CREAMY PASTA SALAD
Hey there! I'm back with Part II of what I cooked for my vegan BBQ.
I find dishes like these perfect for when you're having a hungry day and really want to silence that growling stomach. It's also super satisfying after some kind of physical exertion – last time I had it was when I came back from losing a football match, which seems to be a weekly event. Nothing as comforting as carbs, huh?
I can honestly say this pasta is astonishingly creamy given that it is totally vegan. To get this texture I've used a combination of cashews, olive oil and silken tofu. That is a fairly common vegan trick to make a caesar-type dressing, but I felt it needed to taste more like a nice coleslaw or remoulade, so I've added vegan mayo and dijon mustard. I am really enjoying tangy flavoured foods at the moment, especially the flavour from a lemon's zest, so the dressing here has some real zing to it. Decrease the lemon juice if this isn't your cup of tea.
Oh yeah - do play around with the recipe to suit yourself; substitute wholewheat or spelt pasta for a healthier carb-load or use up any leftover raw vegetables instead of the carrots and tomatoes.
I like sprinkling nutritional yeast over the top as a garnish. I know that sounds more like doctor's orders and not appealing in the slightest, but nutritional yeast is actually one of my favourite ingredients at the moment. It is a strain of yeast, just like the yeast used for baking bread, except that it has been deactivated using heat and dried into flakes. It has a really amazing cheesy flavour and makes an excellent Parmesan substitute. Make sure you check it out!
Creamy Pasta Salad
|for the dressing|
|200g/7oz||silken tofu, drained|
|¼ cup/65ml||extra virgin olive oil|
|¼||cup cashews, preferably soaked in water for 3 or more hours|
|1||garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped|
|3||tbsp vegan mayonnaise|
|1½||tsp dijon mustard|
|1||tsp dried oregano|
|2||tbsp chopped basil leaves (approx. 20 medium leaves)|
|½||of a medium lemon's juice and zest|
|½||tsp ground pepper|
|for the pasta & salad:|
|500g||macaroni pasta noodles|
|1||large carrot, cut into matchsticks|
|1||red or yellow bell peppers (capsicums), thinly sliced|
|2||celery stalks, chopped|
|10||cherry tomatoes, chopped|
|½||red onion, thinly sliced|
|4||spring (green) onions, thinly sliced|
- To make the dressing, put all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Add some water if the dressing is too thick.
- Boil a large pot of water and add 1 tsp of salt.
- Add the pasta when the water is at a rolling boil and simmer until the pasta is al dente.
- Drain the pasta in a colander. Refresh (rinse with cold running water) the pasta until it is room temperature and not at all hot to touch.
- Now in a large serving bowl combine the pasta, half of the dressing and all the raw vegetables. Toss gently.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper and add more dressing if you think it needs it. Now serve or box up and refrigerate if cooking in advance.