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bowl of pasta with red pepper flakes.

Creamy Cajun Pasta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Alexis Joseph
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Meals
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cajun
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Rich and creamy Cajun Pasta packed with veggies in a luxurious, flavor-packed tomato cream sauce. Weeknight dinner just got make more exciting! You'd never guess this pasta is easy to make and dairy free. It has a nice kick but isn't overly spicy. Satisfying on its own and also a great canvas for adding your favorite protein, like shrimp, chicken, or chickpeas. See recipe notes for more details.


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the pasta:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 16oz penne, rotini, or bowtie pasta (I like brown rice pasta, reserve 2 cups cups pasta water)
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced (I used 2 cups frozen bell peppers)
  • 8oz sliced baby Bella or cremini mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup parsley leaves, chopped

For the Cajun spice mixture:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place cashews in a small bowl and cover with hot water.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of pasta water (I put the strainer over a large liquid measuring cup). Return pasta to pot. 
  3. Whisk together Cajun seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. 
  4. In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add onion, peppers, mushrooms, and Cajun seasoning. Sauté for 8 minutes, stirring often, until softened. 
  5. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat. 
  6. Drain cashews. Add to a blender (I used my Nutribullet) with fire roasted tomatoes and 1/2 cup of cooled reserved pasta water. Blend until very smooth and creamy.
  7. Pour cream sauce over vegetables. Stir in 1 more cup of reserved pasta water. Add sauce to pot with pasta, tossing to combine. Stir in parsley, season to taste, and serve hot! 

Notes

  • Shrimp would be delish here! Rinse and pat dry 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp. Sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Once you transfer veggie cream sauce to pasta pot, you can use that skillet to cook shrimp. Warm a splash of oil and cook shrimp for 2 minutes, not moving, then flip and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve with pasta.
  • The pasta will absorb the sauce as it sits, so I like to save the extra reserved pasta water and add it to the pasta (or leftovers) as needed to loosen the sauce.