RAW CACIO E PEPE KELP NOODLES
Serving size: 4
It's hard not to love the incredibly simple, yet undeniably rich and decadent cheesy pasta dish cacio e pepe which literally translates to 'cheese and pepper.' However, what I'm not exactly in love with is the nutritional profile and the very core ingredients used to make the authentic version.
This is a much lighter, healthier take on the roman classic and is also completely raw. This plant-based remake is amazingly creamy without even so much as a sprinkle of cheese and still delivers that same rich, satisfying flavor with a nice bite and contrast from the black pepper.
• 12 oz kelp noodles
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 1/2 tablespoons tamari
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 teaspoons maple syrup
• 1 1/4 cups cashews (soaked)
• 1/2 cup water
• 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
• 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Kelp is relatively nutrient-dense for what a low calorie food it is — if you're not familiar, there are only 6 calories in a 1/2 cup of noodles. Kelp contains several vitamins, nutrients, even cancer-fighting properties and is one of the best natural sources of iodine, a mineral critical for balancing hormones and managing metabolism, amongst other things. Kelp even contains a natural fiber called alginate which studies suggest may help stop the gut from absorbing fat and thereby aid in weight-loss.
To prepare the noodles, begin by draining them from their package. Using kitchen scissors, cut the kelp noodles into spaghetti length pieces then add to a large bowl.
Add the baking soda and lemon juice to the bowl with the kelp noodles, toss to combine, then pour just enough hot water over the noodles to cover completely (this step will tenderize the kelp noodles). Allow this mixture to sit for 20 minutes, drain, then rinse the kelp noodles.
Once rinsed, add the kelp noodles once more to a large bowl then add the tamari, olive oil, maple syrup and toss to coat. Cover the bowl, place in the fridge and allow the kelp noodles to marinate in this mixture for at least 1 hour.
While the kelp noodles are marinating in the fridge, begin working on the "cacio e pepe" sauce.
After the cashews have soaked for several hours, drain and discard the soaking water. Add the soaked cashews to a food processor or high-powered blender, followed by 1/3 cup fresh water, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt and blend until smooth. Once the mixture is completely smooth, stir in the teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper.
Transfer the cacio e pepe sauce to a bowl, cover and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Once the kelp noodles have finished marinating, remove from the fridge and scoop out your desired portion of noodles into a bowl. Add approximately 1/4 cup of the cacio e pepe sauce for every 1 cup of kelp noodles and toss to completely coat the noodles.
These noodles are delicious on their own for a classic rendition of cacio e pepe, but also incredible served with a little arugula on top or any number of additions tossed in such as olives, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, or really any vegetable you'd like.
This is one of my top ten favorite weeknight dinners and this recipe luckily yields several servings for leftovers. The combo of the chilled kelp noodles and creamy, peppery sauce is unlike any other dish and you truly feel as though you're enjoying a big bowl of satisfying pasta but it's exponentially lighter and more nutritious without any of the drawbacks that come with consuming a heavy dairy-based cheesey pasta dish.