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Vegan Cacio e Pepe

Vegan Cacio e Pepe has spaghetti in a minimalist creamy and slightly tangy cheese sauce with generous toasted black pepper. It’s easy to make and captures much of the simple satisfaction of the original.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Thomas

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds unsalted
  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews unsalted
  • 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut brine
  • 1/2 cup plant milk unflavored and unsweetened
  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper plus more for garnish
  • Vegan parmesan shredded (optional)

Instructions

Toast the Nuts and Seeds (Optional but Recommended)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). When the oven is hot, spread the almonds and cashews in a single layer. Roast until the cashews are golden brown. The almonds should also be done at this point. It can take up to 10 minutes. Be sure to stir the nuts often for more even roasting. Be careful not to over roast them.
  • You can toast the sesame seeds at the same time, though they’ll need less time - 2-3 minutes.

Boil the Pasta

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package, but 1-2 minutes less than the time recommended. Reserve 3 cups of the pasta boiling water before draining the pasta and setting it aside.

Blend the Sauce

  • Combine the toasted nuts and sesame seeds, the miso, nutritional yeast, sauerkraut brine, plant milk, and 1 cup of the pasta boiling water. Blend on high until smooth 1-2 minutes. You can gradually add pasta boiling water as needed, if there isn’t enough liquid for your blender to blend properly.

Combine and Saute

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the black pepper and give it a gentle stir, then let it toast for 1 minute.
  • Add the sauce and stir it together with the pepper. When the sauce reaches a simmer, add the pasta and stir well to coat evenly. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce reaches your desired consistency (it’s not intended to be especially saucy). And you can gradually stir in pasta boiling water as needed to thin out the sauce.

Garnish and serve

  • You can add more black pepper to the pasta, if you like, before serving. Sprinkle vegan parmesan, if using, over the pasta. Serve hot, immediately.

Notes

You can substitute cashew and/or almond butter for the toasted nuts, if you like. You should use half the volume recommended for whole nuts. The flavor may be slightly different but should still be tasty.