I loved pasta. I mean I really, really loved pasta. If someone had asked me to describe my favourite dish a couple of years back it would have been simple… spaghetti pomodoro with tons of grated parmesan and black pepper. It isn’t even an extravagant or complicated dish. It’s basically pasta with a tomato and basil sauce. But freshly made with lots of olive oil and shavings of salty parmesan cheese, it tasted wonderful.
A creamy, dairy-free and low-carb Paleo pasta dish with seaweed spaghetti, cashew cream, and herbs.
As I gradually learned more about my skin condition (psoriasis) I realised tomatoes weren’t doing me any favours. They’re part of the nightshade family – fruit and veg which fall into this category can play havoc with our immune systems. They prove particularly problematic for those of us with auto-immune disorders. So, I switched from eating rich tomato sauces to creamy carbonara and cheese sauces instead.
The problem with my favourite quick and simple dinner was the sensation I got after eating it. Pasta has always made me feel as though I instantly need to sleep. The reaction is very sudden. I can feel wide awake at lunchtime, give me a bowl of pasta and within half an hour I will literally feel as though I need to lie down. My belly gets bloated and the overall sluggish, lethargic sensation is instantly draining. At some point I switched to wholemeal pasta to see if that would solve the problem – it didn’t. Whilst my mind loves the idea of pasta, pizza and bread, my body just doesn’t. Although I don’t have a diagnosed problem as serious as celiac disease, gluten just simply does not agree with me. Two years ago I gave it up altogether.
I truly thought my days of rich, creamy pasta dishes were over. With tomatoes, pasta and cheese fully eliminated from my diet it just wasn’t an option. Then one day I found an article about seaweed spaghetti. Seaweed is quite literally a superfood and doesn’t give you that same heavy carb overload you get from wheat pasta. It cooks in the same way and looks beautiful on a plate. Challenge number two was figuring out a dairy free carbonara.
Since quitting dairy I’ll often use cashew nuts and coconut milk to create a rich cream. Add a little honey and cinnamon and you have a delicious, dairy free dessert topping. Using the same principle but adding nutritional yeast, a couple of drops of white wine vinegar and a little pink Himalayan salt I created a savoury version, a perfect vegan cheese sauce alternative.
- 50g Seaweed spaghetti
- Sprig or two of fresh thyme
- Clove of garlic crushed
- 10 sliced chestnut mushrooms
- 100g cashew nuts
- 200ml coconut milk
- 2 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
- A few drops of white wine vinegar
- Pink himalayan salt
- Black pepper
- Squeeze of fresh lemon
- Boil the seaweed spaghetti for 5-10 mins as per the instructions. Drain and set to one side.
- Soak the cashews in warm water for 1 to 2 hours.
- Drain the cashews and add them to a high speed blender along with the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, thyme leaves, vinegar and a pinch of pink salt. Blend until perfectly smooth.
- Fry the mushrooms and crushed garlic in a teaspoon of coconut oil.
- Stir the mushrooms into the cashew cream and stir through the cooked spaghetti over a gentle heat to warm through.
- Serve with fresh thyme, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon.