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Creamy Basil Sauce

10 August

CreamyBasil text

I’ve been soaking up family time, sun and sea these days, reveling in the feel of summer. As such, I’ve been doing a lot less Real Food philosophizing, and a lot more Real Food eating. I figure I’m just like everyone else, trying to enjoy my time and eat in a way that feels good to my body, and when you’ve suddenly got a crowd of people for dinner {and all of their tastes, preferences and intolerances} summer can easily become a serious drag.

So when I whipped up this meal {to the delight of everyone} I knew I had to share it! Frankly, it’s nothing new: zucchini “pasta” with a creamy basil sauce; I’m pretty sure there are a hundred thousand similar recipes on-line. But this one is mine, and it’s awesome.

It’s awesome because it tastes exactly like you want a summer meal to taste: light and easy and basil-y, plus it’s light and satisfying. When you use zucchini {or summer squash} as a central point to a meal, you get to crowd out refined carbohydrates {the eating of which contributes to obesity, diabetes, artherosclerosis, and other maladies} and bump up your daily veg intake {which, let’s be honest, we all need to work on}.

When you use raw cashews as a base for a sauce, you get healthy fats delivered in their most advantageous form {and I’m pretty sure you could use an equal amount of raw sunflower seeds as a nut-free substitute – I haven’t done it yet, but don’t be afraid to try it}.

From there you just have to fill in your own protein. The other night I pan-fried organic chicken sausage and tempeh for the omnivores and vegetarians at the table, but cooked black beans, browned ground beef, shrimp, or any left-over meat you’ve got in the fridge will fit the bill.

This Creamy Basil Sauce is light and fresh and can be used in lots of other ways, too: as a salad dressing, veggie dip, marinade, sandwich spread {I used some left-over as the dressing for a quinoa salad the next day}, and it stays good in the fridge for up to a week!

Here’s to keeping summer easy and light!

Creamy Basil Sauce

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 20 minutes, or up to 4 hours
2 cups fresh water {not the soaking water}, if you like a thicker sauce, start with 1 cup of water, and add more until you reach your desired consistency
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 Tb nutritional yeast
½ Tb sea salt
1 Tb chopped garlic
juice of ½ a lemon


  1. Drain the cashews, and put them and all remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for salt.
  2. Seriously, that’s it.

Anatomy of a Summer Dinner: which is delicious eaten at room temperature so don’t stress about getting all the components ready at once
{learn more about spiralizing squash & zucchini on our Spiralized Squash Salad post}

  1. Make the Creamy Basil Sauce, and set aside until your zucchini and protein are cooked.
  2. Spiralize zucchini or squash {we used about 10 pounds of zukes for 7 people and had some left-over}, then sauté them in coconut oil {or butter if no one is dairy-free} until they’re tender, about 5 minutes. The Creamy Basil Sauce is tasty and salty, so salting the zucchini isn’t necessary.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the squash from the skillet, letting the water it’s released stay in the pan. Set cooked zucchini aside until your protein is ready.
  4. Cook up {or re-heat} your protein of choice.
  5. Pour Basil Cream Sauce over the zucchini “pasta”, add protein and sliced tomatoes and dig in!


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Liz Flint-Somerville, Nutritional Consultant

Liz was a partner in Grub for 3 amazing years and helped author many of our most beloved recipes and posts. She is now dedicating her time to caring for her family, writing poetry, and continuing to cook delicious Real Foods.

6 Responses to “Creamy Basil Sauce”

  1. Lania August 12, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    Can’t wait to try it.

  2. Ryanna Battiste August 13, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    This is awesome, Liz!

  3. Barb September 24, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Delicious! I can’t wait to have this again!


  1. Spiralized Squash Salad - GRUB - December 17, 2015

    […] out our Creamy Basil Sauce recipe, or you try the following GRUB recipe to see summer squash in a whole new […]

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