You know those nights where you're exhausted, maybe because you worked hard all day, or maybe because you watched an entire season of a new show on Netflix, (no judgement). You're tired, you're hungry, you're lazy, and all you want is an enormous bowl of basil-y, garlic-y, cashew-y, vegan pasta. Well what an extreeme coincidence, because I have just the thing for you! (I know, you didn't see that coming at all).
I love making pesto, because it's incredibly easy, and everyone seems to think you're all fancy pants in the kitchen. When really, all you have to do is just shove some things in a food processor, and boil some pasta. It's like if sweat pants were fancy.
Traditionally, pesto has a mound of cheese in it (but bleh, clearly), and it's made with pine nuts. Now, there isn't anything non-vegan about pine nuts, but personally I am just not a huge fan. They are pretty pricey, they spoil easily, and I never have them on hand... which doesn't really work for the lazy part of the meal preparation. So, I swapped out pine nuts with cashews, lots of 'em. I love the creamy, dreamy, soft flavour it provides. If you don't have cashews, walnuts work well too.
To make this dish, simply boil water for pasta (yeah it starts that easy), toss all the ingredients for the pesto into a food processor, and pulse until you have a slightly textured paste. Cook your pasta, then toss the hot pasta with the pesto. Done. (It ends that easy too). Top with a little basil leaf or two, and now you are talking some serious fancy pants-ness.
Vegan Cashew Pesto Pasta
- 1 lb pasta (any shape), gluten-free if preferred
- 1 bunch fresh basil (1 cup), (save some leaves for garnish)
- ¾ cup cashews raw or roasted
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Add the basil, cashews, olive oil, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until everything is ground into a paste, but it still has a bit of texture, stopping to scrape the sides as needed.
- Add the pesto to the pot with the pasta and toss until well combined. Serve hot with a few leaves of basil for garnish.
Featured Ingredient: Basil. 128 Days, 58 Recipes to go!