Vegan Cacio e Pepe
The first time I had vegan Cacio e Pepe it felt so indulgent. It’s like Fettuccine Alfredo, but with a thinner noodle and a pepper punch. I absolutely loved it and remains one of my quick favorite comfort foods. I add a secret ingredient at the end to my vegan Cacio e Pepe, and I highly suggest not skipping this step because it adds some depth and that umami flavor that just elevates the simplicity of creamy noodles.
This is a great dish to make for non-vegans and also for kids because you can edit the sauce mid-cooking to omit the pepper (if your kids don’t like it) and have a meal everyone will enjoy. Sometimes I hate calling out that something is vegan, because good food is just good food – this is one of those dishes.
Ingredients for Cacio e Pepe
Truly the best meal for using up pantry staples! It’s minimal and simple and should require no trip to the market if your pantry is stocked. I include pink peppercorns, which I get may not be something you have on hand, but I think it makes such a pretty garnish for so many dishes that it may be worth adding to your arsenal if you love the flavor. If you aren’t into it, regular pepper will do just fine. I personally love using a three pepper blend and then adding extra pink peppercorns for this dish.
If you are interested in a full list of dry goods, shopping lists, and help stocking your vegan kitchen, I put together a guide here for free.
Dehydrated Kalamata Olives
This is a powerhouse. Dehydrated kalamata olives are one of my favorite things to sprinkle on pasta dishes and it really brings this dish to that next level I was talking about. You can simply buy kalamata olives, pit them and then dehydrate them in a dehydrator over night. You can also use an oven.
I would make a large enough batch to sprinkle not only on your Cacio e Pepe but for other dishes like penne arrabiata, Niçoise salad, garnish for thick soups, sprinkle on crepes, really anything you want to add a flavorful and salty punch to.
Cacio e Pepe Flavor Profile
Mustard powder, garlic powder, vegan chicken stock and three pepper blend is all this dish takes! These are all great staples to have in your pantry.
As I mentioned, these aren’t necessary, but I really love them in this dish. See how pretty they look with the black of the kalamata olive sprinkle and the creamy white sauce? These peppercorn aren’t like the black ones you find that are hard and inedible without grinding, they are crispy and airy.
Make sure you are using cashews that haven’t been processed. You will need raw cashews that you will need to soak for 8 hours or boil for 15 minutes. Sometimes cashew pieces are sold bagged and they are cheaper, those are fine to use too, you just need less soaking time, about 4 hours and I would boul hot water and pour over and rest for 15 minutes instead of full boil if you chose that method.
Vegan Chicken Stock
So many places have vegan chick stock available now! If you can’t find it you can use a veggie stock base. I love Better than Bouillon no chicken base. It comes in a little jar and lasts a long time.
Making Vegan Cacio e Pepe
After your cashews are soaked, you are going to need a good blender to blend the cashews into a creamy base. The better the blender, the more creamy of a sauce you will wind up with. I use a Ninja successfully.
Once the pasta is boiled, keep a little pasta water off to the side. Drain the pasta and then put it back in the pot and mix the pasta with the cream sauce and simmer on low for a few minutes. You may need to add a little bit of the pasta water to loosen it up if the sauce is too thick.
Plating Vegan Cacio e Pepe
Once your noodles are evenly covered, you can plate it! Sprinkle with kalamata sprinkles and red pepper pearls. Enjoy!
Rich and luscious pepper sauce coating traditional spaghetti with a pop of kalamata saltiness - made vegan!
- 1 tbsp three pepper blend (black and red mix), grounded
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked (see notes above)
- 250 grams of dried spaghetti
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 20 dehydrated kalamata olives, ground
- 1 cup vegan chicken stock
- pink pepper corns for garnish
- Blend the soaked cashwes in a high speed blending along with the mustard powder, garlic powder, three pepper blend, and vegan chicken stock until very very smooth.
- Set aside.
- Boil pasta accodring to package directions. Save a cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the spaghetti and return to pot.
- Add the cashew cream from the blender into the spaghetti pot. Mix until the spaghetti is evenly coated. If its too thick, introduce a tbsp of pasta water at a time unil you get the desired consistancy.
- Plate and sprinkle right red pepper and kalamata sprinkle.
If you have the kalamata sprinkle made ahead of time and you soaked the cashews, this is a very quick and delicious meal!
If enjoyed this meal let me know what you think by leaving a ★★★★★ star rating and comment below with any questions or feedback. These are two small things that add up to a ton of support, which I really appreciate. Also show off your pics to me on instagram by tagging @theveganholidayblog and #veganholidaypic – I am excited to see your meals!
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