Tender Orecchiette coated in a creamy vegan cashew cream sauce, and roasted cauliflower and tomatoes with smoky mushroom bacon. A bowl of this in front of a crackling fire will get you through the coldest of winter nights.
How is winter in your part of the world? Here in Chicago, the weather outside is frightful. We have snow, temperatures in the single digits, and a wind chill that makes it feel like I’m living in Siberia. This is winter at its worst, and it makes me crave a hot, comforting bowl of pasta. Something healthy, but stick to my ribs delicious, like this creamy Orecchiette roasted cauliflower & smoky mushrooms. Doesn’t that sound good?
This perfect and simple little recipe is all that and more. The creamy cashew sauce makes it seem like I’m eating a bowl of pasta with Alfredo sauce, only there isn’t a drop of real or fake dairy in it. There are also sweet, caramelized roasted tomatoes. And it gets better, because there are pieces of roasted cauliflower in the mix. Crispy, savory little bites of the new “it” vegetable. That’s right, cauliflower has knocked kale out of the top veg spot for 2015. Look for lots of cauliflower recipes from Veganosity this year. Finally, where there’s smoke, there’s Portobello mushroom bacon. Oh my gosh…..
Are you hungry yet?
Yeah, I thought so, grab a fork and dig in. Try and get a little bit of everything on your fork. Uh huh, it really doesn’t get more heavenly than this. It’s simple food, with simple ingredients, but there are so many flavors and textures, all of them made for each other.
Simple is another food trend for 2015. Simple, locally sourced, seasonal food. I like that. I think that the more complicated a recipe is, the less you can actually taste the ingredients in the dish. Herbs and seasonings should complement, not change or mask how the vegetables taste. Don’t you agree?
This is the year to really show people how incredibly delicious, simple, and fresh vegan food can be. If you have a recipe that you want veganized, just ask. We are always looking for a challenge.
Creamy Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Smoky Mushrooms
- 1 pound of Orecchiette
- 1 cup of raw cashews
- 1 and ½ cups of water
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
- 1 small head of cauliflower – sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons of avocado oil
- 3 medium Portobello mushrooms approximately 1 and ½ cups – diced into ½ inch pieces (any mushroom will do)
- 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke
- 2 cloves of garlic – minced
- 1 teaspoon of fresh sage – minced
- 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano – minced
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Pepper to taste
- SOAK THE CASHEWS
- Cover the cashews in water and soak for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425° and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- COOK THE PASTA
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
- ROAST THE CAULIFLOWER AND TOMATOES
- In a medium size bowl add the tomatoes and 1teaspoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently coat the tomatoes with the oil and spread out on one of the baking sheets. Roast for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are blistered and cracking.
- In the same bowl, drizzle the other teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper over the cauliflower. Rub it in until the cauliflower is completely coated. Spread out evenly on one of the baking sheets and roast for 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to turn golden brown.
- COOK THE MUSHROOMS
- Heat the avocado oil in a medium size cast iron skillet. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to shrink and release their water. Add the liquid smoke and stir to combine. Add the garlic and herbs and stir to combine. Grind some pepper and salt over the mixture to taste.
- PREPARE THE CASHEW CHEESE
- Drain and rinse the cashews and put them in a blender with 1 and ½ cups of waters and 2 teaspoons of salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a medium size sauce pan and heat until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer and stir until it thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Chop the roasted cauliflower into bite size pieces.
- When the pasta is ready, drain the water and put the Orecchiette in the cashew cream sauce and stir until coated. Heat the pasta and sauce if necessary. Fold in the mushrooms, tomatoes, and cauliflower.