Thanksgiving is one of those days when people have their expectations–of the food and the rituals like football, drawing names for Xmas gifts, the favorite nap spot, etc.
It’s best not to mess with tradition. But maybe add a new one?
I thought about what we might make for vegan options to bring to my in-laws, who would be preparing the usual turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and cranberries. It would be mostly for Av and me, but I didn’t want it to feel like we were being rude by eating an entirely different meal.
Hmmmm. Mac and cheese seemed like a good option. Many families have that as part of Thanksgiving but we never have. I liked not having a comparison to hold against it.
If I have learned anything about cooking vegan it’s better to play to the strengths of the ingredients rather than making a “fake” version of the original. Cheese (“feeze”) is definitely one of our least favorite vegan options. The texture isn’t quite right.
So I looked up some recipes and found a roasted red pepper pasta made with cashews. I made a few adjustments based on the butternut squash lasagna I make, including steeping rosemary in the almond milk, and toasting it in with the cashews to bring out some of the oils.
I ended up adding lemon juice and some crushed red pepper flakes to brighten up the sauce. This was the first time I had used nutritional yeast powder and I like the depth it added. I baked this, but it could also be eaten immediately.
Alec ended up eating a large bowl later Thanksgiving night…with Sriracha. He’s grateful for the break from college dorm food. 😊
Rosemary roasted red pepper pasta
- 2 lbs elbow macaroni
- 3c unsweetened almond milk
- 12oz whole raw cashews
- 1 large onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 12 oz roasted red peppers (about 3 large if you roast them yourself)
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp Crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Panko breadcrumbs
Bring the almond milk to a simmer and add one rosemary sprig. Turn off heat and let steep for an hour. Remove as much of the rosemary as possible (it’s ok if a few leaves remain).
Toast cashews in sauté pan with remaining rosemary sprig. Crush rosemary to bring out oils. Let sit while preparing pasta and sauce.
Cook pasta, drain and drizzle with olive oil. Sauté onion in oil until soft, add garlic and cook another 2 min. Add roasted red peppers, continue cooking briefly until heated through. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and nutritional yeast.
To bring sauce together, purée cashews in food processor (remove rosemary). Add red pepper mixture and process until smooth. Slowly add almond milk.
Pour sauce over noodles. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with panko breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.