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OK — BRING ON THE FOOD!
OK guys, I have a serious secret to share with you….I mean, serious.
And that is the extraordinary awesomeness that is SOAKED CASHEWS.
OK, pause. Before you scratch your head in confusion, let me explain.
I love cashews. I really do. But I always just buy them raw, grind them up in my food processor and fuggeduhboutit. I mean, I had always seen the recipes that call for “soaked cashews,” but I never had the time or patience to plan ahead, and figured…how much of a difference could it really make? I mean, come on!
The answer? A LOT.
Yesterday, I knew I was going to have some time on my hands today. I booked a shoot coming up at the beginning of next week here in Ohio, so I’ve extended my trip until then. So I decided to create a little somethin’somethin’ extra delicious. And I figured, what the heck, might as well try out this whole “soaked cashew” phenomenon.
You. Guys. What happened to these raw cashews was nothing short of amazing. I took a picture to show you.
I soaked them in water for 24 hours. The right cashew is what they started out as. And here they are on the left, TRIPLED IN SIZE!
I couldn’t believe it. They absorbed the water and became creamy and soft – seriously like the consistency of cream cheese or butter.
I’ve seen the light. I’m converted. 😉
Anywho, given this revelation of the soaked cashew glory, I decided that it was time to tackle one of my former all-time favorite foods: Fettuccini Alfredo. Only this version would be Specific Carb Diet friendly and Vegan!
To all you who are shakin’ your head, or “SMH” as the youths today so eloquently put it, just hear me out: this dish was incredible.
And there’s a super secret ingredient here, folks. One that transforms this into a creamy and rich alfredo sauce. And it’s none other than….
Yep! This alfredo sauce is Gluten and Grain Free, Vegan, Specific Carb Diet friendly, AND Paleo!
So then…it must taste like sawdust or cardboard, right?? —- WRONG! It was superb!
Don’t believe me? I dare you to give it a try! 😀
Here’s what you need: (Serves 2)
1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight, or for 24 hours
1 cup cauliflower florets, roasted in 1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup cauliflower florets, steamed
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper
1 grate (or pinch) of fresh nutmeg
Optional: Unsweetened regular almond milk – room temperature
2 zucchini, made into noodles (OR noodle of choice)
Fresh basil, chopped – garnish
Tin Foil – I use Non-Stick, and it is seriously a game changer!
Veggie Spiralizer – (This is the one I use (just about every day) and LOVE)
Good Chef’s Knife
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a tin-foil lined, olive oil – sprayed baking sheet, toss 1 cup of your cauliflower florets with 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), and bake for 25 minutes, stirring once, halfway through.
Meanwhile, steam the other cup of cauliflower florets in a steamer basket, (or in the microwave) until very tender.
Also, sauce your onions and garlic in 1-2 Tbsp of EVOO, salt and pepper, over medium heat until the onions are soft and beginning to caramelize. This will take about 8-10 minutes.
Put your soaked and drained cashews in the food processor and process them until they form a smooth paste. Add your roasted and steamed cauliflower, onions and garlic to the food processor, and process until smooth. It will be thick and creamy. You may need to scrape the sides. I find it best to do this when it is still hot, as the steam helps the sauce “come together.” You may add 1-3 Tbsp plain almond milk if it is too thick. I did not. You may also add a grate of fresh nutmeg if desired.
Finally, with either a spiralizer, mandoline, or sharp knife, make your zucchini into noodles. You may also use any noodle of choice.
To plate, either top your zucchini noodles with the sauce and garnish with chopped fresh basil, or toss your noodles with the sauce and plate.
My goodness, you guys. What a TREAT! Back in my gluten-consuming days, Fettuccini Alfredo was my favorite “special occasion” dinner. And this brought me right back to that “happy place!”
The sauce was so creamy and rich from the cashews. And the combination of the nuttiness from the roasted cauliflower with the onions and garlic made for just a remarkable flavor.
It’s hard to believe that this dish is healthy because is tasted so darn decadent!
So, it may not be the belle of the ball as far as appearances go, but what it lacks in color, it definitely makes up for in flavor.
I will DEFINITELY be making this again!
What’s your favorite dish to make for special occasions?
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