Creamy Spinach & Roasted Tomato Pasta {Non Dairy!}

My hub and I celebrated our anniversary this week and my gift to him was this super creamy and tasty pasta dish that is, wait for it…not dairy! (if you are amazed that this counts as a wedding anniversary gift, we hit #6 so a favorite dinner and day off of diaper duty is pretty much where we’re at. If it’s the creamy non dairy factor that has got you wowed, read on to find out how this non dairy pasta dish tastes so good you would think there is heavy cream or cream cheese in it somewhere. But nope. Not even a little bit! It’s all about the Roux. (Pronounced rue.) A Roux is basically a combo of flour and fat, butter, that is the thickening base to a great cheesy sauce. I decided to swap the butter for earth balance natural buttery spread (which is non dairy) and then once that was bubbly, I added almond milk to create the thick sauce. Turns out you don’t need dairy to make a good sauce! Which is nice since my husband is lactose intolerant and his fav dish is fettucini alfredo. I threw some spinach in there too since it’s another one of his favs (yes I like to score points as wifey when I can) and then some roasted tomatoes for some added color and bam. You got Creamy Spinach & Roasted Tomato Pasta that’s not dairy.

1 pint of roasted grape tomatoes (get recipe HERE)
1 bag of spinach (about 4 cups)
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons earth balance natural buttery spread
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups of almond milk (or soy)
8 oz. pasta (I used Trader Joes Garlic Basil Linguine but any long pasta will do such as fettucini or spaghetti)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon basil, chopped

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. While the pasta cooks and you roast the tomatoes (recipe HERE) saute olive oil and garlic in a large pot. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Once wet and wilted, it will reduce in size. Remove from heat and set aside. Using the same large pot, melt the earth balance buttery spread and add the flour. Whisk until combined and slightly thick. Add the milk and whisk until combined and continue to whisk over medium heat until smooth and thick. If you want it to be thicker, you can add an additional tablespoon of flour. Once sauce is thickened, add the spinach and tomatoes and combine well. Add pasta to pot of sauce and whisk together. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and stir several minutes over heat then turn off fire. Add fresh lemon basil and mix together before serving.

*Tips&Tricks: You can easily make this recipe dairy by using butter instead of the earth balance, and using heavy cream or cows milk instead of almond milk. If you make this dairy, serve with parmesan cheese shredded or grated on top.

~ Recipe submitted by Nina Safar

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