cashew nut recipe - vegan carbonara

Cashew nuts are brilliant. They are so versatile, and the number of recipes they can be used in is quite surprising. They are soft so don’t need much soaking before blending like other nuts.

You can toast and blend them with a little oil and salt and you have cashew nut butter.

Or blend with plant milk to turn them into savoury ‘cheese’ sauces or sweet creams.

We aren’t vegan but often use cashew nut recipes as a protein alternative in meals.

One cashew nut recipe we go back to again and again is this vegan carbonara which we adapted from Deliciously Ella. The butternut squash is a bonus hidden veg and does help the sauce became sweet and moreish.

I often omit the mushrooms as little one won’t eat them. They aren’t essential.

Serves 4.


For the sauce:
150g Cashew nuts (soaked in water for 3-4 hours)

200g Butternut squash
2 tsp Nutritional yeast if you’ve got some in but it’s not essential
3 tsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp Smoked paprika
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

For the pasta:
Pasta of your choice – 75g per person
100g frozen peas
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g Mushrooms, finely sliced
Olive Oil
200g spinach

If you have forgotten to soak the cashew nuts for 3-4 hours,  10 minutes will do but your sauce will be a bit grainy.

Peel and chop the squash, place it in a steamer and steam it for 20-25 minutes until really soft.

Discard the water that the cashews have been soaking in, then tip them into a blender with the steamed squash and all the remaining sauce ingredients. Pour in 200ml of water and blitz everything together.

Put the pasta in a pan of boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. Add the peas two minutes before the end of cooking time.

While they cook, sauté the garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil, adding the spinach towards the end so that it wilts.

Once the peas and pasta are cooked, drain them, then mix them with the sauce, mushrooms and spinach to serve.

Alternatively you can turn this into a pasta bake by mixing everything up, placing in an ovenproof dish and top with breadcrumbs. Place in a medium-hot oven for 20 minutes to crisp up.


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