Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

dressings & sauces mains recipes Mar 03, 2019

A warm, filling bowl of pasta truly is one of life’s simple pleasures. Or at least I sure think so! Recently, I was craving this comfort food and began wondering what healthy tweaks could make it even better. Personally, I avoid dairy when possible (more on my dairy-free journey here) but still wanted to achieve a creamy sauce regardless.

I found the real key to this rich and hearty sauce is the cashews. Yes, cashews! They’re truly the dairy-free girl’s savior. Soaking the nuts overnight allows them to soften and blend easily for just the right texture.

Also, sautéing the shallot and garlic rather than throwing them into the blender raw mellows out these ingredients but also makes them incredibly flavorful. Plus, because I’m a huge spice lover, red pepper flakes are just the thing to liven up the sauce. But of course, feel free to add as much or little heat as you like!

Now it’s time for the real star of the show: roasted red peppers. These flavorful and nutritious veggies are key to the sauce’s bright color and memorable flavor.

Never before had I attempted to make my own roasted red peppers, and I was shocked by how easy it was! When I compared them to the jarred version, I can easily say I’ll never go back. Homemade truly always wins.

The roasted red peppers and red pepper flakes also add a double-dose of antioxidants, B vitamins and more. They’ve even been seen to dramatically improve eye health, prevent anemia AND are one of the richest dietary source of vitamin C available. So definitely load up on these babies, especially this time of year!

Last but not least, the pasta. This tasty sauce can be used with any pasta of your choosing–classic, gluten-free, lentil, etc. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Banza chickpea pasta, because it’s super high in fiber and protein with the perfect “real” pasta texture.

This plant-based meal is filling, satisfying and perfect for those avoiding dairy, gluten, meat or simply looking to cut back on all of the above. Give this healthy twist on a comfort food favorite a try, and I can promise you won’t be disappointed!


  

 YIELDS3 Servings
 

 

Ingredients
  •  1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  •  2  large red bell peppers (or 3 smaller peppers)
  •  2  garlic cloves, minced
  •  1  medium shallot, minced
  •  1 cup fresh basil, plus more for topping
  •  1  large lemon, juiced
  •  2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  •  1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional), more or less if desired
  •  salt and pepper to taste
  •  a few spoonful of reserved pasta water to loosen (if needed)

  

Directions
 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rinse peppers and cut in half, removing seeds and stems.
Cover peppers with avocado oil and place face down on a baking sheet.
Roast for about 30 minutes until a slight char begins to form on the outer skin.
Remove peppers from oven and cover in aluminum foil for 10 minutes to steam, allowing skins to come off more easily.
While the peppers are steaming, mince shallot and garlic.
Sauté shallot in pan with olive oil until they become slightly translucent. Add garlic, a pinch of salt and ground pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
Remove charred skin from peppers and add to blender or food processor.
Add shallots and garlic to blender with peppers. Then add drained cashews, basil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.
Blend until the sauce is creamy and well incorporated. Adjust seasoning to taste.
10 Mix sauce with cooked pasta of choice, stirring in reserved pasta water to loosen if needed.
11 Top with more fresh basil. Enjoy!

*recipe will likely make extra - store sauce in an air-tight container in the fridge*

 

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