Simple Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta

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Another one of my vegan recipes you can make from ingredients at Trader Joe’s! I love me some pasta. All kinds but one of my favorites is a tomato basil with simple but delicious favorites!  I’ve whipped this up with grape tomatoes , a new favorite are these Villagio Marzano tomatoes from Trader Joe’s but if you can’t get those, any grape tomatoes will do.  One items i forgot in the photo was the pine nuts, you don’t have to have them but i sure do love them!

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Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients

8oz linguine (1/2 package), reserving 1/2 cup cooking water

2 Tbsp good olive oil

1/2 small onion, peeled and diced

2-3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 package Trader Joes Villagio Marzano Tomatoes (or 2 cups grape tomatoes), halved

Fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonade

1/4 cup pine nuts

Crushed red pepper (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Cook linguine according to package to al dente and make sure to add lots of salt to the water!

Add olive oil to skillet and warm over medium heat, add onion and salt and pepper.  Saute 3 minutes until soft and translucent.

Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes – do not burn or let it get brown.

Add wine and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until reduced by half.

Add in tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until soft.

Reduce heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the pasta water, along with linguine and let simmer on low for 1-2 minutes, add remaining if water if needed.

Remove from heat, stir in as much basil as desired, season with salt and pepper to taste, crushed red pepper (if using), top with pine nuts, drizzle with olive oil and serve!

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Lemon Basil Cashew Cream Pasta

Behold the power of the cashew.  When soaked and pureed, it morphs into a cream that is vegan’s blank canvas to work from.  In this dish you really wouldn’t know there wasn’t any actual cream.  Refreshing lemony, basil sauce smothered all over pasta and topped with pine nuts.  Yes, pine nuts are expensive but they are well worth it here as they complement the other flavors very nicely.

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Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

Olive oil

1/4 cup diced onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped garlic

1/3 cup cashews soaked overnight

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 – 1/3 cup vegetable broth, water from cashews or plain water

1 handful of basil leaves (or more to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted pine nuts for garnish

Cooked pasta, cooking water reserved

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Add to blender with cashews, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of broth and basil.  Blend until pureed, adding additional broth as needed.

Heat skillet over low-medium heat and add enough pasta water to just cover the bottom.  Add in sauce and pasta and stir for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Add a tablespoon of pasta water at a time if needed to thin out. Add salt and pepper to tasted and drizzle with olive oil if desired.  Serve topped with pine nuts.

Zesty Italian Vegan Meatballs

No these don’t taste like regular meatballs, but these bad boys are pretty tasty.  I used some vegan Italian sausage that I had so it gives them a nice zesty flavor and then you don’t have to worry so much about adding a bunch of seasoning.  I had a Field Roast link that I cut up and threw in the food processor until it was crumbly.  Uptons Naturals also makes a great Italian sausage and there’s isn’t a link but instead more “ground” texture.  I highly recommend either of those.  Some other brands out there just don’t taste good.  If you don’t feel like cooking lentils, black beans will probably do.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)

1/2 small onion, diced (about 1/4-1/3 cup)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup crumbled Italian vegan sausage (chop or use food processor if needed)

3/4 cup cooked green or brown lentils

1 Tbsp soy sauce

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 2 Tbsp water)

Salt and pepper to taste, if needed

Method

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet and add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat about 3 minutes.

Add onions, garlic, sausage, and lentils to a food processor.  Pulse several times until mixture starts to come together, drizzle in the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Pulse and once combined (not pureed) add to a mixing bowl.  Add bread crumbs and flax egg.  Mix to combine.

Roll mixture into tablespoon size balls and lay onto a parchment line baking sheet or dish.  Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Pan-fry

Add enough oil to coat the bottom of a cast iron or nonstick skillet.  Heat over medium high.  Lightly dust each meatball with flour and add to skillet.  Add to skillet (should be hot enough to sizzle) and cook about minutes or until golden brown (turning half way through).

Bake

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  With meatballs on a parchment line baking sheet, spray or brush with olive oil.  Bake 20-25 minutes.

Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce

I’ve used my got-to cashew cream in lieu of heave cream to make a rich, creamy pasta sauce that no one would ever know was dairy-free.  The sage makes this super savory but it can be strong so if you want to lighten up the intensity just simmer a couple whole leaves in the sauce, then remove.  Add in more pumpkin if you you like or even sub with mashed butternut squash.

Makes enough sauce for 2 good-sized portions of pasta

Ingredients

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-8 hours (go with 8 if you don’t have a high powered blender)

2/3 cup water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small shallot finely chopped

1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 Tbsp vegan butter

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Add soaked cashews and 2/3 cup water to a blender.  Puree until smooth.  Should be the consistency of heavy cream and should yield about 1 cup of cashew cream.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add shallot and sage.  Saute a 3-4 minutes.

Stir in vegan butter, then pumpkin and add the cashew cream.  Simmer about 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly.

Add in nutmeg, salt and pepper and serve over pasta.

Sundried Tomato Cream Pasta

Another delicious “I can’t believe it’s vegan” cream sauce.  I’m officially obsessed with cashews now that I’ve discovered just how rich and creamy they can make sauces, soups or anything.  With this the fresh basil really adds a lot of flavor that complements the sundried tomato very nicely.  Another great addition to stir in at the end, kalamata olives or pine nuts.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

1/3 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup sundried tomatoes from a jar (drained of oil)

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)

1/2 – 3/4 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups cooked pasta, cooking water reserved

Fresh basil (optional but really amazing in this)

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt over medium heat until onion is translucent; about 3-5 minutes.  Add to food processor or blender with cashews, sundried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  Puree adding more broth as needed.

Heat skillet over low-medium heat and add enough reserved pasta water to just cover the bottom.  Add in sauce and pasta, stir and cook 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Add a tablespoon of pasta water at time to thin out if needed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat, stir in basil, drizzle with a little oil from sundried tomatoes or just plain olive oil if desired and serve.