Clean Eats, Recipes

“Creamy” Red Sauce

I’m not a big red sauce person but was really in the mood for something different on my pasta. I knew of a great vegan “cheese” sauce recipe so I was inspired to tweak it and created this “creamy” red sauce. I made it with pantry staples so it was easy and quick to throw together. Plus, the flavor really surprised me. It truly felt like I was eating a dairy-based creamy red sauce and it completely tricked my taste buds.

This would be great over my Pasta with Veggies & Chicken recipe!

You need a high speed/powerful blender, and a couple of specialty ingredients such as nutritional yeast and miso paste, but once you have these items in your pantry you can use them in a number of ways. For example, anytime you want to add a “cheesy” flavor to something without adding diary, nutritional yeast is a great substitute. I sprinkle it over my pasta like parmesan, top popcorn with it (yum!), and add it to sauces to add richness. Miso paste can add a nice salty component to Asian sauces, or you can simply add a spoonful to a cup of hot water for a nutritional broth or soup.

1/2 diced red onion
2 cloves garlic (diced)
2 Tablespoons EVOO 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 handfuls (appox 1/3-1/2 cup soaked raw cashews)
14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons miso paste (I used red, but any would do)
  1. Fill a mug 3/4 full with water and microwave for 1 -1.5 minutes then place raw cashews in hot water and let soak while you prep the blender.
  2. Sautée the first four ingredients in a small skillet on low to medium heat until onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic (you can add it at the end if you start out with too high a heat).
  3. While sautéing, add the last three ingredients to the blender.
  4. Add the sautéed ingredients to the blender.
  5. Drain the soaking cashews and add cashews to blender.
  6. Blend all ingredients until super creamy and smooth.
  7. In my Vitamix I blended it approx. 2 minutes which also warmed the sauce so I didn’t have to transfer it to a pot to heat it.
  8. Sauce will keep in fridge for a week, or it can be frozen and used later.

    Serves 4-6


Clean Eats, Recipes

Pasta with Veggies & Chicken

This is my go-to comfort food pasta dish. Only this one is dairy and gluten free (if you use gf noodles). Super easy and really, you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. In the summer when fresh produce is plentiful, use it, but even frozen broccoli, peppers and mushrooms would work. Side note: Frozen tends to be a little more affordable, especially if you want to stay organic. I try to use the best quality meat I can afford (local if possible) and organic produce, but it’s not necessary.  This meal should only take you about 30 minutes in total. A great week night meal.

3 cups uncooked pasta of choice - I prefer brown rice pasta, but you could use whole wheat or whatever you have on hand
 4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
 Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
 garlic powder, sea salt & pepper
 Option: 1-2 red/yellow bell peppers
 1/2 a yellow or white onion, sliced thin
 1 cup pre-sliced button or baby Bella mushrooms
 1 cup chopped broccoli and/or 2 small zucchini squash, chopped
 1 large handful baby spinach
 Option: sliced kalamatta olives
 Option: Dairy free or regular Parmesan or nutritional yeast
 Option: Toasted pine nuts
  • Fill a large pot with water and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the water – bring to a boil
  • Rub the boneless skinless chicken thighs with EVOO
  • If adding peppers, slice a red and/or yellow bell pepper in half and clean the seeds from the inside and rub both sides with EVOO.
  • Sprinkle the chicken and peppers (if using) with garlic powder, sea salt & pepper to taste.
  • Grill chicken thighs approximately 6-7 minutes on each side until cooked through and they are not pink inside – Don’t overcook and dry it out
  • Grill the pepper(s) approximately 4-5 minutes on each side until you have grill marks and soft peppers
  • When chicken is half done, add your pasta to the boiling water and cook per package instructions
  • In a skillet or wok, add approx 2 Tablespoons of EVOO and saute chopped white onions over medium heat until translucent (3-5 mins)
  • Add the sliced baby Bella mushrooms & zucchini and/or chopped broccoli and cook another 4-5 mins
    Note: it helps to throw a lid on the pan for 2 minutes to more quickly cook the broccoli and soften the mushrooms.
  • When all is cooked, but broccoli is still slightly crunchy, add chopped kalamatta olives and 1 cup baby spinach and saute until wilted then turn off heat
  • Drain cooked pasta and throw in wok with veggies.
  • After letting chicken rest a few minutes, slice chicken and grilled pepper(s) and throw in wok
  • Pour another 1-2 Tablespoons of EVOO over mixture in wok and toss all together
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan or nutritional yeast (for dairy free) & toasted pine nuts (optional)

4 servings

If your feeling spunky, homemade pesto is super easy and freezes well.

Homemade Dairy Free Pesto Option:
 In a blender or food processor add the following:
 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
 1-2 cloves garlic
 1.5 cups fresh basil
 ½ cup raw pine nuts
 blend until smooth wiping down sides as needed