My parents were never mistaken for talented chefs, God bless their hearts. We were always well fed and well attended to, but my parents were slaves to habit and not adventurous cooks by any means. Our regular rotation of dinners throughout the week consisted of Rice-A-Roni, spaghetti, Papa John’s pizza, beef chili, and chicken & noodles. We usually ate bagels and cereal for both breakfast and lunch.
Inevitably, there came a point where I could no longer stomach a handful of our dietary ‘staples’ following years of daily consumption. Pasta is on that list. My brain still tells me I want it when I see it, but two bites into a bowl of spaghetti I can’t hardly look at the plate without feeling nauseous. In a culture where pasta is seen as the most important food group, imagine the side eye I get when I express a distaste for noodles. Thankfully, I was recently diagnosed with a wheat allergy and have a more ‘legitimate’ excuse as far as other people are concerned.
Every once in a blue moon though, I get a knock-down-drag-out hankering for pasta. It can hit at any time, but when it hits I have to feed it. Given all of the allergies I’ve developed as an adult, it’s not so simple as stopping at Olive Garden and indulging in an enormous bowl of greasy, refined, no-redeeming-quality alfredo linguine though.
When I’m craving that rich mouth feel and heavy satiation, this recipe does the trick. It’s vegan, gluten free, paleo, and whole30. Given that my paleo diet doesn’t allow for pasta, I pour this over roasted vegetables and zucchini noodles instead. You could totally use it in a rice bowl, pair it with a roasted vegetable, or even use it as a dipping sauce with cucumber as a snack. It’s also great with a bowl of old-fashioned penne if that’s your jam. Preparing a vegetable side to accompany your guilty pleasure isn’t even necessary, because your vegetable is in the sauce! Win, win.
Vegan Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce
Ingredients – makes enough for 4-6 pasta bowls
- 1/2 head large cauliflower
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 4 halves sundried tomatoes
- 1 single-serve container yogurt of choice (I used cashew)
- 1 whole lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup unsweetened, unflavored milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- olive oil, for roasting
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Destem cauliflower and break up florets on a baking sheet. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Peel garlic cloves and place on baking sheet with cauliflower.
- Slice onion and place on baking sheet with cauliflower and garlic.
- Place cashews on a separate baking sheet.
- Roast cauliflower, garlic, and onion until golden, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, place sundried tomatoes in a cup of water and microwave on high for 1 min. Allow to soak for 10 min.
- Place cauliflower, garlic, onion, and sundried tomatoes (drained) in a blender or food processor. Process until riced.
- Roast cashews until golden, 4-6 minutes.
- Carefully transfer cashews while they are still soft and warm to the blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, yogurt, milk, salt, and pepper to the food processor with the cauliflower, onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Process until creamy.
- Feel free to add more lemon, salt, pepper, and milk until you achieve your desired flavor and consistency. If you want to boost the creaminess factor even further, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Enjoy!