Starting off my Veganized Restaurant Copycat series with one of my favorite dishes from Cheesecake Factory: Louisiana Chicken Pasta 👅
Crispy parmesan crusted chick’n, caramelized mushrooms, sweet bell peppers and onions tossed in a rich and silky cajun cream sauce. When I tell you that this is my literal bowl of dreams, I am not kidding 🤤
- 12 oz short cut pasta noodles of choice such as Cavatappi or Farfalle
- ½ cup vegan parmesan shreds plus more for serving
- ¾ cup panko-breadcrumbs gluten-free if necessary
- 2 ¼ cups unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk divided
- 1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce such as Tabasco or Crystal
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour sub gluten-free if needed
- 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning divided
- 1 10-ounce package Gardein Chick’n Scallopini (*see recipe notes)
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter divided
- 1 teaspoon salt divided, plus more to taste
- 16 oz 1 pound button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 orange bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic
- Fresh minced parsley for serving
- Red pepper flakes for serving
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta but do no rinse.
- Meanwhile, prepare your dredging station for the chick’n. Quickly blitz ½ cup of the vegan parmesan in a food processor until it resembles grated cheese. Place the grated parmesan in a shallow bowl with the panko breadcrumbs, mixing to combine. In a second shallow bowl, whisk together ¾ cup milk and hot sauce. In a third shallow bowl, add the flour and 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, mixing to combine.
- Working with one piece of chick’n at at time, gently coat the chick’n in the flour, turning it over to coat both sides evenly. Then place it into the milk, flipping to coat both sides. Lastly, coat the chick’n in the parmesan/breadcrumb mixture, turning it over to ensure it’s fully coated. Repeat until all the chick’n pieces are coated and set aside.
- To make the pasta, melt 1 ½ tablespoons in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Cook in an even layer without touching, for 5-6 minutes. Give them a good mix and continue to cook until most of the liquid has cooked out, and the edges are slightly crisped and caramelized, another 3-5 minutes. Place the mushrooms on a plate and set aside.
- In the same pan over medium-high, melt the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons vegan butter. Add the bell peppers and onions, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, and the peppers are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Off the heat place the caramelized mushrooms back into the pan with the peppers and onions. Set aside.
- To cook the chick’n, heat about 1 inch of oil in a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. You’ll know the oil is hot enough when you add in a couple of breadcrumbs, and it sizzles immediately. Gently place 2 chick’n pieces in the hot oil and fry until golden-brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining 2 patties.
- For the sauce, place the cashews, remaining 1 ½ cups milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, and remaining 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning in a high-powered blender. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir the sauce into the pan with the peppers, onions and mushrooms, and warm over medium heat for 5 minutes, adding the reserved pasta water for desired consistency. Combine the sauce with the noodles and toss until all the pasta is coated in sauce. Serve with sliced chick’n pieces, parsley, red pepper flakes, parmesan, a lemon wedge, and enjoy!