Zoodles with Cashew Cream Sauce
So I obviously have a love affair with cashew butter! I'm so obsessed and use it for everything! Why? I love the flavor and it is so smooth and creamy, making it excellent for sauces and baking. It's a lot like peanut butter, the closest nut butter to PB, in my opinion. This sauce is just like a peanut sauce. I used to make this sauce all the time as a quick one pan lunch for myself. I would just sautée some zoodles with ghee and add a huge scoop of cashew butter, spices, red pepper flakes, and a little water or coconut milk to thin it out and boom. Amazing flavor! You may have seen a rough draft kinda recipe on whole30 recipes a couple months back. I've played around with it for a long time, thinning it out with water, coconut milk, ghee and rice wine vinegar. Well, I finally measured stuff!
This recipe is real versatile, super easy and you can omit or substitute lots of things! I find the best "sauce" comes from a 1:1 ratio of cashew butter and thinner. Water is the easiest thinner! It works great and the sauce is still creamy and packed with flavor. Coconut milk is good too, just make sure to use both the liquid and fat combined, you may need to blend the can before you measure it. Skipping the vinegar will result fine. The sesame oil is not necessary, I just love the extra layer of flavor that it adds. Add your favorite veggies or some protein. The only things I ask that you not omit are the cashew butter (duh), cilantro, and red pepper flakes. There's nothin'like fresh cilantro! If you don't like things too spicy, start with 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and add more if you want.
Let's talk about zoodles. I use a spirooli. I love it! I love to brag about how I thrifted it for under $2.00, unopened in it's box! Best day ever. There are lots of tools out there now to spirilize veggies with. A mandolin works great and even a veggie peeler (what you would peel potatoes, carrots and beets with) makes awesome "linguine" style noodles. You can spirilize, or linguine-ify (what?!) zuchinni, yellow summer squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, yams... Pretty much any root veggie! Another alternative for "noodles" is spaghetti squash. Once you've spirilized your zuchinni, you want to cook it just a little bit to take the bite out. At my house, one of us (me) likes them "el dente" so I sautée them just a few minutes in ghee. Someone else like them overdone to soft (not a fan). So I guess it depends on your personal preference! Another option is to blanch them, or just drop them in boiling water for a minute or 2.
The sauce in the recipe serves 4 as a side dish and about 2 as a main dish. 1 cup of zoodles or spirilized veggie is great with 1-2 tbsp sauce. You can make a big batch of sauce and reheat as needed. It's thick in the fridge but will thin out when re-heated. The whole batch of sauce will coat about 8 cups of raw zoodles, which seems like a lot but it's really not! Once cooked, they shrink down. We usually eat a zuchinni each person, about 2 cups. This is getting confusing! I encourage you to make the full portion of this sauce listed, then dip random stuff in it as needed. I've been guilty of eating it off a finger.
Ok, done talking! Here is the recipe!
*serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main
8 cups raw zoodles (spirilized zuchinni)
6 green onions (scallions), chopped into rounds1/2 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup water or coconut milk (full fat unsweetened and canned)
2 tbsp coconut sugar *omit for whole30
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh torn Cilantro, plus extra to garnish
1/4 cup cashews, crushed. Plus extra to garnish.
2 tbsp Ghee (to sautée zoodles in)
1 tbsp sesame oil (to drizzle)
1. Combine cashew butter, water, coconut sugar, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, granulated garlic and salt in a small sauce pan and heat on low to combine and make a sauce.
2. While that is warming, sautée your zoodles and green onions in ghee.
3. Add cilantro and chopped cashews to zoodles and sautée for 1-2 minutes.
4. When zoodles are cooked, add sauce to the pan and mix to combine OR portion individually, and dollop sauce on zoodles.
5. Garnish with chopped cashews and fresh cilantro.
6. Drizzle with sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired, Enjoy!