This is a quick dinner that I make whenever I’m low on ingredients. It’s cheap, easy, fast, and it’s extremely student-friendly. This creamy basil pasta recipe is great for a mid-week or mid-exam season meal that actually has some nutrients in it.
You can change many things about this recipe according to what works better for you. The basic idea of this creamy basil pasta recipe is this: we use basil, garlic, and tomatoes for the rich flavour, and add the yoghurt and oil (mainly) for the creaminess. Using extra-virgin olive oil just adds an extra depth of flavour to this simple recipe. We’re looking for a rich tomato sauce that we can lighten up and turn creamy with the yoghurt. You can bump up the flavour if you’d like. Add chilli flakes or shallots or even some homemade sundried tomato pesto from my website.
I wouldn’t recommend adding vegan cheese instead of nutritional yeast since we’re not heating up the pasta sauce very much. If you’d like to do so anyway, don’t add the cheese to the sauce. Grate it and add it to the freshly cooked hot pasta (after straining, of course!). The heat from the pasta might be enough to melt the cheese. You can then mix it all with the sauce. You could even try adding 100g of vegan cream cheese intead of the non-dairy yoghurt to make this extra rich and extra creamy.
The important thing to note here is that we’re heating the sauce ingredients on a low heat. This is because both basil and extra virgin olive oil lose their flavour very quickly at high heat. We’re not looking to ‘cook’ the sauce, we’re looking to gently heat it up until everything combines together into a creamy pasta sauce.
Creamy Basil PastaCourse: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: 2
250g Wholewheat spaghetti (uncooked)
1 tin (400g) Chopped tomatoes
200g Non-dairy yoghurt (plain, unflavoured)
2 Garlic cloves
1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
A handful of basil
A pich of salt and pepper
- Cook the spaghetti according to instructions on the packet. Save some of the pasta water.
- Separate the basil leaves from the stalks and chop up the stalks finely along with the garlic.
- Add chopped tomatoes, basil stalks, basil leaves, garlic, and oil to a saucepan on low heat, and stir gently for a few minutes.
- Once the ingredients have gently heated up and have mixed nicely, take the saucepan off the heat.
- Add the yoghurt, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.
- Add the sauce to the cooked spaghetti while the pasta is still hot.
- [Optional] Add the pasta water to fix the consistency of the pasta sauce.
- Remember to cook the sauce ingredients on a low heat, since the basil and extra virgin olive oil will lose their flavour very quickly on a high heat.
- While using the pasta water isn’t necessary, adding some of it makes the sauce stick to the pasta better.