Friday, 28 March 2014

Raw Cashew Love

As you might reminder, I told myself that I'd try a new food each month of 2014. I've done well so far and don't plan on giving up. So this month's new food is raw cashews.

Raw cashews are something you wouldn't want to snack on because they aren't roasted and salted into the cashews we typically know and love. But raw cashews are truly perfect for making a cheese-less cheese sauce and that's something worth talking about.

I learned about raw cashews and vegan cheese sauce from the Oh She Glows blog and cookbook and knew that I had to give them a try. I love cheese but scrubbing a pot from a cheese sauce is tiring and there's only so much cheese a girl should eat.

My recipe is inspired by Oh She Glow's Smoky Butternut Squash Sauce with Pasta and Greens, but I think the "secret" ingredients I added takes the sauce up another few notches. But you should try both recipes to know for sure.

Sweet and Smoky Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta - serves 4

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for about 3-8 hours and then drained
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, divided 
3/4 cup water
1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon hot pepper jelly
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, if desired
2 cups of raw pasta, orecchiette or other small pasta
1 bunch of kale, cut into ribbons and chopped 
Salt, to taste 

1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay squash on the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Chop the top of the head of garlic off and pour the remaining teaspoon of olive oil into the centre, wrap and with foil, and place on the baking tray with the squash. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping squash once half way through baking, until squash is fork tender. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the soaked and drained cashews, water, nutritional yeast, hot pepper jelly, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, roasted garlic, and 2/3 of the roasted squash into a food processor.  Pulse until smooth. Now add the salt, liquid smoke, and hot sauce to taste and pulse again to combine.

3. Cook pasta until el dente. Drain and then blanch the kale.

4. Toss the pasta with the kale, remaining squash, and the sauce. Serve and enjoy! 

I can't wait to start introducing myself to more recipe with raw cashews now. They made for a delicious sauce that tasted so cheesy and was actually good for me. I hope you like my additions of hot pepper jelly and roasted garlic to Oh She Glows recipe. I think they kicked it up a notch. :)

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