This quick vegan recipe has creamy cashew sauce (or choose the nut-free variation that replaces the cashews with tofu), with spinach and red bell peppers. It uses an unusual ingredient called umeboshi paste, which adds a delicious salty sweetness to the recipe.
Umeboshi paste is made of pickled umeboshi plums — though it does not taste at all like pickles. It is salty and sweet and creamy, making the recipe’s sauce a little addictive.
If you can’t find umeboshi paste, you can replace it with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. That works okay and comes out tasting lovely, but if you can possibly use umeboshi paste, this recipe is much yummier for it.
I originally made this recipe with the kind of pasta that looks a little bit like a telephone cord. That’s how the recipe got the name Umeboshi Calling.
Nut-free version: Replace the cashews with 10 ounces of tofu, and reduce the water to 1/2 cup.
Variation: You can add 1-2 cups of your favorite protein source, such as Butler soy curls (rehydrated before adding!), seitan (note that seitan is not gluten-free), baked tofu, etc.
Tip: If you anticipate leftovers, you may wish to keep the sauce and the pasta separate, so that you can store them separately, so that the pasta doesn’t absorb all the liquid from the sauce in the refrigerator.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Defrost spinach, but don’t drain it.
- Blend cashews, water, and umeboshi paste in a blender or food processor for several minutes, until it thickens and starts to look about the consistency of sour cream. Make sure you blend the mixture for long enough that it is really smooth.
- Chop the bell pepper.
- Mix everything together.
- Stir, but don't worry if the spinach stays somewhat clumpy.
- Serve. Yum!