Creamy Pesto Pasta – dairy-free

October 5, 2013


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I love a cashew cream sauce.  It is my go-to sauce for creamy pasta dishes or my infamous risotto.  I was happy when a friend recommended this recipe since there is a plethora of fresh basil around.  The flavour is amazing and if you have picky kids/husbands like I do, they are not going to argue with you if they try this creamy sauce.  This could be both a side or a main dish keeping in mind that this recipe is high in protein and B12 vitamins which makes it ideal for both.  It can also be served hot or cold.



  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 T. flour (I opted out of the flour and used an alternative, gluten-free thickener here)
  • 2 cups dairy-free unsweetened almond milk, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews (the original recipe does not ask to soak cashews but it does create a better consistency when done)
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t. sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 lb pasta of choice (I used a gluten-free brand)


1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 T. of the olive oil, adding the onion and garlic once hot. Be sure to stir often and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the fresh basil and cook until it is wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.


2. In the same saucepan, heat the remaining 1 T. of olive oil. Whisk in the flour using and cook for about 1 minute, or until the flour smells slightly toasted. Slowly add the almond milk, stirring until the mixture is thickened. Add the basil mixture to the pan and combine. Remove from heat and set aside.


3. In a blender, process the raw cashews until the mixture resembles very fine, powdery crumbs. Add the basil mixture, nutritional yeast, and sea salt, and process until creamy. Return to the saucepan and heat until desired temperature and consistency, adding more milk or sea salt if required.


4. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat the noodles. Serve immediately, garnishing with sprigs of fresh basil if desired.




The original recipe can be found here.