It’s still early spring, which means it’s perfectly acceptable to share this cozy pasta recipe, right?
Pasta is the ultimate date night meal. And if you gussy it up with tempeh chorizo and a creamy cashew red pepper sauce, you’ll most definitely succeed in impressing your person. As my dad always says, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!” Actually, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. So even if you’re not making this for your special someone, you can still make this for your siblings, parents, that neighbour you just met, or even yourself (spoiling yourself with a pasta dinner like this is the best form of self-love!).
Almost every savoury recipe that you see on this blog has a balanced macronutrient ratio, and this one is a perfect example: tempeh chorizo provides protein, whole grain pasta provides carbohydrates, and the cashew red pepper sauce provides an ample amount of healthy fats. The sauteed kale adds micronutrients like calcium, vitamin K1, manganese, and cancer-fighting compounds. Cashews are also rich in micronutrients, including copper. Copper helps the body utilize iron, eliminates free radicals, and plays a role in the development of bone and connective tissue and in the production of melanin.
It actually makes the perfect meal to enjoy the night before a long run or hard workout. And aside from being healthy, this pasta tastes divine.
It comes together in just a few simple steps. First, you’ll make the tempeh chorizo, which is a recipe I developed in the very early days of blogging. However, instead of making 6 large patties, you’ll make 18 smaller ones.
Then, you’ll make the creamy roasted red pepper sauce. It’s a combination of soaked and drained raw cashews, roasted red pepper, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper.
The final step is cooking the pasta and sauteeing onions, garlic, celery, and kale, and tossing it all together.
All that remains to be done is serve the pasta and pour yourselves
a glass another glass of wine.
We enjoyed this pasta with a simple salad of radicchio, escarole, and a creamy avocado dressing that I’ll be sharing soon. The bitterness of the greens provided a really wonderful contrast to the richness of the dish.
Date Night Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Red Pepper Cream Sauce
Cashew Red Pepper Cream Sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours or hot water for 1 hour, drained
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 batch Tempeh Chorizo, made into 18 small patties (see note for recipe)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 medium bunch kale, chopped
- Red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 4 cups dry penne, rotini, fusili, or rigatoni pasta
- If you have not yet made the tempeh chorizo, do so before beginning anything else.
- Make the cashew cream sauce: Blend together the soaked and drained cashews, tomato paste, roasted red pepper, vegetable broth, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in a blender until very smooth and creamy. Transfer to a jar until ready to use.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium. Add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Saute for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the celery and cook 3 minutes more. Then add the kale, followed by the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook until the kale is just bright green. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and return to the pot. Add the sauteed greens and tempeh chorizo to the pot, followed by the cashew cream sauce. Toss to coat. Divide between bowls and enjoy with a glass of fine wine and a green salad.