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Vegan Romesco Rotini

    (NC) This take on romesco, a Spanish sauce made with roasted red peppers and finely chopped nuts, is ultra-smooth and creamy thanks to the plant-based roasted red pepper cashew dip.

    “Don’t add oil to pasta water to prevent clumping or boiling over,” says Michelle Pennock, executive chef for the President’s Choice test kitchen. “Instead, add salt to your water for flavour, rather than having the pasta become slippery and making the sauce run off.”

    Freeze the leftover canned tomatoes in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to three months and use later in soups, pasta dishes or sauces.


    Vegan Romesco Rotini

    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 10 minutes
    Serves: 6


    • 1 lb (454 g) rotini
    • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas
    • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp (90 mL) unsalted natural (skin-on) whole almonds, toasted
    • 1 pkg (200 g) PC plant-based roasted red pepper cashew dip
    • 1 cup (250 mL) canned whole plum tomatoes (with juices)
    • ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
    • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
    • ¼ cup (60 mL) smoked paprika
    • 2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh parsley, chopped


    1. Bring 4 litres (16 cups) water to a rapid boil. Add pasta. Stir occasionally until water returns to a boil. Cook until al dente or tender but firm, about 8 to 9 minutes, adding frozen peas during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time. Reserving 1-cup cooking liquid, drain.
    2. Meanwhile, pulse ¼ cup toasted almonds in a blender on high speed until finely ground. Add cashew dip, tomatoes with juices, oil, salt and paprika. Blend, scraping down the side, until smooth sauce forms. Set aside. Chop remaining 2 tbsp toasted almonds for garnish; set aside.
    3. Return pasta mixture to saucepan off heat. Stir in sauce and ½-cup pasta cooking liquid, adding more if necessary to coat pasta and reach desired sauce consistency.
    4. Sprinkle pasta with chopped almonds and parsley.

    Chef’s tip: Toast whole almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring or shaking often, until light golden and fragrant, about 6 minutes.

    Nutritional information per serving: calories 450, fat 14 g (2 g of which is saturated), sodium 390 mg, carbohydrates 68 g, fibre 4 g, sugars 6 g, protein 15 g.

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