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Spinach and Caper Sauce on Pasta


This recipe renders a vibrant, piquant green sauce that looks like pesto and yet delivers a surprising bite from the capers. It’s oil-free and more nutrient-dense than its pesto cousin. A whole head of spinach goes into this sauce, so it’s a great way to eat your veggies. And it’s raw with no need to heat, so it takes but 30 seconds to whip up.

Serve it over any kind of pasta, but it’s particularly good and healthier over buckwheat pasta or whole wheat pasta.

1⁄2 C cashews
11⁄2 C water
1⁄2 C raw walnuts
4–5 cloves garlic
1⁄4 C capers
1 C loosely packed cilantro
1 C loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 bunch spinach, washed well and roughly chopped
sea salt

Recipe Key:
C = cup

Place the cashews and water in a blender and process until very creamy and smooth. Remove about 1⁄2 C of this cashew cream and set aside. You may or may not need all of it. Add the walnuts, 4 cloves of garlic (or more, depending on how garlicky you like it), capers, cilantro and basil to the blender and pulse briefly to chop. Add the spinach a handful at a time until it is incorporated. If the sauce is very thick, you can add the remaining cashew cream, or you can make it lower in fat by adding the cooking water from the pasta. It should have a thick, but pourable, consistency. Season to taste with salt, and adjust the other seasonings as well, adding another tablespoon of capers, a clove of garlic or more basil as desired. Toss with hot pasta and serve.

Spinach and Caper Sauce is best eaten when freshly made. You can keep leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Makes about 4 cups, enough for 4–6 servings.