Rigatoni are coated in a creamy tomato sauce is filled with little bits of crispy vegan sausage. An easy weeknight dinner or fancy enough to make for the holidays!
As much as I love tomato sauces, a creamy tomato sauce is my all time favorite. When I first went vegan I thought I would never be able to enjoy my favorite creamy tomato sauces again, since they do contain dairy. But with a little magic I figured it out. I made my first creamy tomato sauce as my fourth YouTube video back in October 2016. It was just as good as I had remembered a dairy filled creamy tomato sauce, if not better. All through the use of cashews.
I really like to use cashews to make what I call a cashew “heavy cream.” It is just cashews and your non-dairy milk of preference combined in a high speed blender. The high speed blender is pretty important for this recipe to ensure the cashews get broken down completely. However, if you don’t have one you will just need to blend longer and deal with the fact there may be tiny little pieces of cashew floating around, which is still tasty! I always use raw cashews and a little tip to save some money is to use raw cashew pieces. They are at least a dollar cheaper if not more, and it doesn’t matter if they are whole since we are just going to blend them up anyway!
If you have a nut allergy you can try swapping the cashews out for equal parts white beans, vegan cream cheese, full fat coconut milk (although it may have a bit of a coconut taste) or even plain vegan yogurt! So don’t worry there are plenty of options. I love rigatoni it is my second favorite pasta, mezzi rigatoni are my favorite, but of course use any pasta you like. Also, it can be made gluten free by just using a gluten free pasta of your choice. I used the Beyond Meat hot Italian sausages for this but you can use any Italian-style vegan sausage for this recipe. I love this meal as a quick weeknight dinner but I also think it would be great for the holidays since it is decadent and delicious!
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1/2 cup (60g) raw cashews, soaked or boiled for 30 minutes
2 vegan Italian style sausages (I used Beyond Meat)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 sweet onion (about 80g), chopped
3/4 cup (180ml) nondairy milk, unsweetened and unflavored
1/4 cup (66g) tomato paste
1/2 cup (120ml) water
1/2 teaspoon organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces rigatoni
- Boil cashews for 30 minutes or soak overnight. Drain and rinse.
- Meanwhile, remove the vegan sausage from the casing. Cut the sausage in half lengthwise and the casing should break, you will be able to scrape the contents of the sausage out into a bowl.
- In a large frypan sauté the garlic and onion for 3 minutes over medium low heat or until fragrant. Then add the sausage and sauté over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes until sausage is browned.
- Add the cashews and nondairy milk into the blender and blend on high for 2 minutes or until everything is broken down and combined.
- Add the tomato paste and mix around to coat the sausage. Then pour in the cashew cream and mix until well combined. The sauce will be a bright orange. Pour in the water, salt, and sugar and mix again. Simmer over low heat, adding water as necessary if the sauce becomes too thick.
- At this point bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and once boiling cook your pasta until al dente, or to your preference.
- Once the pasta is done add it to the pan with the sauce. Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. Mix the pasta together to coat in the sauce and add in a 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water. This helps the sauce to stick to the pasta better and to thin it out. Taste the pasta before serving and add more salt if necessary.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy.
Makes 4 servings
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