Sometimes, I’m at the grocery store and find something I’d love to buy, but it’s way too unhealthy or not vegan, so it doesn’t quite work for our household. That was the case when I saw some (cream and butter-laden) pumpkin pasta sauce. So I snapped a picture of the ingredient list and made up a recipe to suit my liking. This time, my experiment turned out to be pretty delicious.
**Tip: Make this sauce on a Sunday, and stick it in the fridge for later in the week when you just want to make something quick and easy for dinner.
Ingredients, grouped by steps
½ cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked overnight
1 small carrot, peeled, roughly chopped and boiled in water – approx. 15 minutes
¾ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic (approximately 1 tablespoon thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
2 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup pure pumpkin puree (canned or freshly made)
1 ½ teaspoon honey OR amber agave nectar (to make vegan)
4 San Marzano-style tomatoes, diced
1 cup juice from San Marzano-style tomatoes
(*Note: San Marzano-style tomatoes typically come in 28-ounce cans, so I drained 1 cup of juice from the can and diced 4 of the tomatoes, reserving the remaining juice and tomatoes for another weeknight dinner – probably tomato-braised jackfruit.)
*Special equipment: blender (or in a pinch, a food processor will work)
Step 1: Make a carrot-cashew cream.
Soak raw, unsalted cashews in cold water overnight. Drain water and put cashews in blender, along with the boiled carrot. Add vegetable broth (approximately ¾ cup, more or less) and blend until smooth and creamy.
Step 2: Sauté onion, garlic and spices.
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add onion. Sautee for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add all spices/herbs and sauté for 3 more minutes, continuing to stir frequently to scrape up any spices stuck to bottom of pot.
Step 3: Simmer pumpkin, carrot-cashew cream, honey/agave nectar and tomatoes.
Add pumpkin puree and honey/agave nectar to pot. Stir to evenly distribute. Add San Marzano-style tomatoes and juice. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add sauce to your favorite type of pasta, and top with your choice of garnish, such as toasted pecans or fresh basil.