This recipe reminds me a little bit of a spinach-artichoke dip tossed with pasta – rich and creamy, but much lower in fat and totally free of cholesterol. It’s so creamy and yummy, your whole family will love it! This recipe is a deliciously decadent, yet still light, healthy and kid-friendly way to enjoy kale – one of the world’s healthiest vegetables.
I use frozen kale in this recipe, which makes for a much quicker, easier prep. Cooked with onions and garlic, it couldn’t be simpler.
You’ll never guess the secret ingredient that helps lower the calorie density of this rich, creamy sauce…steamed yellow squash! I blend the yellow squash with raw cashews, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, ume plum vinegar and a bit of pepper and nutmeg to create a luxurious, cheesy tasting sauce that is cholesterol-free and much lower in fat and calories than dairy-based sauces and even lower in fat than many vegan sauces that use oil, vegan butter or lots of nuts. By using a small amount of nuts blended with steamed vegetables, it’s easy to get the rich texture and flavor we all crave.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do. Please give it a try and leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!
- 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta (Substitute gluten-free pasta, if desired. I like Banza pasta, which is made from chickpea flour for a high-protein, GF option.)
- ½ of a 16-ounce bag frozen chopped kale or 1 small bunch of fresh kale, cleaned and chopped (it’s OK to leave the stems on)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
Low-fat Cashew Cheese Sauce
- 1/2 cup raw cashews * See Note
- 1 ½ cups yellow summer squash, steamed for 5–7 minutes or until tender
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons yellow miso (use chickpea miso to make recipe gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
- A few turns freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg, optional
- 1/2 cup water
Garnish: a couple tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, optional
- Start water boiling for pasta in a large 8-quart pot. Make the sauce by placing the cashews, cooked squash, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, ume plum vinegar, pepper, nutmeg and water in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, sauté onion for 5-10 minutes, adding water a tablespoon or two at a time as necessary to prevent sticking, until onions are tender and caramelized. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Once onion and garlic are tender and golden, add frozen kale along with ¼ cup of water, cover and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until kale is bright green and tender.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and add back to pot. Add cooked onion-garlic-kale mixture, chopped artichokes and sauce to pasta. Toss gently and serve in four large shallow bowls garnished with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Note: If using a standard blender, rather than a high-powered one like a Vitamix, soak your nuts in water for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours, then drain and use as directed. This will make the nuts softer and easier to blend.
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Pasta
Nutrition Facts: Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. It is high in antioxidants, phytochemicals and is an excellent source of calcium. Kale has also been shown to boost the immune system. In fact, the immunostimulatory effect of cooked kale is even more effective than that of raw kale! However, most Americans never eat kale or any dark leafy green for that matter. Artichokes are also one of the richest food sources of antioxidants, while the allium family of vegetables (garlic, onions, leeks, shallots) are one of the most powerful cancer-fighting groups of foods we can eat.
Dairy-based cheese sauces are rich in saturated fat, cholesterol and the cow’s milk protein, casein, which Dr. T. Colin Campbell has called, “The most dangerous chemical carcinogen ever discovered.” A cheese sauce based on yellow squash and raw cashews is cholesterol-free and low in fat and by enjoying it instead of dairy-based products, you’ll lose weight and reduce your risk of chronic disease.
This recipe contains three powerfully nutritious vegetables along with a base of filling protein and fiber rich whole grain pasta paired with an indulgent-tasting, dairy-free cream sauce for a healthy, hearty and satisfying meal.
Recipe by Emily Honeycutt, 2016. © All Rights Reserved. https://www.deliciouslygreen.com