Remember when I discovered that I can eat tofu when it's disguised in a dip? And that it can add a silky creaminess to a dip without you even being able to taste it? Well I decided to see if this same magic would also work in a pasta sauce, and guess what? It does!
I wanted to make a pesto sauce that would be light and creamy through the addition of silken tofu. The only recipe I found was this one from Cooking Light, so I worked from it but made it vegan using nutritional yeast and walnuts in place of the parmesan cheese. I'd like to tell you that I did this because nutritional yeast is healthier than parmesan (which it is), but really it's because when I went to the grocery store looking for parmesan, all they had were ginormous hunks that cost 20 dollars, and I wasn't willing to spend that much money on a meal that I wasn't even sure would work out!
Fortunately, this meal not only worked out, but it was delicious! The silken tofu gave the pesto such a smooth and fluffy texture that made for a creamy sauce that still tasted light and had all the flavour of pesto, which I love! I ate all of mine with pasta, but I think it would also work great as a sandwich spread or dip.
I decided to be extra healthy and eat my pesto with a gluten-free multigrain penne I'd bought from Whole Foods, made from rice, quinoa, and amaranth. Unfortunately, when the pasta was done cooking it looked like this (and no, my pot is not normally that dirty, all the residue on the sides was from the pasta):
I still ended up eating it (no sense wasting food!), but didn't think those shreds of pasta would make for a very nice picture, so I immediately cooked up some whole wheat spaghetti so that I could show a photo of the pesto sauce in action. That's how much I love you guys!
Of course, I realized afterward that I forgot to add cherry tomatoes for the photo, so just imagine they're in there making it prettier. I gave some pasta to Ryan and asked if he could guess what was in it, which he couldn't, and even after I told him there was tofu in it, he still happily kept eating! So don't think that if you hate tofu you won't like this, I promise you can't tell it's in there!
Tofu Basil Pesto Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light
Makes enough sauce for 3-4 pasta servings
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup silken tofu
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and process to combine.
If serving pesto with pasta, cook 8oz pasta and heat up the pesto in a saucepan before tossing with the cooked pesto. I also added some sauteed cherry tomatoes to the pasta, which worked really well. You could also use the pesto as a sandwich spread, pizza sauce, or dip!