I’ve never met a creamy, cheesy vegan sauce that I didn’t like. My predilection for “creamy, cheesy” dishes is even mentioned on my “recipes” page . If I ever become allergic to nutritional yeast (i.e. the cheesy part of vegan cheese sauces and cheeses), I think I would die. I kid.
Nutritional yeast – or “nooch”, has some seriously magical transforming powers. With a little vegan
cooking science magic, this stuff can go from dry yellow flakes to rich, creamy-cheesy sauce.
It also kicks-ass on it’s own. I may or may not be known to eat nutritional yeast straight from the container. A more um, “proper” way to eat it straight up is to sprinkle some on freshly popped popcorn for a cheesy vegan snack. I buy our nutritional yeast in bulk at Sevenanda or in little tubs from our local farmer’s market.
For this dish, I mixed quite a bit of nutritional yeast with cashews and almond milk (and other stuff) and the result was a creamy-cheesy vegan alfredo-like sauce. It’s an easy sauce to blend up any night of the week and requires just a little heat to thicken it up. We had it with pasta and sautéed peas and kale because those are things we typically have on hand. There’s probably other delicious ways to use it though—drizzled over roasted veggies, just mixed with cooked spinach or kale…
Cheesy Vegan Alfredo with Peas and Kale
- 8 oz of pasta
- 1/2 cup of peas (I used frozen)
- kale leaves from 4 large stalks (torn into smaller pieces)
- 2 cloves of garlic clove (one should be minced, the other can be whole)
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1/2 cup raw cashews *
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbs of chicken-free broth concentrate (I used Better Than Bouillon)
- salt and pepper
* I used a high speed blender to blend the sauce so I didn’t soak the cashews for this dish. Depending on the strength of your blender/food processor, you may need to soak the cashews in water for a couple of hours to help break them down and get them creamy.
Cook the pasta according to package. Now on to the peas and kale mixture. In a lightly oiled pan with a lid, sauté the minced garlic clove until soft on medium heat. Then add the kale leaves and stir in a couple of tablespoons of water or stock so that about a 1/4 inch of liquid sits in the pan. Add the frozen peas. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and then put the lid on and turn to medium-low until the liquid mostly evaporates. I let it simmer with the lid while I make the sauce. It’s good to check on it and give it a good stir adding more liquid if needed. You don’t want the kale sitting in the pan without liquid while it’s actively cooking.
For the sauce put the almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, whole garlic clove, lemon juice, onion powder, chicken-free broth concentrate in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat the sauce in a pot large enough to hold everything (sauce, pasta, peas and kale) over medium-high heat. Make sure to stir/whisk the sauce constantly while heating. It should thicken up pretty quickly (~3 minutes). Remove from heat. Add the pasta, peas and kale. If there is extra liquid in the peas/kale mixture, make sure to drain it out before adding it to the pot. Salt and pepper everything to taste and then dig in!