A deliciously creamy vegan mushroom and baby broccoli orzo with basil, peas, and homemade garlic herb cashew cheese, coconut milk, jazzed up with hints of lemon and top notes of mint, topped with freshly chopped scallions.
Garlic Herb Cashew Cheese
1 cup of raw cashews, soaked for 2+ hours
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped (can substitute 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp herbes de provence
½ tsp rosemary (I used dried)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp lemon juice (I used freshly squeezed organic lemons)
½ tsp salt (I used pink himalayan salt)
¼ tsp black pepper (I used freshly ground pepper)
¼ cup of water, more as needed
Note: you will need a food processor to make this cashew cheese recipe. If you don’t have one, feel free to substitute store bought cashew cheese!
Combine rinsed and drained cashews, herbs, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in food processor. Pulse mixture until it has a coarse, mealy texture – about 1 minute. Use spatula to remove chunks from sides of food processor bowl as needed.
Turn the food processor on and add water to mixture slowly. Turn off and scrape sides of bowl when needed. Continue blending for 1-2 minutes until cashew cheese is smooth and creamy – about the consistency of hummus. Add more water by tsp as necessary.
Creamy Mushroom And Baby Broccoli Orzo
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
12 oz baby broccoli, cut into 1.5 inch sections
½ large onion, diced (I used red onion)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup of peas (I used frozen)
3-4 scallions, finely chopped
Large handful of basil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp herbes de provence
½ tsp mint (I used dried)
1 lemon, cut in half for squeezing
1 cup coconut milk
6-8 tbsp garlic herb cashew cheese
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups orzo
4 cups water or vegetable stock (I used vegetable stock)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions With A Grain Of Salt
This creamy orzo was so mouthwatering and satisfying friends! The lemon and mint combination definitely kicks up the flavor profile up a notch. The garlic, basil, and herbes de provence gave the cashew cheese sauce the perfect savoriness. I’m not usually a fan of black peppercorn, but it accented the flavors of this orzo incredibly well.
For the non-vegans out there who are looking for a healthier dairy-free alternative, this dish is ideal to try. I was told that you can’t even tell this dish is vegan! As for my vegan friends, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the miracle that is cashew cheese.
Yesterday, I put up a story on Instagram of the cooking process for this recipe and a wonderful woman reached out and asked me what to use in place of cashew due to her nut allergies. I suggested she use coconut cheese instead, or to skip the cheese altogether and double up on the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and herbs for a lighter (but just as delightful) texture. If you’re going to go the route of forgoing the cheese, no need to use a food processor!
I’m still on the hunt for an awesome store bought vegan cheese. What are your favorite vegan cheeses?
Any herbs I used can be substituted with the dried or fresh variations. Generally I like to use fresh herbs because they pack so much more nutrition and flavor than the dried versions, but they’re not always so readily available!
Put water or veggie broth/stock in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add orzo and reduce heat. Cook for 7 minutes and remove from heat. Drain and rinse if needed. For those of you boiling the orzo with water, add salt to the water if desired. I used veggie stock without adding extra salt.
Heat large sauté pan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and add olive oil. Heat for about 1 minute and add onions. Sauté onions for 1 minute and add garlic to pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add baby broccoli to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and herbes de provence. Cook for 3 minutes. Add peas, basil, and mint. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to low and stir in half of the cashew cheese and half cup of the coconut milk until veggie mixture is a smooth, creamy texture. Mix in orzo and the rest of the cashew cheese, coconut milk, and lemon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring until mixture achieves desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and take off heat.
Serve topped with freshly ground pepper and chopped scallions.
The next time I make this, I’m totally going to go to town with all the different mushrooms I can find! I’m thinking shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, and chanterelles. So. Much. Yum.
Scallions – Scallions have calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K. Folic acid, a B vitamin found in scallions, helps the body make new cells. They can also help boost the immune system.
Garlic – Garlic contains manganese, vitamins B6 and C, and selenium. It has incredible medicinal properties including combating illness, reducing blood pressure, lowering LDL cholesterol, and promoting longevity of life.
Onion – Onions includes high levels of sulfuric compounds, which stimulates the body’s anti-inflammatory processes to promote healing. It also has folate, vitamin C, and fiber and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Cremini Mushrooms – Creminis are rich in selenium, copper, niacin, pantothenic acid. Selenium is a nutrient that plays a key role in immune function. Niacin assists in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Copper is essential in our body’s iron absorption. Pantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5 and is needed to metabolize protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Cremini mushrooms can help decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
White Button Mushrooms – White button mushrooms have high amounts of copper, which aids in heart health and blood cell production. They also contain vitamin C, D, and B, and iron, selenium, zinc, , magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. White button mushrooms can help to improve immune system function and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Cashew – Cashews are a good source for magnesium, essential in healthy bone and muscle function and blood pressure regulation. They also have high levels of protein, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. Monounsaturated fatty acids found in cashews contribute to healthy levels of HDL “good” cholesterol and phytosterols inhibit the body’s absorption of LDL “bad” cholesterol. Cashews support eye health and heart health.
Baby Broccoli – Broccoli is a phenomenal source of vitamin K which builds collagen to promote rapid healing within the body. It also provides folate, fiber, and potassium. Fiber found in broccoli aids in healthy digestive function. High levels of vitamin C helps to boost the immune system. Broccoli is packed with carotenoids and other antioxidants. Calcium and vitamin K found in broccoli contribute to bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Mint – Mint is a good source of Vitamin A, which contributes to eye health. It also contains iron, folate, and manganese. Mint is a powerful source of antioxidants and can protect against the damage done to the cells by harmful free radicals. Mint may help to alleviate IBS symptoms and indigestion.
Lemon – Lemons are high in vitamin C which promotes healthy immune function. Lemons may increase the body’s water absorption and help with hydration. Lemons can help protect against anemia by increasing the body’s absorption of iron from plant sources. Citric acid found in lemons can reduce the incidence of kidney stones.
Herbes De Provence – Herbes De Provence is a French blend of herbs that usually contains rosemary, basil, thyme, bay leaves, marjoram, and savory. Rosemary can help relieve muscle pain, boost memory function, and promote immune and cardiovascular health. Basil is rich in antioxidants and can reduce inflammation. Thyme is an incredible mood booster with high vitamin C content and can help lower blood pressure. Bay leaves are great for detoxification, promoting healing, reducing inflammation, and managing diabetes. Marjoram (oregano) is high in antioxidants and vitamins. Savory, a mint family herb, may be beneficial in treating headaches and improving digestive health.
Basil – Basil is an anti-inflammatory herb that contains powerful antioxidants. It also has antibacterial properties and high level of magnesium which promotes blood flow.
Rosemary – Rosemary contains antioxidant and anti inflammatory compounds. It is associated with improving digestion, enhancing memory and concentration, and preventing neurological aging.
Peas – Peas contain good amounts of fiber, protein, vitamins A, K, C, folate, thiamine, manganese, phosphorus, and antioxidants. They are rich in polyphenol antioxidants and can help in chronic disease prevention such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Happy eating folks! And remember, food is art.
“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates
If you liked this recipe, share with a friend! What are your favorite vegan cheeses?