Spaghetti bowl with tomatoes, olives, and capers
14 Best Ingredients To Take Your Pasta Dishes To The Next Tier
1. Fresh Herbs
It may feel like a no-brainer, but fresh herbs can make a pasta dish memorable. Even a standard tomato sauce can sing with some sage, basil, oregano, thyme, or parsley.
2. Cashew Cream
Raw cashews, when soaked overnight and blended in a high-speed blender, are just as creamy as Alfredo sauce and don’t carry any nutty or roasted flavors.
To give it the same mouthfeel as Alfredo, flavor your cashew cream with lemon juice, a small amount of sweetener, garlic powder, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.
3. Nuts
Nuts are a great way to add texture to your pasta dish. For example, toasted walnuts make a meaty addition to a broth or wine-based pasta sauce.
The key to adding nuts to pasta is to toast them gently, and then use them as a garnish or topping, rather than mixing them right into the sauce. This preserves texture and flavor.
4. Lemon
Lemon juice and zest add flavor to any pasta dish. It particularly stands out when used in white wine and garlic sauce, cashew cream, or parsley scampi.
Add grilled lemon slices and add them to pasta dishes with chicken and seafood. On top of extra flavor, the lemon’s acidity will intensify the other ingredients in the dish.
5. Olives
Olives add a strong and salty flavor to any sauce. Kalamata olives pair well with tomato-based sauces, and green olives with garlic and white wine sauce, and pasta salad.
Olives like capers and other marinated varieties can flavor sauce and add bursts of flavor, creating variety with each bite. Add olive juice to the pasta water for depth.