Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Sauce is a creamy, flavourful and nutrient-dense sauce that can be used in so many different ways! If you have certain dietary preferences/restrictions, this sauce is also perfect as it is vegan & dairy-free.
For this recipe, I added the sauce to regular pasta but it also goes great with roasted/sauteed vegetables or even as a pizza sauce! If you cannot tolerate gluten, you can serve with gluten-free pasta like high protein lentil pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
This creamy cashew sauce is packed with flavours and very nutritious. It includes many healthy, nutrient-packed ingredients like red peppers, cashews & nutritional yeast. Cashews provide the creamy texture and nutritional yeast adds a cheesy taste. Basil and thyme also add so much more flavour!
Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a good source of Vitamin B12, which is naturally only found in animal foods such as meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Vitamin B12 is added to only a handful of other foods/beverages like plant-based drinks in addition to nutritional yeast.
Vitamin B12 has important roles in the body including keeping your nerve and red blood cells healthy as well as making DNA in your cells. Being deficient in vitamin B12 can leave you feeling very tired and weak & ultimately lead to anemia.
TIP: If you looking for a nutrient-packed and tasty ingredient for a substitute to Parmesan, NUTRITIONAL YEAST is a great choice as it has the cheesy flavour as well as lots of health benefits. I love Parmesan cheese and add it to lots of dishes but also like adding nutritional yeast instead sometimes to benefit from all the nutrition goodness it offers!
Nutrition Benefits of Cashews
Cashews are a good source of protein and contain healthy fats, namely monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Cashews are an excellent source of copper and are high in other minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese.
Due to the above nutrient profile, cashews have shown to have an important role in heart health as well as bone health.
Red Bell Peppers: Health Benefits
Red bell peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, with 310 mg of vitamin C in one red pepper. Green bell peppers, kiwi and oranges are other high sources of vitamin C and contain approximately 150 mg, 75 mg and 70 mg of this vitamin, respectively. As you can see, red bell peppers are extremely high in vitamin C, even when compared to the richest food sources.
Vitamin C has many roles in the body including helping absorb iron from plant foods; keeping your skin as well as gums healthy; and reducing oxidative damage due to its antioxidant properties.
2-3 large red peppers (3 is better if peppers are small/medium & "red" peppers are best for this recipe)
1 cup cashews (soaked for 2-3 hours)
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp of olive oil
Handful of basil (and some extra for garnish)
1/2 cup almond milk or water
Salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
Optional: 2 tbsp tomato paste
-You will need a "high speed blender" to make into a creamy sauce
-If making for pasta, this sauce is good for about 2 cups of dry pasta
-If you eat dairy, you can use regular milk. If not, you can use any plant-based milk like almond milk, oat milk, rice milk or soy milk.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cut peppers into quarters (with core and seeds removed).
In the meantime, cook pasta as per instructions and drain (I recommend saving a little bit of the pasta water)**
Add roasted red peppers, olive oil, thyme and garlic to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast peppers for about 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through
Transfer roasted peppers (along with all the goodness - thyme, garlic and oil) into a high speed blender. Place soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, basil, tomato paste, salt, pepper and chili flakes in blender as well and blend. Add almond milk and continue to blend until mixture is completely smooth, thick and creamy
Transfer cooked pasta to a pot add toss with a little bit of the preserved pasta water
Add creamy sauce to a pan and simmer until sauce is heated.
Once sauce is heated, taste and add more salt, pepper and chili flakes as needed (I was quite generous with the spices).
Pour heated sauce over pasta. Mix well and serve.
**Saving pasta water is recommended as it helps bind the pasta to the sauce