the taste space

Red Lentil Fusilli with a Zippy Vegan Rose Sauce

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on January 19, 2013

It wasn’t until I became a vegan that I started worrying about the nutritional content of my food.  I had no idea how many calories I should eat, how much protein I should consume or how to create a balanced meal.

Now I know better. I aim to create meals that are properly nutritionally balanced, aiming for more than 50g/d. Knowing that my major sources of protein are from beans, leafy greens, whole grains and a smaller amount from nuts and seeds, a meal feels incomplete without them. Where are my beans?? Where are my vegetables?

So you may be scratching your head, wondering why the heck I would post a recipe for pasta with a rose sauce, the seemingly antithesis of what I eat on a daily basis. However, this dish is packed with all good things.

First, the sauce is a zippy tomato-based creamy vegan rose sauce. All of the vegetables are roasted to create a lovely, creamy backdrop: roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, roasted garlic and roasted shallots. I sprinkled Aleppo chili flakes overtop to add a nice zip to the sauce. The cheesiness of a standard rose sauce is achieved with nutritional yeast, without being overpowering and cashew butter as a thickener. Throw it into your blender for an easy, delicious sauce.

But what to pair it with?

I recently picked up a package of red lentil pasta. Beans hidden in pasta form! Made by Eco Chefs, the only ingredients are red lentils and water and thus pack a nice amount of protein compared to other pastas. While I often use zucchini as a pasta substitute, it was nice to be able to have fusilli-shaped pasta. My spiralizer can’t do that to any zucchini. ;)

Next time, I may try blending in white beans, like in my High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta or add in more greens.

This is my submission to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.

Red Lentil Fusilli with Zippy Vegan Rose Sauce
Adapted from Vegan Richa

1 pint cherry tomatoes (2 cups)
1-1/3 cups chopped cauliflower
4 small shallots, halved (1/2 cup)
1/2 head of garlic, top sliced off
1 tsp olive oil, or oil of choice
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, or more, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp cashew butter
5 tbsp nutritional yeast, or to taste
1 cup almond milk (I used sweetened) or your choice of nondairy milk

1 package (227g) red lentil fusilli (or pasta of choice)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Meanwhile, in a large roasting pan covered by a silpat, combine the tomatoes, cauliflower, and shallots. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the chili flakes and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Drizzle a touch of oil on the head of garlic, and wrap in aluminum foil.

4. Place vegetables and head of garlic in the oven and roast until caramelized, around 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to make sure nothing burns. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

5. As it cools, prepare your pasta: Boil your water and boil the noodles. Drain.

6. As the noodles cook, remove garlic cloves and add all vegetables to a blender, making sure to scrape up any bits of caramelized goodness on the silpat.

7. Add cashew butter, nutritional yeast and almond milk to blender and blend until smooth. Thin with additional almond milk, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Combine sauce with noodles. Devour.

Serves 4.

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27 Responses

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  1. Erica said, on January 19, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    This looks amazing!

  2. Leslie said, on January 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    yum! this looks so creamy and satisfying. i love the idea of using cauliflower as a base for the sauce — i’ve made a creamy vegan cheez sauce before based on red lentils, but this looks so much more interesting with the roasted veggies. most vegan creamy sauces i find are based on nuts, which, although delicious, makes things so rich. this looks so much fresher, and healthier. thanks for the recipe!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 20, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Thanks Leslie. I agree, while nut-based sauces can taste delicious, they can also be too heavy for me. I like that the little bit of cashew butter goes a long way in the sea of veggies. :)

  3. Emma said, on January 19, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Another great use of cauliflower :) The humble white vegetable is definitely finding its way into more kitchen more and more these days- it’s so versatile.
    The red lentil pasta sounds interesting, it really is amazing what you can get on the market now, I saw a tofu pasta recently too, although that still incorporates wheat flour http://www.veganessentials.com/catalog/organic-tofu-elbow-macaroni.htm

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 20, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      For sure. One might think cauliflower is bland but then you realize that means versatile. ;) Those noodles look interesting, but I agree, I don’t think there’s much tofu in it since the protein isn’t as high as I would expect. I wonder if they are using it as an egg-like substitute?

  4. Allysia Kerney said, on January 19, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Oh how I love rose sauce, but seldom have it! And yeah, white beans are great blended into sauces. This looks very lovely and healthy considering that most rose sauces are just cream and cheese heavy! Totally pinning this.

  5. Hannah said, on January 19, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Absolutely perfect (though I was at first surprised to see tomatoes in the middle of winter!). Cashew butter and nutritional yeast make the world go around.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 20, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Thanks Hannah! Yeah, I still eat cherry tomatoes in the winter. The only tomatoes that have some sort of tomato-flavour.. even better after roasted, too.

  6. Cinnamon Vogue said, on January 19, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Brilliant recipe. Red Lentils rock. The best source of proteins and very cheap too. Of course if everyone starts eating it, the price might go up. I was going to say Cashew butter is fattening but a Google check revealed that Cashew butter is composed of heart healthy unsaturated fat. But I am curious as to why this recipe needs yeast. Never heard of nutritional yeast.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 20, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      Nutritional yeast adds the cheesy flavour. I don’t like too much of it, but it adds a a nice umami flavour as well. :)

  7. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on January 19, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I love how comforting this meal looks- seems like a simple with pasta and cream sauce (something that used to be a staple for me) but BAM you snuck in protein and veggie! Awesome :)

  8. narf77 said, on January 19, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    That sauce looks amazing (I bet it tastes amazing too). Packed full of all sorts of things it could be snuck past even the fussiest eater in this form :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 20, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      Yes, you could totally sneak this by veggie haters, methinks. :)

      • narf77 said, on January 20, 2013 at 9:31 PM

        I don’t have any veggie haters but should I meet any, this is going to be my go-to recipe to fill them with green goodness ;)

  9. Joanne said, on January 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    Whoa! Crazy cool pasta! I know whole foods has some black bean pastas but I’ve never seen red lentil!

    That sauce sounds so creamy delicious.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 20, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      They have mung bean and chickpea, too! I haven’t tried them yet though.. but the red lentil is pretty good. :)

  10. Eileen said, on January 21, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Wait, the red lentils are in the pasta? I thought’s they’d be melted into the sauce for sure! Very Interesting Indeed. And the veg and cashew cream sounds perfect. :)

  11. Stephanie - The Travel Chica said, on January 21, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    I must try this pasta! Gotta love technology :-)

  12. Johanna GGG said, on January 22, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Being vegetarian I feel a bit the same about my diet – when others cook for me (and for my little girl) I often have to bite my tongue to stop myself asking where are the vegetables and proteins – and it makes me wonder what sort of diet they eat! I’ve never heard of a rose sauce but I suspect that I would love your version far more than any regular one

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 22, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      Thanks, Johanna. A traditional rose sauce is a mix of tomato and alfredo, hence the name rose! I like how cauliflower makes it creamy yet light at the same time. :)

  13. Richa said, on January 28, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    oh wow. i havent tried lentil pasta. that goes into must do this year.:). there isnt anything lentils and cauliflower cant do:) i love your zipped up version! thanks for the shout out!

  14. [...] are commonly added to sauce to make them smooth (cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato and roasted tomatoes come to mind), and I have even added carrots to smoothies before (for a strawberry-mango-carrot [...]

  15. […] the sauce was too chunky for such delicate pasta. Instead, I pulled out a chunky noodle. We have tried a few bean-based pastas, but this was a different brand and a different bean. Made with chickpeas […]

  16. […] that is finally getting its time in the limelight. Is cauliflower the new kale? Roasted, riced, pureed, mashed, curried, I have done it all. The last one on my hit-list was to make cauliflower […]


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