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So, I had this really horrible/awkward dream that I had super hairy feet. Like, hobbit hairy. Like curly, dark hairs rising at least an inch off my foot. And because it was a dream, there was obviously no way I could shave it. Duh. Needless to say, I woke up rather pleased that I only have a normal amount of hair on my feet, and that if it ever becomes a problem I can totally shave it off. Awesome, right?
Soo let’s talk about radicchio?
AJ recently purchased a cookbook for me just for fun out of the blue – he’s that kind of [amazing] guy. It’s called Bitter, by Jennifer McLagan, and I’m definitely going to do a review and share a recipe from it one of these days. But moral of the story is that I am now super into bitter foods. There are so many foods that I’ve avoided that I’ve been scared to try simply because I didn’t know what they were – and one of these is radicchio.
Radicchio is often included in salad mixes, where those who are sensitive to bitter flavors generally pick around them. But if you concentrate on that bitter flavor and taste it for what it is, it can be real darn good! It looks like a mini head of red cabbage with very white ribs. The leaves aren’t packed super tight, so they will give a bit when squeezed.
The other (and possibly main?) star of this show is the cashew cream sauce. Seriously, I never knew that alfredo sauce was even possible without the cream. So much cream! So I used cashews instead, and man am I stoked.
If I didn’t know it was made with cashews, I would never have guessed it was dairy free. So thick & creamy and cheesy tasting, without all the bad-for you ingredients! What a perfect plant-based pasta sauce! I am in love.
I know I am not the first one to come up with this, not by a long shot, but that doesn’t curb my enthusiasm. This stuff is real.
Another bonus? Gluten free noodles! I bought the brown rice penne noodles from Trader Joe’s and I loved them. Every time I use them I think “hey, these are good! We should use them more.”
But then next time I’m at the store, I just reach for the regular ones out of habit… and my whole plan goes down the drain. But not this time! This time I remembered, and I love love it. AJ didn’t even notice anything was off with the noodles – I told him after we ate that they were gluten-free. Not bad!
But you feel free to use whatever pasta you like! I’ve been recently obsessed with Foodal’s easy and simple method of cooking whole wheat pasta in the pressure cooker.
This dish only takes about a half hour to make, though you do have to soak the cashews for one hour beforehand. I just threw them into some hot water together before we left for our bike ride, then made the meal when we got home. Very week-night friendly!
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 12–16 oz uncooked penne pasta,* gf if needed
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 head radicchio, chopped
- 2 Tbsp butter, vegan or otherwise (I used Earth Balance)
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Measure out the water and heat in the microwave until boiling. Add the cashews and let soak for 1 hour, or more if necessary.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. When al dente, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
- While the pasta cooks, add the cashews and their soaking water to a good quality blender and blend until very smooth. This may take a while, possibly up to 2 minutes. Feel the cream between your fingers to make sure it is not grainy (a tiny bit is okay). Transfer the cream back to a measuring cup and add water to bring it up to 1 1/4 cups. Mix well.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sliced garlic and let cook until they are just starting to brown, about one minute. Very carefully, pour the cashew cream into the butter, stirring while you pour if you can (use a long-handled spoon or wear protective gear if needed).
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and stir in the nutritional yeast and salt. Let it cook for another minute or two until nicely thickened.
- While the sauce thickens, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped radiccio. Cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, until softened but still recognizable.
- Toss the noodles and the cream sauce until evenly distributed, and serve with the radiccio on top. Enjoy!
– If you prefer a higher cream to noodle ratio, use 12 oz of pasta. We used 16.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Comfort Food
Keywords: pasta alfredo, vegan, gluten-free, radicchio
If vegan pasta recipes makes your tongue tickle, then these will also make your tummy tingle:
- Lemon Basil Orzo Pasta Salad with Vegan Parmesan
- Vegan Caramelized Eggplant and Pesto Pasta
- Easy Vegan Skillet Lasagna
Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 3rd, 2014. Last updated: July 9, 2023 at 9:29 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).