Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vegan Creamy Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta

Vegan Creamy Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta
Summer is all about fresh ingredients! Fresh herbs and veggies make your summer that much more enjoyable...and tasty. We look for our dishes to be that fresh and delish all the time and when we find one, it sticks. At the same time we want to have comfort foods from time to time and still incorporate those fresh flavors. This recipe combines those fresh ingredients while still giving you the comfort of a hearty meal. Great served straight out of the oven for the family or served cold as nice side dish or party food. You will love the pop of flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes and the lovely and tasty strains of basil that runs threw the pasta. Serves great with a fresh garden salad, your favorite bread, and maybe even a nice glass of vegan wine. All you have to do now is get in the kitchen and start making it. Enjoy!

Vegan Creamy Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta


-1 to 2 Tablespoons oil
-1 1 lb box rigatoni pasta, cooked (Regular, whole grain, etc.)
-1 container homemade Vegan Parmesan Flavored Soft Cheese (Recipe Below)
-4 plain vegan chicken cutlets, chunked into bite size pieces (Gardein)
-1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
-1 heaping cup sun-dried tomatoes
-1 cup reserved pasta water (as needed)
-1 cup canned full fat coconut milk (or any milk you like)
-1 to 2 Tablespoons vegan grated Parmesan cheese
-1 1/2 cup grated vegan cheese (Daiya Jack or Mozzarella) 
-1 1/2 Tablespoons dried parsley
-1 1/2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
-Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


Heat oven to 400 Degrees

Cook your pasta as directed on package, Drain well but saving 1 cup of the cooking liquid for your sauce as needed. 

Cooking Pasta
Cooking Pasta
Meanwhile in a food processor, mince sun-dried tomatoes, scrapping the processor as needed. 

Minced Sun-dried Tomatoes
When the tomatoes have been minced, add in the homemade cheese and puree with the tomatoes. You need to add the coconut milk slowly to incorporate it together. You are looking for a smooth but semi-thick sauce. 

Ready to use Sauce
Ready to use Sauce
Pour this now prepared sauce into your drained saucepan or large bowl. Add in Pasta and chopped basil, mix to combine.

Sauce in Saucepan with Basil
Sauce in Saucepan with Basil
Mixed Pasta & Sauce in Saucepan
Once pasta and sauce has been combined, add in chopped chicken, vegan parmesan, salt & pepper to taste, and reserved pasta water as needed for thickness. 

Mixed Pasta with added Vegan Chicken,
Water, & Seasoning to taste
When this mixture has been combined, take it and place it in a glass baking dish. 

*If you want to not bake it, you can serve it at this point without the topping. You can also chill and serve for a cold dish for later use as well.* 

Pasta in Baking Dish
Pasta in Baking Dish
(Ready for Cheese)
Top this now place pasta with the vegan shredded cheese, nutritional yeast, 1/2 Tbsp parsley, salt & pepper to taste, and oil. 

Ready to Bake Pasta
Ready to Bake Pasta
Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese on top is melted and the pasta is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes to slightly cool. Serve with a fresh garden salad, your favorite bread, and beverage. Enjoy!

Ready to Serve Pasta
Ready to Serve Pasta


Vegan Parmesan Flavored Soft Cheese


-1 cup raw blanched whole cashews
-1 1/2 cups water and extra for soaking
-2 Tablespoon agar flakes
-1/4 cup nutritional yeast
-1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
-1/2 teaspoon salt


Take your cashews and place them in a dish and cover with water to soak the cashews. Do this for at least 4 hours or even a couple days. Rinse and drain the cashews when they have been soaked.

The day you want to make the cream cheese. Bring the 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the agar agar flakes to the boiling water. Cook for five minutes, whisk constantly until the agar is dissolved completely. Once done boiling, set aside to get ready to use. 

Put the drained cashews into a blender with all the remaining ingredients. 

Ready to Blend Soaked Cashews with Ingredients
Ready to Blend Soaked Cashews with Ingredients
Place the set boiled liquid into a measuring cup (for easy pouring). Pour in the liquid *CAREFULLY* and blend on high until very smooth. You may need to scrap down sides as needed. 

Almost Smooth Vegan Cheese Base
Blending Vegan Cheese Base
Finished Vegan Cheese Base
(At this point you can stir in other flavorings you may like. Herbs, jalapenos, cracked pepper, etc.)

Pour into a storage dish that has been lined with plastic wrap.

Prepared Container
Ready to Chill Vegan Cheese
Place in the fridge and chill until it has firmed up but spreadable. 

Set-Up Vegan Cheese
You can store it in an airtight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator and use within a week, like any fresh food.

*When using for the pasta recipe, place in the microwave and heat threw for 2 to 3 minutes to soften it a bit. Easier to manage and process.*


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