Spaghetti with Tomato Basil ‘Cream’ Sauce

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Why, you ask, is the spaghetti black? It’s not squid ink pasta… Actually, it’s spaghetti made out of black beans! It actually looks more like noodles than it is spaghetti, but it is a box I came across while shopping at Costco.

It piqued my interest, as this is not made of any flour so it is completely gluten-free. Also, because it is made of black beans, it has much more protein and fiber content than regular or whole-wheat pasta. It has the added benefit of being low-carb as well, to those who are watching their carb intakes.

I hadn’t made a pasta dish in a while (I think I last made some butternut squash gnocchi last summer), so I thought I would use this box of black bean spaghetti I bought and make a tomato cream sauce. The catch? There is no cream at all in this sauce. Secret ingredient? Cashews! Cashews are full of heart healthy unsaturated fats, and when blended, adds a creaminess to it. It can be used in anything — even frostings!

Tomato sauces are easy to make if you know the basic Italian ingredients, but I definitely spruced it up with some extra ingredients, including the cashews. I added textured vegetable protein to the sauce (which is basically dehydrated soy meat), but you are more than welcome to replace this with a meat (for non-vegans/veg) or with other veggies. It was so delicious, that of course, I had to share the recipe!

Of course, you’re more than welcome to use any pasta you have on hand for this, because the main star of this recipe is the sauce. Even my sister couldn’t stop eating it and was shocked it was completely vegan with no milk or cream.

I still highly recommend you to find a box of the black bean spaghetti. I’m going back to Costco to stock up on more 🙂

Ingredients
Makes about 6 servings

  • 1/2 an onion, diced and divided in 2
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (oil packed, drained)
  • 1 tbsp agave or other sweetener
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein       
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • spaghetti or pasta of choice

———

Prepare the textured vegetable protein by adding the boiling water. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of the olive oil to a saucepan on medium-low heat.  Add half of the diced onion and 3 of the minced garlic cloves and sautee until the onions become translucent and garlic is fragrant.

Add the chopped tomatoes, cashews, tomato paste, sundried tomatoes agave, chilli flakes,  basil, oregano, and sauteed onions and garlic to your blender. Add 1/2 cup of water to start and blend until smooth, adding more water as necessary to thin out the sauce to your liking.

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Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the remaining diced onions and minced garlic and sautee. Once the onions are translucent, add the textured vegetable protein and stir to combine. After a minute, add the sauce from the blender to heat through and simmer. Season with salt to your liking. If you need to add more water, you may.

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Add pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions. Once done cooking, rinse and drain.

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Serve pasta with a ladle of sauce on top! There will be plenty of sauce leftover for another night. Enjoy 🙂

Notes

  • Feel free to add other veggies to your sauce instead of the TVP, or use chicken if you aren’t vegan/vegetarian
  • Non-vegans can add parmesan cheese in the sauce (or on top), and vegans can try adding nutritional yeast for a ‘cheesy’ flavour. I didn’t think it needed any cheese!
  • You can mix a desired amount of sauce and pasta together before serving if that’s how you prefer your pasta
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