The No Recipe Recipe collection is on fire and I love hearing about your kitchen success stories! While I love the simplicity and plant-based inspiration the series can provide, there are some foods where having a recipe is helpful. One such area is dairy free plant-based cream sauces. Getting a sauce creamy and decadent without actual milk, cream, or cheese can take a bit of practice. Since being vegan for the last almost eight years, I’ve tried a lot of creamy sauces sans the cream and I definitely have a few favorites worth sharing with you. Whether you are new to plant-based eating, have dairy intolerances/allergies, or you just want to find a way to include more plant-based goodness in your life, check out these sauces. A lot of animal based cream sauces can leave us feeling heavy and lethargic. Plant-based variations leave us feeling more vibrant without clogging our arteries.
Here are three very traditional dairy based pasta dishes that are completely plant-based AND highly requested when I come around. What I mean is, my family knows that I love cooking and when I come to visit, I will be “blessing” their bellies with all the plant-based goodness. Over the years, these comfort food staples gone vegan have become favorites.
Adapted from: Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way by Chloe Coscarelli
Serves 4 – 6
- 1 pound fettucine noodles of choice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons white miso paste, optional (Except I think this is totally not optional because it adds a unique depth that is difficult to come by without traditional dairy – but I’ve never tried it without it either 😉 )
- 1 heaping tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish (optional but recommended)
- Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add fettucine and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and let cook until soft. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat.
3. In a blender, combine onions and garlic, cashews, water, miso paste if desired (again, yes, add the miso), lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
4. Toss hot pasta with sauce until noodles are evenly coated. Adjust seasoning to taste. If sauce gets too thick, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Garnish with parsley and serve.
*If you are not using a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, soak cashews or almonds overnight or boil for 10 minutes and drain. This will soften them and ensure a silky smooth cream sauce.
Stroganoff — just the mere mention of it makes you feel warm and cozy. This vegan version is full of creamy and heavenly mushroom flavor, with hints of white wine and thyme. Lightly sautéed strips of tofu make it even more filling and delicious (could very easily just use chicken if tofu isn’t your jam). The fusilli catches the sauce in its curves, but wide noodles like fettuccine work, too. I usually always double the sauce recipe for leftovers and we just love it.
- 8 ounces fusilli
- 3/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours or add cashews and water into sauce pot and bring to boil for about 5 minutes minutes then cover pot and let sit until ready to use blend (drain off water)
- 1-1/2 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu, sliced into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms of choice, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon-ish fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (or cooking wine – adds depth, could also use broth and no added salt but it won’t taste as decadent)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I’ve also used ketchup because I hate leftover cans of things)
- Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. When it’s boiling, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
Drain the cashews and add them to a blender along with the vegetable broth. Blend until very smooth, with only a slight graininess. This could take anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes depending on the strength of your machine.
Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula now and again to make sure you get everything.
Prepare the tofu: Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the tofu along with the salt for 5 minutes or so, until it’s just slightly browned. Set the tofu on a plate covered with aluminum foil as you prepare the sauce.
Prepare the sauce: In the same pan in which you cooked the tofu, still on medium heat, add the oil and sauté the onion in the oil along with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so.
Now add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 more minutes. Add the wine, tomato paste, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper, stir, and turn the heat up to high. Let the wine reduce by about half. This should take 5 minutes or so. Turn the heat back down to medium.
Pour in the cashew mixture. Stir until well combined and let thicken for about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add the tofu and toss to coat, carefully, so as not to break the tofu. Serve over the pasta, and garnish with fresh parsley, if you like.
Creamy Pumpkin Mac ‘N’ Cheese
Amazing, creamy, flavorful pumpkin mac ‘n’ cheese made with 10 simple ingredients! I always go the easy route and use the canned pumpkin puree. Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Serves: 2 as entrée, 4 as side
- 2 cups canned pumpkin puree – not pie mix
- optional: 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1-1 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond or rice milk (start with 1 cup)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2-3 Tbsp chopped sage or thyme (I use half thyme, half sage)
- 4-5 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3-4 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- optional:1/4 tsp red pepper flake or cayenne pepper
- 10 ounces (283 g) pasta of choice
VEGAN PARMESAN CHEESE
- 3/4 cup (90 g) raw cashews
- 3 Tbsp (9 g) nutritional yeast
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Parm Instructions: Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix/pulse until a fine meal is achieved. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Lasts for several weeks.
- Start boiling water and cook pasta according to package directions. Once pasta is cooked, drain and set aside. Optional: drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and vegan parmesan cheese for extra flavor.
- To make the sauce, add 2 cups pumpkin puree to a high-speed blender along with peeled garlic (bonus – tastes delish if roasted in oven first!), arrowroot starch, dairy-free milk (start with 1 cup), sea salt, sage or thyme (I use both), nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan cheese, pumpkin pie spice, and red pepper flake (optional).
- Blend on high until creamy and smooth. Then taste and adjust flavor as needed. Add more salt for saltiness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, sage or thyme for herbiness, vegan parmesan cheese for depth of flavor, pumpkin pie spice for pumpkin flavor and warmth, or red pepper flake for spice (optional).
- To heat/thicken the sauce, pour into a rimmed skillet and heat over medium-low heat, whisking frequently until sauce is hot and slightly thickened – 3-5 minutes. If it gets too thick, thin with a bit more dairy-free milk.
- To serve, add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Serve as is or (optional) sprinkle with 2 Tbsp (10 g) vegan parmesan cheese and broil on medium for 1-3 minutes, watching very carefully until barely browned.
- Enjoy hot and garnish with pine nuts or sautéed sage if desired. Cool leftovers and store in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days.
Please serve up one or all of these dishes very soon as they are so, so so delish! When you do, please let me know how the dishes turned out! These non-dairy vegan creamy sauces are some of our family’s favorite!