Spirals with Broccoli, Tomatoes & Toasted Cashew Flour
In Brazil, manioc flour is often toasted and then used as a garnish or seasoning. (Manioc, by the way, is what Brazilians call tapioca. In African nations, it’s called cassava; in Central American countries, it’s called yuca. But tapioca by any other name is still that familiar tapioca.) Toasting the flour gives it a nuttier, more pronounced flavor, much like the difference between fresh breadcrumbs and toasted breadcrumbs.
Thinking about toasted manioc flour made me wonder how toasted cashew flour would taste. Cashews, after all, are more on the “starchy” side of the equation than the “oily” side when it comes to nuts, so I figured they would lend themselves well to toasting. And since raw cashews are pretty soft, they can be quickly ground into flour using a coffee/spice grinder. (Note: if you don’t have a coffee/spice grinder, I highly recommend buying one. They’re $15 and capable of grinding up sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, cashews, and anything else that isn’t hard as a rock. Torn-up pieces of bread become crumbs in a matter of seconds. Considering that pre-ground almond flour typically costs twice as much as an equivalent amount of sliced almonds — and considering that grinding almonds into flour only takes 10 seconds — you’ll recoup your $15 investment very quickly.)
Toasting ground cashews only takes a few minutes, and the reward is well worth it: you’ll have an instant savory/nutty garnish for your soups, salads, pasta dishes, and even fruit- and ice-cream-based desserts. And leftover toasted cashew flour can be refrigerated for several weeks.
Spirals with Broccoli, Tomatoes & Toasted Cashew Powder Makes 2 servings. Feel free to double or triple the recipe.
2 servings whole-grain pasta of your choice (be sure to use gluten-free pasta if you’re making a gluten-free dish!)
1 head broccoli, florets only (and trimmed trunks, too, if you like)
Handful raw cashews
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sweet organic frozen corn, thawed
2 medium chopped tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and reduce heat to medium-low. Steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Promptly drain broccoli in a colander and set aside. Feel free to use the same colander to drain both the pasta and broccoli — they can nestle into the colander together.
Run the cashews through a coffee/spice grinder for 10 seconds or until you have a fine powder. Place in a dry skillet and heat over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until fragrant and turning brown, stirring often. As soon as it’s golden brown, scrape into a waiting plate to stop it from cooking any longer.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and broccoli with the thawed corn and chopped tomatoes. Add a drizzle of oil and a dash of sea salt and cracked pepper. Toss well again. Plate the pasta and then garnish each serving liberally with the toasted cashew flour.
Leftover cashew flour should be stored separately in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and can be used as a garnish/seasoning whenever you like. Leftover pasta can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Feel free to add cooked shrimp or chicken to the pasta. (All the better if it’s wild shrimp and/or free-range chicken!)