Orecchiette with Cabbage, Peas & Lemon Cashew Cream Sauce
This recipe was originally created to be shared as a guest post on a wildly popular (& one of my favorite) vegan blogs in January. Wayul, now it’s March, & needless to say, that post never made it to fruition. Major fail. First of all, with a multitude of things happening in every area of my life, I struggled to find inspiration. Then when it finally hit, I tried to jam the creation, cooking, & photographing of the dish on a rare free day, which also happened to be a rare rainy day. The lighting was tricky, I was impatient & preoccupied, & just wasn’t satisfied with how the photos turned out. I had intended to remake & re-shoot with a few minor tweaks, but then life got in the way, hence, this little recipe & my opportunity to be featured on a major vegan blog slipped away.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a recipe here, so when I stumbled upon these photos in my library I thought why not share it on my own blog? After all, the dish was pretty fantastic (& Mom agreed). At first I thought I’d save it for my new blog project, but that’s been set aside while I settle into my new house, & since this is a seasonal recipe, I thought it best that I share it here now, especially since St. Paddy’s Day is just around the corner. The vibrant bursts of green cabbage & peas livens up this pasta dish while adding the perfect hue to make it fit for a festive feast.
So, first, a little back story on how this dish came to be, & then you’ll get to the goods…
If you are familiar with me at all you know that I am a huge proponent of eating as seasonally & locally as possible. I’ve been a proud share holder of a local organic farm for 3 years now. Being a CSA member has made a huge impact on my diet & challenges me to expand my palette & recipe repertoire. I don’t have a choice in what I get, which I think is awesome. I have a new found appreciation for veggies that I might not have sought out on my own like okra, kohlrabi, turnips, kabocha squash, etc. At the same time, the over-abundance certain seasonal items can get a bit tedious. I am certainly not complaining, I am so grateful to have fresh, organic, local food at my fingertips, but there are certain items I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit less of towards the end of it’s season. In the winter, it’s cabbage. Week after week I see a lot of it. I have a few go-tos to get me through the season, but I am always looking for new ways to cook & enjoy this particularly abundant winter green. When yet another head of cabbage arrived in my share, I set out to try a new type of recipe. I’ve made endless salads, a few soups, & plenty of coleslaw, cabbage wraps, & even a vegan colcannon, but had never used it in a pasta dish. As I searched for some inspiration for what to do with this Savoy cabbage, I stumbled upon a recipe from Epicurious that struck my fancy. This recipe incorporated cabbage with some of my favorite combos, pasta, peas, & a rich cream sauce! However, this dish was far from vegan. Inspiration achieved & challenge accepted. I knew exactly how to proceed with this cabbage situation, make a vegan version of this seemingly tasty dish.
“Orecchiette with Savoy Cabbage, Peas & Lemon Cashew Cream Sauce”
- 1 pound orecchiette, or shell pasta
- 2 Tbsp. vegan butter
- 1 small Savoy cabbage, quartered lengthwise, core discarded, & leaves thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup prepared cashew “heavy” cream
- 1 cup thawed organic frozen peas
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. While pasta cooks, heat vegan butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sauté cabbage, & stir until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add scallions, vegetable broth, & cashew cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat & stir in peas, lemon zest, lemon juice, sea salt, & pepper.
- Before draining pasta, reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water & set aside. Combine pasta with cabbage mixture and 3/4 cup reserved pasta water in a large bowl. Moisten with remaining water if needed. Top with an additional squeeze of lemon juice, lemon zest & red pepper. I also added micro arugula as a garnish.
“Cashew ‘Heavy’ Cream”
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews, soaked over night
- 1/3-1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- In a food processor, or high speed blender, combine cashews, water, & salt.
- Blend until smooth & creamy, about 5 minutes, adding more water to thin the consistency if needed.
****for this recipe I thinned out the cashew cream considerably to resemble the consistency of heavy cream.
It wasn’t until after we’d polished off the entire batch (over the course of a weekend, mind you) that the perfect topping for this dish occurred to me. TEMPEH BACON! Where had my brain been? Not only would it add an additional pop of color, it would add another layer of flavor & texture. So promise me when you try this dish that you will add tempeh bacon, & let me know if I was truly on to something. I most certainly will add that topping when I make this dish again!