My 100th blog! I feel like this should be a philosophical blog about my journey to this point in the blogging world, however, today I give you a new (and exciting) recipe. In a way it is kind of fitting to have this as my 100th blog. The blog started off as a way to express my emotions about being injured, help other athletes deal with injury and provide healthy nutrition and endurance tips. I never dreamed I’d have a blog, and… I’d never dreamed I’d be so excited about making a vegan cashew cream sauce before. I’ve always loved to cook and experiment, but only in the past year have I really started pushing the bounds with vegan or even Asian based foods. Growing up Italian means pasta, pasta, pasta. Yummy, but I want to master everything. Or at least try. So, here’s to new things, because they can be fun, challenging, frustrating, and a whole other myriad of emotions.
I should also mention this is an exciting blog because I am the owner of a brand new top of the line Blendtec 725 blender. Thankfully, because I belong to a sport dietician/nutritionist group, I have access to discounted blenders. This is just about the gold standard, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to own it. Already today I came up with 4 new recipes to try. And I made them all today! Of the 4, 3 came out and 2 of the 3 were actually delicious. So, as the song goes, 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.
This was one of the 2 that I think came out very good. Brett, being the skeptic, watched me make it with a questioning face. He even went as far as to look in the fridge to see what else we had in case he needed a back up. But, he didn’t need it and actually said he enjoyed it and would definitely eat it again. A win!
So, today’s challenge was, a cashew cream sauce. Vegan with no milk or cream products. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Alfredo sauce without cream, butter or cheese?” I promise, you won’t miss them. The cashews provide a delicious creaminess, in addition to my secret ingredient cannelloni beans. Because this is a vegan recipe, I was trying to up the protein content. One way to make this a more well rounded meal is to use actual whole wheat pasta. And this sauce would be delicious over pasta. But I wanted to make zoodles, or zucchini noodles with my spiralizer. And to make things even more interesting, I used both yellow squash and zucchini.
If you’re post hard workout, I might add in some additional protein. Whole beans added to the pasta, seitan crumbles or even the Quorn that I cooked (and wrote about) a few nights ago. If you’re not post hard workout, this should be sufficient. And I want to highlight another ingredient-nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast: deactivated yeast, that tastes similar to cheese. It also provides a hearty punch of the B vitamins, including B-12, which vegans need to supplement with. B-12 is not found in plants, at least not in high enough amounts.
1 tbsp of nutritional yeast= 15kcal, 1g of carbohydrate, 2g of protein, and 75-100% of the B-vitamins (depending on the vitamin).
The Blendtec did a wonderful job creaming the cashews and creating a smooth sauce. With normal blenders you need to soak the cashews for 1-12 hours. With the Blendtec you don’t need to. It took less then a minute to blend the entire sauce, cashews, beans and all. It was quick and easy, but I do understand the one complaint about the Blendtec, it is loud. All in all, I’m very happy with it so far.
The recipe for the Alfredo/Cashew cream sauce will make about 2.5 cups. You can either cut this recipe in half, or make the whole recipe and freeze the rest. You could also use it for the week, if you plan on eating it within a few days. I’ve never frozen it, however I’ve heard that it will be fine. You might just need to blend it a bit when thawing it.
I also used my new Spiralizer to make zoodles (zucchini noodles). This was easy and a lot of fun. I used zucchini and yellow squash, however regular whole wheat or gluten free noodles would be just fine. This way I added a lot more veggies, made something fun and unusual and just changed up a typical dinner.
Summer Squash Noodles with Mushroom “Alfredo” Sauce (Serves 4)
• 1 cup unsalted cashews
• 1 cup of cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
• 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 shallot
• ¾ cup-1.25cups of vegetable broth (depending on thickness desired)
• 1 lemon squeezed
• 5 large basil leaves
• Salt and pepper to taste
- 1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You might need to scrape the sides of the blender or add additional broth if desired.
- This makes 2.5 cups of cream. The recipe below will only use about 1/3-1/2 of the sauce.
Summer Squash Noodles:
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 8oz mushrooms, sliced
• 2 medium zucchini-spiralized
• 2 medium summer squash-spiralized
• ¼ cup fresh parsley/basil, chopped
• Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Swirl 1 tbsp olive oil around.
- Add garlic and saute for :30. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes until softened.
- Stir in mushrooms and let cook until starting to wilt.
- While mushroom are cooking, spiralize your noodles. I find cutting the squash into 3 inch chunks makes it easier to spiralize. Also, when creating your noodles, I find it easier to cut the noodles every 4-6inches so they are more manageable to eat.
- Add the vegetables to the saute and cook about 3 minutes just to warm the noodles. You can also keep the zoodles raw and have a raw “pasta” salad.
- Stir in 3/4-1 cup of cashew cream into the vegetables. More or less cream per your desired amount.
- Stir in spices and serve.
- 31g carbohydrate
- 13g protein
- 10g fat
- 8g fiber
- 253mg sodium
I’d love to hear if you try this recipe. Happy cooking!