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.
I found the real key to this rich and hearty sauce is the cashews. Yes, cashews! 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.
This plant-based meal is filling, satisfying, and perfect for the whole family. You can even add grilled chicken, shrimp, you name it. Give this healthy twist on a comfort food favorite a try, and I can promise you won’t be disappointed!
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (or at least 3-4 hours) 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
- pasta of choice, cooked according to package directions
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