Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.
Today: A pasta so creamy, your guests will never guess it's dairy-free.
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Replicating the taste and texture of all things “creamy” is one of the obvious challenges of vegan cooking. There are a bunch of ways to go about this: one is to use cashew cream. Another is to use puréed white beans. Another is to use tahini or nut butter.
One of the simplest ways to create creamy sauces and dressings is to use silken tofu, which blends up easily and has an incredibly authentic texture. Like regular, extra-firm tofu, silken tofu has a neutral taste, so it’s important to season any sauce you make with it thoroughly -- but this also makes it very versatile.
In this recipe, silken tofu meets nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon, and spices to create a perfect vegan rendition of cream sauce. And it all gets poured over a beautiful, vibrant bowl of springtime pasta, brimming with tender green peas and meaty, flavorful shiitake mushrooms. It’s an ideal dish for an elegant weeknight supper or a casual meal with friends, who will likely never guess that the recipe is dairy-free.
2 tablespoons olive oil 3 large shallots, divided and chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 8 ounces silken tofu 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or more to taste) 1/2 teaspoon sea salt A pinch nutmeg 4 to 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced into strips 1 1/2 cups green peas Black pepper to taste 8 ounces orecchiette, farfalle, or linguine 2 tablespoons minced chives
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.