Soaked cashews blended with miso, garlic, and lemon make a dreamy vegan Alfredo sauce for gluten-free pasta and spring vegetables. Parmesan is optional. Adapted from The Love & Lemons Cookbook.
Yesterday I went to our co-op to get the ingredients for this dish. I also grabbed some make-up – a bit of eyeshadow and face powder. I don’t wear the stuff much, but I’m performing with my salsa class this weekend and have to get done up in false eyelashes, a gold sequined halter top, and skintight red pants – totally my style. Anyway, Jay put the groceries away while I answered emails. He set the eyeshadow on my desk and I asked where the powder was. “There was no other make-up,” he said. The powder was on my receipt, so I checked the grocery bags, my purse, the car. Nothing. I called the co-op to see whether I had left it behind. They didn’t find it, but offered to continue looking. I figured I must have forgotten to put it in my bag and the next customer had accidentally picked it up. I was bummed – it had cost $22 and wasn’t even something I wanted. So I did what I do when I’m frustrated: I opened the refrigerator to get a snack.
What did I see when I opened the door? My powder sitting atop a container of hummus. “I thought it was cheese,” Jay said when I showed it to him. To be fair, it was packaged in a round cardboard container similar to the ones small goat crottins or brie tend to come it. I called the co-op back to tell them, and we all had a good laugh.
All this talk of cheese brings me straight to this pasta, which comes from the brand-spanking-new cookbook by the creators of Love & Lemons. I’ve been a fan of Jeanine and Jack’s creations since the early days of their blog, and Jay and I have been living off of their Seared Tofu Bahn Mi and Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili for the better part of this year. Receiving a review copy of their book in the mail was even more exciting than finding expensive, new make-up in the refrigerator after you’d given it up for lost.
The Love & Lemons Cookbook: An Apple-To-Zucchini Celebration of Impromptu Cooking is arranged by fruit or vegetable, making this the perfect companion to farmers market trips and CSA boxes. Every recipe has a beautiful photo replete with Jeanine and Jack’s gorgeous style – clean, bright, and relaxed – and some recipes have process photos to boot. Recipes range from simple (Quick Pickled Onions) to more complex (Zucchini Lasagna with Zucchini “Ricotta”), with all emphasizing quick, fresh dishes. As effortless as most recipes are, each has a little twist that makes it unique. There is clearly so much love poured into this book; it’s one that I will keep in my kitchen for years.
I’m deep in a pasta phase lately, so when I saw the page of Creamy Miso Brussels Sprout Fettuccine, I went straight to the kitchen to soak some cashews. The first of the pod peas and fava beans are here, so I traded them in for the brussels sprouts, giving them a quick blanch in the pasta water, and added some chives and lemon zest. Fava beans are high maintenance – you have to not only shell the little buggers, but then you have to blanch and slip them from their skins as well. But they add addictive depth to this dish and are entirely worth the trouble.
I blended the cashews with miso, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and water, then I tossed all that creamy vegan goodness with gluten-free pasta (I heart Bionaturae) and vegetables.
Then we did the unspeakable:
We covered it in cheeeeese!
With or without the parmesan, this dish is all kinds of delicious. The cashew base is as silky-rich as actual cream sauce, and the miso and mustard give it a punch of salty sweetness and umami. Lemon, chives, peas, and favas add spring flavor and bright color – just the thing to enjoy with a glass of rosé – in this case, a shockingly pink number from Frog’s Leap in Napa called La Grenoiulle Rouganté, recommended by my girl Emma who knows a thing or two about wine.
I’ve made this four times in the past two weeks and still we can’t seem to get enough. Once when I didn’t have the time for shelling, I used a bunch of slivered asparagus in place of the peas and favas and it worked beautifully. The base is versatile, to feel free to give it a go with blistered cherry tomatoes and basil in the summer, or try the original brussels sprout version, as captured so beautifully by Laura on The First Mess. Long noodles such as spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine are fun to eat, but penne or elbows would work, too. And I’m angling to try the sauce with gnocchi, as well.
I’ve bookmarked nearly every recipe in The Love & Lemons Cookbook, but here are a few I’m especially looking forward to making:
- Minty French 75
- Curried Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles
- Eggplant and Mushroom “Meatballs”
- Crispy Shiitake BLT
- Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos
- Cardamom Apple Crisp
- Tomato Chickpea Tortilla Soup
Many thanks to Jeanine, Jack, and the folks at Avery for gifting me a copy of their beautiful book! And thank YOU for reading! If you make this, I want to see – tag @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #BojonGourmet on Instagram.
- ½ cup (75 g) cashews, soaked in cool water 4-12 hours and drained
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white miso paste
- 1 large garlic clove
- ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ cup (120 ml) fresh water
- 1 pound (455 g) fava beans
- 1 pound (455 g) fresh shelling peas
- 12 ounces (340 g) dry pasta such as linguine or spaghetti
- 1 small bunch chives, snipped
- freshly grated parmesan or pecorino (optional)
- black pepper
- To make the sauce, place the drained cashews in the bowl of a blender and add the lemon zest and juice, miso, garlic, mustard, oil, salt, and half of the water. Blend on low to combine, increasing the speed to high and gradually adding the remaining water. Blend until silky-smooth, about 3 minutes total, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Shell the fava beans and peas, keeping them separate. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Drop in the favas and cook until the skins are loose, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish out the favas and place them in a bowl filled with ice and cool water to stop the cooking. Slip the favas from their outer skin, discarding the skins and reserving the beans. If the beans aren't cooked through, you can blanch them a second time or saute them in a bit of olive oil; mine don't usually need this. Drop the peas into the boiling water and cook until bright green and crisp tender, 1-2 minutes. Fish out the peas and place them in the cool water bath to stop the cooking.
- Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta well, return it to the now empty pot, and add the reserved sauce, cooked peas and favas, and chives, tossing gently to coat and adding a splash of the reserved pasta water if needed. Divide the pasta among plates or shallow bowls, and top with pepper and cheese, if you like.
- The pasta is best freshly made, but the sauce can be prepared a day ahead, and the peas and favas can be shelled and blanched a day ahead, too.