Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Pasta may not appear on my menu all that often, but because most pasta dishes are easy to put together and provide a creative template for flavors that suit one's tastes, I focused on some of my favorite flavors in this attractive penne dish. And accordingly, this one is bursting with strong and intense flavors. Tart sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and spinach, plenty of tangy lemon juice, and some heat from some hot chilies, all nicely balanced by a creamy and all vegan cashew sauce. This dish takes very little time to prepare, and if you are liberal with your choice of garnishes, then each mouthful is a veritable taste experience of intensity that you won't soon forget. This recipe just might end up on your monthly rotation of easy favorites.

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Notes: Jarred oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes may be used instead of the dried ones that require re-hydration — simply drain the jarred tomatoes and chop. And for even more variation and intensity, add some chopped Kalamata olives as a garnish. Other pasta shapes and types such as rotini and fusilli can easily be substituted for the penne.

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew SauceSun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce
Recipe by
Cuisine: Italian
Published on September 3, 2020

Easy, hearty and colorful vegan pasta in a creamy cashew sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and basil

Preparation: 30 minutes + soaking time
Cooking time: 15 minutes

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Cashew cream:
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 2 hours or overnight in cool water, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, divided
  • 1/2 cup water or reserved sun-dried tomato liquid
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 16 oz (450 g) dried penne or other pasta
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons champagne or white vinegar
  • 1 to 2 red chilies, seeded and minced
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Optional garnishes:
  • vegan Parmesan cheese
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • black olives, pitted and chopped
  • Begin by soaking the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 1 hour. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, and chop.

  • To make the cashew cream, combine the cashews, 1/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato soaking liquid or water, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a food processor or high speed blender, and process until well-combined and smooth. Add more olive oil or a bit of water as needed. Set aside.

  • To make the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

  • Place the spinach in a large strainer, and pour the cooked pasta over the spinach. Drain well. Return the pasta and spinach to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low.

  • Stir in the basil, remaining 2/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, cashew cream, olive oil, vinegar, chilies, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine and gently cook for another 5 minutes.

  • Serve hot with desired garnishes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Other pasta dishes to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Mushroom Spaghetti Bolognese {Vegan}
Zesty Green Pea and JalapeƱo Pesto Pasta
Spinach Pesto Pasta
Penne with a Spicy Eggplant and Mushroom Tomato Sauce
Vegetarian Lasagna Soup

Audio accompaniment: Robert Fripp - Music For Quiet Moments 18 - End Of Time (Barcelona 25 Jul 2009)

1 comment:

Ellen Lederman said...

This was fantastic! So full-flavored and easy to make. Made it exactly as is, except with spaghetti (didn't have penne) and cutting the recipe in half so as not to have too many leftovers. Excellent. Thanks for this and your other great recipes.