Lately, I’ve been having this craving for pasta.
You know the kind – creamy, gooey, carb-loaded pasta smothered in marinara and cheese, plenty of basil and a little spice. Preferably, baked in an oven till it bubbles and the edges turn crispy.
Prior to going vegan, I was suspended in low-carb purgatory with the occasional break for potatoes or bread but never, ever, EVER pasta. But this was a craving that had to be answered, so I hatched a plan (and a recipe) to put it to rest.
Spinach and Chia Seed Fettuccine with Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Cashew Ricotta & Meatless Meatballs
There are a few special items needed for this recipe. Most, if not all are available in most grocery stores, Walmart or Amazon (where I buy my nuts in bulk). The best part is this dish is packed full of heart-healthy antioxidants, iron, and minerals thanks to the spinach and chia seeds in the pasta and the cashews in the ricotta
Step 1: We Prepare the Ricotta | Overnight
The first time I made cashew ricotta I followed a recipe from Instagram that called for a lot of nutritional yeast and 2 cloves of garlic.The end result was delicious, but it tasted more like a prepared cheese dip that had been made with ricotta than the real deal and it was missing the light sweetness that’s typically present in this cheese. So, for this batch, I made a few tweaks.
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- A little water
- A few drops of agave nectar/ sweetener of choice – optional
- salt & black pepper – optional
Soak your cashews overnight (I put mine in the fridge because it seemed like the right thing to do. *shrug*)
- Add your cashews to the blender along with lemon juice, garlic, a few drops of agave and just enough water to get the blade going.
- Pulse on HI and add a few tablespoons of water as necessary until you get the desired texture. You may need to stop periodically to scrape the mixture down the sides
- Taste test! This is your time to tweak – add a little salt or a little more sweetener – whatever seems to be missing to you.
Step 2: Fire Up Those Meatballs | Approx 15 mins
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes (or 1-2 cups homemade)
- Gardein Meatless Meatballs
- garlic salt to taste
- red pepper flakes – optional
- Put water on to boil for your pasta (you’re going to need it soon!)
- Heat pan on med/hi heat on a second burner for your meatballs and sauce
- Add fire roasted tomatoes, stirring frequently until heated through. (If you’d like to add any veggies, like diced onion or garlic, put in the pan with a little oil and brown before adding tomatoes)
- Add the frozen meatballs and turn in the tomatoes to thoroughly coat.
- Lower heat to simmer. Put a top on the pan and stir every few minutes.
- In final few minutes, add red pepper flakes if desired and mix thoroughly
Step 3: Pasta Time! | 3 minutes
This pasta cooks in just 3 minutes so you know it’s almost time to eat! Add pasta to salted boiling water and follow package instructions. Pasta should be tender but ‘firm’ to bite so be careful not to overcook.
Step 4: Put it in a Bowl & Eat It
Sprinkle a little basil and nutritional yeast on top if you’re so inclined and enjoy!