Pasta with Chipotle Cashew Cream

Chipotle Cashew Cream pasta

It feels like winter here right now, but the daffodils and hyacinths and tulips pushing their way out of the earth are beautiful reminders that spring is here, and it’s nearly time to plant that vegetable garden. This year, in addition to the usual staples like eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes, I hope to plant some delicious seeds for some difficult-to-find Indian veggies: a gift from my friend Roshani.

Roshani’s green thumb is quite an inspiration to a clumsy but eager gardener like me. She grows a variety of vegetables and herbs each year in her postage-stamp backyard and even has a raspberry bush and a fig tree crammed in there. What’s more, she’s made room for a rain barrel.

Me, my backyard is mostly the domain of my adventure-seeking two, Opie and Lucy. They rampage through it at will, trying to seek and sniff out every little bit of trouble they can get their noses into. The vegetable garden is out of their reach because it’s fenced off, although they do spend a lot of time looking at it and then me with soulful eyes, trying no doubt to hatch a plan to get in.

My recipe today is for a really simple but really special pasta dish that uses cashew cream. Cashew cream, popularized by the great vegan chef Tal Ronnen, is nothing but a very creamy, very delicious paste of soaked cashews. It makes a great substitute for cream in any dish–and a healthier one as well.

To make this dish, I add a little zip to my cashew cream with a chipotle chilli pepper. You can buy chipotle chillis in adobo sauce at any supermarket, in the South American foods aisle. It is usually available in little cans and, when refrigerated in an airtight box, it lasts forever. In my kitchen it’s an indispensable ingredient: I use it to add some smoky, sassy chutzpah to anything from curries to quesadillas to pasta.

Here’s the recipe.

Pasta with Chipotle Cashew Cream
Pasta with Chipotle Cashew Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pasta with Chipotle Cashew Cream
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
  • 1½ cups cashews, soaked overnight or at least 8 hours.
  • 1 chipotle chili with 1 tbsp of the adobo sauce (use more or less per your taste)
  • 1 16-ounce box of any pasta (I used whole-wheat fusilli, but you can use any small pasta or even a ribbony one like fettuccine.) Cook al-dente according to package directions.
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 8-oz package of button mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on their size
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  1. To make the chipotle cashew cream, drain the cashews, then grind them up into a really smooth paste with the chipotle chili and adobo sauce and enough water. You can use the soaking liquid. Add a little water at a time. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil and add the onions. Sprinkle some salt and saute them for a few minutes until they are soft and transclucent but not brown.
  3. Add the garlic, stir, and then add the tomatoes and the mushrooms. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and have broken down.
  4. Add the cashew cream, mix together, and immediately add the pasta.
  5. Stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce. If the pasta is too dry, add a cup or so of the pasta cooking water. Add salt to taste. Mix in the parsley.
  6. You can add other veggies to this along with the tomatoes. Asparagus, broccoli and peas would all be great, and so would some scallions or green onions. You could saute leeks for an extra-special dish.
  7. Enjoy, all!

Pasta with Chipotle Cashew Cream(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    This sounds so amazing, I am definitely making it! Chipotle cashew cream sauce = genius! Mushrooms and red onions = double yum!

  2. says

    The chipotle cashew cream would make an awesome enchilada sauce, too, maybe with some tomatoes in it. Then you could roast the onion and mushrooms and use them as filling.

  3. says

    My garden is the same way- it took us a few revisions in the design to make it fully doggie-proof! They used to whine and bark at us when we were on the garden side, but now they’re used to it lol!

    Love the pasta!

  4. says

    Oooh that sounds delicious! I usually use chipotles in Mexican dishes, but pasta opens up a whole world of possibilities. Great idea!

  5. says

    The pasta looks incredible-I love cashew cream and it might be because it reminds me of the Indian “party dishes” like korma that also use ground cashews.

    I’d love to read about what Indian vegetables you plant in your garden. We just got a 60 sq feet plot in the community garden and I am wondering what to plant there- there is 3 feet of snow on the ground here (!) so Spring seems far far away.

  6. says

    Lauren, Sanyukta, Mihl, Debra, KMouse, Thanks!

    Claire, That sounds delicious.

    Divya, Thanks.

    VegSpinz, What’s it with those doggies, right? They can’t keep their little noses out of anything. :)

    T, Thanks.

    Nupur, Thanks and yes, I use cashew cream a lot too in Indian dishes instead of regular cream or coconut milk.
    I will be sure to update you folks on which Indian seeds I’ll be planting. Meanwhile, my friend Roshani who gave me the seeds had sent me this link where she gets hers from:

    Priya, Thanks.

  7. says

    Hey, just tried your waffle recipe and loved it! My little girl is allergic to eggs so we trying vegan recipes everyday now. I have a recipe blog I share just with my friends and family I was wondering if you mind if I post your recipe and picture on it? I would reference your site and a link.


  8. says

    Jennifer, glad you liked it, and feel free to post the recipe and picture. I’d love to see the post once it’s up. Thanks for the feedback!

  9. says

    Your writing has made me embrace chipotle chillies. I am totally in love with your idea of fusing Mexican and Indian spices. I made your cabbage rice(yet again) with the addition of a chipotle chill and cooked garbanzo and black eyed peas.Wish you loved nearer, would have had you over too.
    Have a nice day!

  10. says

    I made this last night and my husband and I both loved it. It reminded me of pasta primavera, which I don’t eat any more.
    I added a sliced yellow pepper, and some asparagus- tons of veggies and the sauce covered them all.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  11. says

    Sounds yum! Now I just have to find chipotles (I’ve never seen chipotles in adobo sauce, but in Finland I was able to find chipotle sauce at least, here in Amsterdam no such luck yet in seven months).

  12. says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful pasta, tasted really great.
    If you won’t get any chipotle I am sure Hot Pimenton de la Vera which is easily to get in Europe will work instead.

  13. Stacey in Texas says

    I have a question about the water you reference when making the cashew cream sauce .. is it the water that the cashews have soaked in and how much do I use?

    • says

      Use enough water to make a smooth paste. Add a little bit at a time to ensure you don’t make the cream too thin. And yes, you can use the water you soaked the cashews in.

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