Necessity is often the mother of invention. Sometimes it’s leftovers. Sometimes it’s having a block of silken tofu, or a bag of frozen cauliflower, instead of a cup of cashews. This recipe came about as a creative use of leftover “chipotle hollandaise” from my Vegan Chicken and Cornbread Waffle Benedict recipe. I just tossed some brown rice pasta with the sauce and topped it with some leftover canned fried onions, and the rest is history. But then I wanted to make it again, but I didn’t have cashews, so I used a block of silken tofu. And the rest of that was history. Then I tried it again one day, using a cauliflower cream sauce recipe, and history was made again.

Below is the basic recipe, with the three cream sauce variations. You will produce enough sauce to coat about a pound of dried pasta.

For the cashew cream version, you will need:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • ¾ cup filtered water

Or, for the tofu cream version:

  • 1 package of Mori-Nu Silken Tofu (any density)

Or, for the cauliflower and cashew cream version, based off of this recipe:

  • 1 cup of roughly chopped cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup of filtered water

And then the remaining ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup chopped onion.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • juice of half of  a lemon (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste or 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon “No Chicken” flavor
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons roasted red bell pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeds and veins removed. (or more, depending how how spicy or flavorful you want it.)
  • Red pepper flake to taste, for heat
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • French fried onions (for the top)

For the cashew and tofu versions:

Add the onions to a pan with a bit of oil or vegan butter (optional), and saute until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute.

Add your cream sauce ingredients, the garlic and onions, and the remaining ingredients into a blender. Blend until all the grit is gone and you are left with a very creamy sauce. Add more liquid if it seems too thick. Season to taste. Make it punchy! Heat the sauce in a pan, and then toss with your favorite pasta. Top with fried onions.

For the cauliflower and cashew version:

Add all of the ingredients, except for the roasted red peppers and the chipotle peppers,  to an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes, and then quick release. (if you Carefully pour the contents of the instant pot into a blender, add the chipotle peppers, and blend until creamy. Add more liquid if it seems too thick. Season to taste. Make it punchy!

Toss with your favorite pasta, and top with fried onions.