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Rich Vegan Mushroom Linguine with Basil
After last week's burrito adventure, I wanted to do something a lot simpler. But I also wanted a dish in the same comfort food vein as the burrito, something that leaves you completely satisfied while staying within the boundaries of a vegan diet. Let's just say I ate pasta all week. I wanted a basil pesto flavour overall, but I also wanted a ton of mushrooms. It took a little while to get it right.
I took some inspiration from this deliciously simple vegan parmesan substitute from Vegan in the Freezer. Raw cashews and nutritional yeast have an unbelievably parmesan-like taste when ground together in a 4:1 ratio. (In a couple of my early attempts, I tried to go full Alfredo by grinding the cashews down to cream with a little water. The result wasn't inedible, but it just didn't work for me. I still finished all of it, mind you. There are going to be a couple of extra exercise sessions this week.) This final version isn't creamy, but it still has all the vegan satisfaction I was hoping for. Enjoy!
300 g (about 11 oz) vegan linguine
1 lb button mushrooms
3 shallots, chopped fine
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 Tbl nutritional yeast
2 + 3 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp powdered thyme
1 tsp salt
5 cloves garlic
10-12 leaves of fresh basil
This recipe has a fair bit of prep up front because things come together quickly once the pan heats up.
Start by cleaning and slicing the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.
Then, chop the shallots fine.
Wash and dry the basil leaves (but don't chop them yet).
Put the cashews and nutritional yeast into a food processor and process them down to small particles (smaller than chunks, but a little bigger than powder).
Peel the garlic cloves and have them ready on the chopping board.
Get the pot of water ready on the stove and generously salt the water, but don't turn on the heat yet.
Heat up a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 Tbl olive oil. When hot, saute the shallots, stirring frequently.
Once the shallots become fragrant, after 2-3 minutes, add the mushroom slices and continue sauteing.
Cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently, until they have given up their moisture and have turned dark. This should take 15-20 minutes at medium-high heat. Keep them moving so that they don't brown.
About 5 minutes into the mushroom sauteing, put the pasta water on to boil. When the water boils, cook the pasta according to the directions.
When the mushrooms are close to ready, mince the garlic with a little bit of salt, but don't add it to the pan.
When the mushrooms are cooked, mix in 1 tsp powdered thyme and 1 tsp salt.
Remove mushrooms to a covered dish to keep them warm. Wipe the pan clean and turn down heat to medium-low.
Add 3 Tbl olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. You want to give the garlic just a couple of minutes to mingle with the olive oil before everything comes together.
Stack up the basil leaves and roll them lengthwise like a cigar. While holding the cigar together with one hand, slice the leaves crosswise into thin slices.
When there is about 2 minutes left in the pasta cooking time, turn the pan back up to medium-high heat and saute the garlic, stirring frequently.
When the pasta is done, drain quickly and add to the pan with the garlic.
After a quick mix to coat the pasta in oil, add the mushrooms back to the pan.
Add cashew mixture and basil.
Quickly mix everything together and serve immediately using tongs.
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Posted: Sunday, August 14, 2016