I love when time allows me to get creative in the kitchen. Even more, I love when that creativity produces something magical. It doesn’t always happen y’all so I take pride when it does. I was inspired to make this when I ran across a non-vegan version on Pinterest. I used what ingredients I had on hand though, so it wasn’t exactly as the original. I can’t speak for their recipe, but my finished product turned out pretty darn good.
The cashew based garlic cream sauce really makes this dish feel indulgent, but made with zero dairy, it’s much lower in fat and calories. The chicken and bacon make it a hearty dish too so there was no need for a side dish or salad. The serving could easily stretch to six if you add a salad.
I’m already thinking of making this recipe again with some tweaks. If you make it, I’d love to hear your take. It’s definitely one to keep in the book.
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- 2 tbls olive oil
- 1/2 package soy curls Soaked for 10 minutes, drained, excess water squeezed out and seasoned with vegan chicken seasoning
- 1 package Sweet Earth Bacon, chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 12 grape tomatoes, cut in half long ways
- 2 bunches spinach
- 3 handfuls raw unsalted cashews
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 fresh lemon juice
- 8 oz gluten-free fusilli or penne pasta
- 1/2 cup Follow Your Heart Parmesan Cheese
- 2 cups Water
- Note: I cooked the soy curls in the air fryer prior to adding them to the pasta. If you cook use an air fryer follow these instructions and then pick up on the recipe instructions below at cooking the bacon. Spray the air fryer with avocado oil, enough to prevent sticking. Cook curls at 390 for 8 minutes, shaking the basket half way through. Once done, set aside. Add the curls to the skillet pan once you lower the heat to add the tomatoes and spinach; add in all seasonings at this point. If not using air fryer method, follow the below directions from the beginning.
- Make pasta according to directions, drain and set aside. Meanwhile heat a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is heated add the olive oil and soy curls to the pan, add all the seasonings except the red pepper flakes, stir frequently for about 3 minutes. Add the bacon to the pan of chicken and continue to cook for another 3 or so minutes. While the chicken and bacon are cooking, put the cashews, garlic, and water in a high speed blender and blend on medium speed until a smooth sauce forms. You want it like a cheese sauce, not too runny or thick, add more water in small increments if needed. Add the lemon juice to the cashew sauce and blend enough to incorporate, set the sauce aside. When the chicken and bacon are slightly browned and crisp, lower the heat to medium low and add the tomatoes, spinach and red pepper flakes, stir gently until the spinach has wilted, then add the cashew garlic sauce and mix well. Lastly, add the pasta noodles to the same pan and stir well until all the noodles are incorporated into the sauce. Serve in bowls and top with some vegan Parmesan.