Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan}

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan} | Kneading Home

I may or may not have googled "how to survive a long dark winter" the other day. I normally love Fall, but after struggling through said long dark winter last year, coupled with a tough first year of grad school I am dreading busy schedules, early sunsets, and the closing of Chicago farmer's markets this Fall. Towards the beginning of August I totally panicked, thinking I had not taken advantage of summer the way I should have, and filled my calendar with summer music and film series in the parks, food festivals, and long family walks with pumpkin. We've been savoring this weather and biking all around the city for date nights in neighborhoods far from our own.

We've become religious about our Saturday morning farmer's market trips. I think I bought close to 10 pounds worth of peaches last week, blanched them, peeled them, sliced them, and then froze them. I've been adoring Chicago summer, humidity and all. I worship these warm summer nights and hours of day light. Seriously, the summer can't end, I haven't even made zucchini bread yet! 

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan} | Kneading Home
Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan} | Kneading Home

This pasta is light, summery, and creamy but dairy-free. Once you've soaked the cashews it comes together so easily and celebrates the simplicity and freshness of summer produce. We've been buying zucchini in bulk for what feels like pennies every week at the farmer's market and this veggie-heavy pasta is the perfect way to use them all. It also just so happens to be packed with plant-based protein (thank you nuts) and reheats great. 

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan} | Kneading Home
Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan} | Kneading Home
Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan} | Kneading Home
Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan} | Kneading Home
Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan} | Kneading Home
Creamy Lemon Pasta with Summer Squash {vegan}
Serves 4
Adapted from: The Kitchn

1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-8 hours
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds zucchini, diced
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
large handful of basil
1/4 cup shelled pistachios (optional)
salt + pepper to taste

Combine soaked cashews, water, nutritional yeast, and salt in a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Set aside - note, this step can be done up to two days in advance. 

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, followed by the garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic has softened then add in the zucchini and toss to coat. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the zucchini has softened and released some of its liquid. Remove from the pan and set aside. 

Once the water is boiling add the pasta and cook until al dente (keeping in mind angel hair cooks very quickly). Reserve about half a cup of pasta water, then drain, and add the pasta to the sauté pan and top with the cashew sauce (you probably won't use all of it), and toss over low heat. If it looks to thick, use pasta water to thin. Then top with zucchini and toss. Add in lemon zest and juice, basil and pistachios. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy! 

Simple Zucchini Bread {Vegan}

Zucchini Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home

Tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, oh my! Can you tell I'm trying to hold onto summer? They are practically giving zucchini away this time of year, it's so cheap. I knew I couldn't let the season end before making (and freezing) some zucchini bread. Look no further than Deb Perlman, the goddess of smitten kitchen, and my go-to for almost everything. I've made her zucchini bread before, and like everything else she makes, it was delicious. But I wanted to make it a bit healthier, since I have zero self-control around baked goods. 

I had a feeling I'd be able to replace some of the sugar with a combination of maple syrup (I LOVE MAPLE SYRUP!!!) and a can of applesauce I had in the back of the fridge from a chocolate cake I made a little while ago.  I figured I could add a bit of whole wheat pastry flour in place of all purpose, pack a little more zucchini in there, and I thought, while I was at it why not make it vegan? I'm happy to report, I succeeded on all fronts. Way better than I expected, actually. (Note: I don't always succeed. I made loaded nachos last weekend intending to post them, and after 3 hours of dicing tomatoes and onions for homemade salsas, the result tasted significantly less good than the $8 nachos from Sharky's down the street. Sigh...)

Zucchini Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home
Zucchini Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home

The result is pretty damn awesome. It is probably the most moist, borderline too moist (if such a thing even exists) bread I've ever made. It's rich like gooey dark chocolate cake, but warmed by a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, & maple. 

Classic Zucchini Bread {Vegan}
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 
Makes 2 medium loaves 

3 flax eggs (3 tbsp ground flax seed + 1/2 cup water + 1/4 tsp baking powder) 
1 cup coconut oil, melted  
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
2 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 cups grated zucchini

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt 

Prepare the flax eggs by whisking flax seed with water in a small bowl. Let sit for 15-20 minutes until the texture becomes much like that of an egg. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease two medium loaf bans. In a large bowl whisk together flax eggs with 1/4 tsp baking powder, oil, sugars, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir in grated zucchini (it can be grated using either a food processor with a grating attachment or a box grater). 

In a medium size bowl combine both flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.