Cashew Cheese Sauce, Sage & Butternut Squash Linguine

linguine with cashew cheese sauce, sage, butternut squash and peas

This month my kid got married, and we got our first real feeling of autumn outside. My son’s wedding plays a part in today’s post. I decided to prepare the food for the wedding, and give it a personalized touch for the special occasion. The bride and groom wanted a vegan menu, with vegan macaroni and cheese being their favorite. The cashew cheese sauce for the mac and cheese came out so yummy I have been thinking about it all week.

Then, it dawned on me that this sauce with a couple modifications could make a great autumn pasta with butternut squash, sage and peas. And, that’s how my first post of autumn came about! This sauce is easy to make, packed with plant based protein and healthy fats. The crispy sage garnish makes a nice garnish and crunchy finish to this comforting, cool weather dish.

linguine with cashew cheese sauce, sage, butternut squash & peas

For the cashew cheese sauce:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp. mustard (Dijon )
2 tbsp. sage

For the pasta:
1 1/2 cups peas
3 cups butternut squash, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 box (8 oz.) gluten-free linguine (or traditional linguine if GF isn’t your thing)

For the crispy sage:
8-12 leaves of fresh sage
2-3 tbsp. coconut oil
Sea salt

For the sauce, blend all the ingredients in a Vitamix-style blender or Cuisinart until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Depending on your blender, this could take several minutes. You want it to be creamy without any graininess from the nuts. Once it is creamy, add the fresh sage, and just pulse the sauce in the blender until the sage breaks down into the sauce. Don’t overland the sage or it may turn the sauce a funky color. You want to see speckles of fresh sage in the sauce, and be able to taste a hint of sage in the sauce as well.

Warm the sauce slightly in a sauce pan, cover and set aside, Don’t cook or overheat the sauce.

To make the crispy sage, heat the coconut oil in a small saute pan or skillet. When the oil gets nice and hot, but not smoking, add the sage leaves. They will sizzle and crisp up in several seconds. Remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon, and let them cool on a paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside for serving time.

In a pot large enough to boil the pasta, cook the pasta per manufacturer’s instructions. When you add the pasta to the boiling water, also add the butternut squash, The pasta and the squash will take about the same amount of time to cook. You can also steam your squash separately if that is more comfortable. About 1 minute before your pasta and squash are done, add the peas to the pot. The water will return to boil and the peas will float to the top. When that happens strain everything together and rinse under cool water until they become about room temperature.

Add pasta vegetables to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly. Divide onto 4 plates, and top with pieces of crispy sage.

Check out more plant-based pasta recipes here

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