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Legume Penne with Spinach and Cashew Bechamel

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2 min read
Summary

Serve this to your friends and family, but don’t tell them it’s a healthy vegan dish! They’ll think you made it like a traditional-style white sauce with cream and butter. The trick to perfecting the cashew bechamel is soaking the cashews and blending them until super smooth. The creamy bechamel with the legume pasta, crunchy peas, and earthy spinach will have everyone coming back for more! Packed with iron, protein, and phytonutrients, there’s nothing to feel bad about when enjoying this hearty dish.

Yields2 ServingsPrep Time20 minsCook Time15 minsTotal Time35 mins

Ingredients

Cashew Bechamel
 1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 4–6 hours or overnight)
 1 cup vegetable broth (unsalted, preferably homemade)
 ½ cup shallot (chopped)
 3 cloves garlic (fresh, minced)
 1 tsp onion granules
 1 pinch nutmeg
 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
 ¼ tsp salt (optional)
 ¼ tsp ground black pepper (optional)
Penne
 8 oz organic penne (legume[chickpea or lentil], dry)
 ¼ tsp salt (optional)
 2 cups organic spinach (chopped)
 1 cup peas (frozen)
 ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
 ¼ tsp ground black pepper (optional)

Directions

1

Make the Cashew Bechamel: Drain cashews and set aside.

2

Heat a medium stovetop pan over medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup vegetable broth (reserve the remaining ¾ cup for step 5).

3

Turn heat down to medium and add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 3–4 minutes.

4

Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another minute.

5

Add the cashews, onions and garlic, remaining ¾ cup vegetable broth to a food processor or high-speed blender.

6

Blend until creamy smooth.

7

Add the remaining ingredients and blend well, once again.

8

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If you’d like a thinner consistency, add ¼ cup water or vegetable broth at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days if making ahead of time.

9

Prepare the pasta as instructed, add salt to the water, if desired.

10

Add the spinach and peas to the colander that you plan to use to strain the pasta. Drain the pasta through the colander and shake it until all of the water has been strained. This is called the quick and easy way of heating the peas and spinach!

11

Transfer the pasta, peas, and spinach to a large mixing bowl.

12

Pour the cashew bechamel over top and mix well.

13

Add red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

14

Portion between two of your favorite plates or bowls!

Chef's Notes

Substitutions
Instead of penne, try linguini, rotini, or other legume pasta of choice.

Try edamame or chickpeas in place of peas.

Substitute other leafy greens of choice for spinach.

Use white or yellow onion in place of shallot.

If you don’t have nutritional yeast, use 1 tablespoon of organic mellow or chickpea miso.

Add more nutrition and flavor
Consider adding fresh or sundried tomatoes.

Add olives or capers for umami and a bit of salty flavor.

Add broccoli or cauliflower for cruciferous goodness.

Top with herbs like parsley or basil.

Ingredients

Cashew Bechamel
 1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 4–6 hours or overnight)
 1 cup vegetable broth (unsalted, preferably homemade)
 ½ cup shallot (chopped)
 3 cloves garlic (fresh, minced)
 1 tsp onion granules
 1 pinch nutmeg
 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
 ¼ tsp salt (optional)
 ¼ tsp ground black pepper (optional)
Penne
 8 oz organic penne (legume[chickpea or lentil], dry)
 ¼ tsp salt (optional)
 2 cups organic spinach (chopped)
 1 cup peas (frozen)
 ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
 ¼ tsp ground black pepper (optional)

Directions

1

Make the Cashew Bechamel: Drain cashews and set aside.

2

Heat a medium stovetop pan over medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup vegetable broth (reserve the remaining ¾ cup for step 5).

3

Turn heat down to medium and add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 3–4 minutes.

4

Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another minute.

5

Add the cashews, onions and garlic, remaining ¾ cup vegetable broth to a food processor or high-speed blender.

6

Blend until creamy smooth.

7

Add the remaining ingredients and blend well, once again.

8

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If you’d like a thinner consistency, add ¼ cup water or vegetable broth at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days if making ahead of time.

9

Prepare the pasta as instructed, add salt to the water, if desired.

10

Add the spinach and peas to the colander that you plan to use to strain the pasta. Drain the pasta through the colander and shake it until all of the water has been strained. This is called the quick and easy way of heating the peas and spinach!

11

Transfer the pasta, peas, and spinach to a large mixing bowl.

12

Pour the cashew bechamel over top and mix well.

13

Add red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

14

Portion between two of your favorite plates or bowls!

Legume Penne with Spinach and Cashew Bechamel