I've had this recipe for Cheese, Peas and Pasta swirling around in my head for a while now - and when I whipped it up this morning for tonight's Meatless Monday dinner - I was thrilled with the results! This is an easy, vegan comfort food recipe your whole family will enjoy.
Meatless Monday. Even though everyday is meatless for me, I am still a big fan of the MM campaign. I think it is a great way to get everyone experimenting with new, creative meatless dishes for their family. Get my recipe and make it tonight!..
Grocery List. Stop off at the grocery store on your way home and make sure you have these items on hand: orecchiette pasta, nutritional yeast flakes (my fave brands I've tried are Bragg's and Kal), a small sweet potato, plain soy or hemp milk, a variety of dry spices like garlic/onion/cayenne/mixed, apple cider vinegar (optional), mustard, some sort of sweetener, frozen peas and some EVOO.
Peas 'n Cheese. I love peas and broccoli with some sort of vegan cheddar cheese. My broccoli cheddar soup is a good example of this. So I decided to add a few peas to my "Mac n Cheese" recipe today - but instead of using macaroni I decided to use orecchiette pasta because I love peas and orecchiette together. The way the bright green peas settle into little nooks and crannies - so delicious and elegant. Plus I love saying "orecchiette".
A mashed Sweet Potato adds a nice boost of vitamin A and fiber - as well a warm orange "cheesy" color and a sweet flavor. I love sweet potatoes (sweet potato facts)...
Nutritional Yeast "Cheese" Sauce. If you've never worked with nutritional yeast, I suggest you read my Nutritional Yeast 101 post here. Then take a look at my Vegan Mac n Cheese post. Then give this simple, sweet recipe a try.
Pass the Peas, Please! Peas are rich in fiber, veg protein (2g per half cup) as well as vitamins and minerals. Peas Nutritional Facts here. And if you don't like peas, sub with broccoli - yum. And if you don't like peas or broccoli - I say give them both another try with this cheesy recipe.
Pour on the peas, if you'd like!...
Broccoli Lovers?! ..or Pea Haters? If you are more of a broccoli fan than a pea fan, simply add 3 cups of broccoli florets to you pasta water 2 minutes before you remove pot from heat. This will lightly cook the broccoli in an easy fashion. Simply strain broccoli with the pasta and toss with "cheese" sauce as directed. Cheese, Broccoli and Pasta!:
Or stick with the peas - either way you'll have a delicious vegan dinner!..
Cheese, Peas and Pasta
vegan, serves 4-5 generously
1 bag orecchiette pasta, 16 ounces
3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
*start small and add more nutritional yeast as needed
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp garlic powder
1 medium or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled/baked
1 1/4 cups plain non-dairy milk (soy, hemp, or almond work best)
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
1 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning or harissa (opt'l)
a few dashes cayenne powder (opt'l)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (opt'l)
3 cups of steamed frozen or fresh peas, tossed in 1 Tbsp vegan buttery spread and fine black pepper
garnish: dash of cayenne and chopped parsley
1. Place your sweet potato in the oven or microwave to cook through.
2. Start a pot of salted water boiling on the stove. Add your pasta when boiling. Cook pasta for about 8-10 minutes - or until tender.
3. In a large bowl combine: soy or hemp milk, mustard, spices, nutritional yeast, agave, salt, vinegar and oil. Stir well until dry ingredients blend into liquid...
4. Check on your pasta and drain when ready. Pour drained pasta into another large bowl. I like to toss the freshly drained pasta with a drizzle of EVOO and a dash of nutritional yeast flakes. Note: You may want to reserve 2 Tbsp of pasta water and add to cheese sauce if you'd like - this simply thins it out a bit.
5. Grab your sweet potato and remove skin. Add it to the sauce. You can now a) mash by hand very well. Or b) Add the potato and sauce to a food processor and blend until smooth. (I did b, but both methods work)
6. Add the blended sauce to the pasta and toss well.
Vegan Cheesy Sauce:
Add to Pasta:
7. Heat up your frozen peas in the microwave or stove top. Use fresh peas if you have them. I like to toss mine with a tiny dollop of vegan butter and plentiful black pepper.
8. Warming the pasta: The pasta is warm enough to eat at this point - and the hot peas will heat it up a bit as well. But if you want extra hot pasta, pour it into a casserole dish, cover and heat at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes. You can even add some Daiya cheese to top for a super decadent cheesy pasta. But trust me, there is so much flavor - you really don't need extra "cheese".
9. Plate you pasta and pour about 3/4 cup of peas over each plate of pasta. Sprinkle some cayenne spice on top for a nice burst of heated flavor.
10. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or basil.
Serve! Leftovers are delicious as well...
Added Protein: You can easily add some delicious Tempeh Croutons to this recipe if you'd like. Use this tempeh crouton recipe.
Dinner is served...
Add lots of peas, if you'd like..