They say that necessity is the mother of invention. In my case, an increasingly empty fridge appears to be the mother of invention. THIS was a very fortuitous invention.
You know how you usually eat creamy pasta sauces with a kind of frenzied greedy fervour? Like where there's not enough time to properly draw breath between each mouthful? Then, when the plate is finally empty, you sit back, stomach bulging over the top of your too-tight jeans, while that intoxicating sensation of regret-tinged-with-nausea envelops you? Don't say you don't know what I'm taking about because that's how everybody eats delicious salty, buttery, cheesy things.
Anyway! Now you can have all the creamy carbonara-style goodness without the nausea because I took the creamy and I turned it vegan with nuts! Hoorah hoorah the townsfolk celebrate! This is probably pretty high calorie really, but that's ok 'cos it's full of all the GOOD avocado + nut fats!
Brazil nuts contain heaps of selenium, which acts as an antioxidant, increases immunity, helps maintain a healthy metabolism, improves blood flow and can even increase longevity! Cashews pretty much do all that too, and they also help keep your hair and bones healthy and can help in weight loss and digestion. Pine nuts are just delicious and a life without pine nuts is no good.
So go on, make yourself a bowl of creamy cashew pasta and eat it ALL (or share it with 3 of your favourite people), then lie back, with a comforting sense of total fullness, while your hair grows luscious, your bones strengthen, your metabolism speeds up, your ageing processes arrest themselves, and you just generally feel like a really well balanced, impressive super-human who shall live until the sun swells and absorbs the Earth in its fiery, gaseous red corona *
* I cannot confirm that the aforementioned bowl of pasta will actually achieve any of the above claims...I CAN however confirm that it tastes delightful.
For the nut sauce
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup pine nuts
10 Brazil nuts
1/2 an avocado
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 tsp olive oil
For the vegetable topping
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin rings
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sprouted chickpeas
1/4 cup sprouted mung beans
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 tomato, roughly chopped into chunky cubes
1 tsp soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 serves of pasta
To make the creamy cashew sauce, place the pine nuts, cashews and Brazil nuts, plus the avocado, lemon juice and garlic in a blender and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Stir through the olive oil along with a pinch of salt, then set aside
Put your pasta on to cook
While the pasta cooks, fry the red onion in a frying pan along with the oil, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic will help the onion to caramelise. Keep frying until the onion goes soft and starts to brown.
Once the red onion has caramelised and is sweet, add the sprouted chickpeas, sprouted mung beans, and the 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Fry for about 3 minutes, then add the tomato, soy sauce and salt and pepper. Let this fry for a further 5 minutes, until the tomato has softened.
Taste and make sure your veggie topping is salty enough. If you think it needs more flavour, add a little salt or a little more soy sauce.
Drain your cooked pasta then put it back in the saucepan. Tip in the nut paste and gently toss the pasta over very low heat, until the nut paste starts to soften and coats the pasta evenly.
Once your pasta looks all creamy like carbonara sauce, tip the fried vegetables into the saucepan and give everything a gentle toss.
Serve with fresh chilli, fresh parsley, some more salt and freshly grated pepper, or a sprinkling of nutritional yeast (if you are so inclined!)