My neighbours John, Sue, Tyler and Emily (below) were very open to the idea of trying a plant-based meal and I chose this dish as a good family option.
Emily has been vegan for a while and it was pleasing to introduce them to a dish everyone could enjoy. Tyler wasn’t around when we took the photo so I jumped in instead.
It is creamy, you would think it’s got some sort of milk or cream in it. No different to what you might get in an Italian restaurant except it doesn’t make you feel so bloaty, it’s quite natural.
It’s tasty but not overly done. Out of the blue you get a splash of spice but it’s not too spicy, and you think, “Oh that makes a pleasant change.” The mushroom evens it out quite nicely.
I wouldn’t normally use cashews because they’re expensive. That’s a reasonably quick meal. And also when you’re using cashews you realise how much healthier you’re eating.
Best thing I’ve had in months because all I eat is dumplings and Japanese buckwheat noodles. Are you sure it’s vegan? It’s creamy.
Creamy fettuccine with caramelised mushrooms and baby spinach
This pasta in a creamy and tasty sauce leaves you feeling good because it uses cashews rather than rich cream. Cashews may seem expensive at $35/ kg, although you can often find them for less in bags in the baking section of the supermarket.
This recipe uses 1 cup, which works out to about $1.25 per person if serving 4 people. Use raw cashews rather than roasted. In this dish we want them more for their creaminess than their flavour.
Savoury yeast/nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in the plant-based world. It has a cheesy, savoury flavour and I grew up eating it sprinkled on top of salads. You can usually find it in the health section of the supermarket or near the spices in vegetable stores.
A key point with this dish is to get the mushrooms nicely caramelised. Use a very hot pan so the moisture evaporates away rather than stewing on the bottom of the pan. Toss the spinach in right at the end to keep it bright green and vital. Fresh cracked pepper on top is a lovely finishing touch.
The sauce can also be used on cauliflower, for mac 'n' cheese, etc and it makes amazing leftovers. Get the recipe