, oregano and rosemary
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

PASTA

  • 1 box Ancient Harvest Quinoa penne  *sub whatever pasta you want
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped and divided into two piles (one to add to the pasta and sauce and one for garnish)

Add all sauce ingredients to a blender and combine on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Add to a large pot and cook on low-medium heat til the sauce reduces a bit (apx. 5-7 min) - be careful and use a lid to prevent splattering. Stir occasionally.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil, salt and add in pasta. Cook according to package directions, minus one minute of cook time. Drain and reserve a 1/2-1 cup of the cooking liquid.

NOTE: If you're using zucchini noodles you can skip this step and cook them til tender right in the sauce itself.

When the pasta is just a minute under done, drain and add the pasta and frozen peas to the sauce - toss well to coat. Use some reserved pasta water to help to loosen the sauce if needed - I used about a 1/2 cup. 

Sprinkle in half of the chopped basil and plate it up - garnish with your homemade vegan 'parm' (recipe below) and more basil. 

This dish is best served fresh but you can store left over/extra sauce in the fridge for 4-5 days.


    LEMON-Y VEGAN 'PARMESAN' SPRINKLE (makes a mason jars worth of this addictive sprinkle)

    • 1/2 cup brazil nuts *you can sub walnuts, pecans or almonds
    • 1/2 cup cashews
    • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
    • the peel of one small lemon (I use a veggie peeler here)
    • 1 small clove of garlic 
    • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning *optional
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Add all of the ingredients to your food processor (or blender if it has a 'pulse' setting), pulse everything together until it is fully combined and resembles a Parmesan cheese texture. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Store leftovers in a mason jar - it keeps for about a month in the fridge.

     

    LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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