What is tiburón? It’s pasta in Spain, which means “shark” in Spanish. Its name comes from a shark with a massive teethy mouth. To me, they look like little shells. Sharks are the most amazing creatures on the planet – I hope to meet a shark someday in person below the waters unfortunately I am afraid of the waters (nearly drowned at the age of 5). Some countries have the funniest names for their pastas, for example, an Italian pasta “Orecchiette” looks like small ears. You can find Tiburón pasta at the groceries in Spain such as El Corte Inglés Supermarket.
To cool down my love affair with my favorite American dish Mac & Cheese, I made a Vegan Tiburón & Cheese, with the Greek Violife cheese products in Spain. I nearly called the dish Tib ‘N’ Cheese. Violife cheese is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and palm oil-free. I contacted Violife to review their cheese products after learning about it through few friends in Germany and the UK.
I used Violife Original Creamy Spread and Tomato-Basil Cheese Slices for the dish. The Tomato-Basil cheese slices smell wonderful with basil, however once mixed and melted with other ingredients for the pasta dish, the flavor was very mild yet creamy! I shredded the whole package of the Violife Tomato-Basil cheese slices (press them together as a “block” and shred using a grater), they are also available in bricks (2,5kg) and blocks (200g), but I received the slices to sample. I prefer them shredded for melting, however as slices, they are great for sandwiches, burgers or on its own.
In Spain, we used a cheese grater with an enclosed compartment that looked like this (but in yellow), it’s easy and clean to use (this is great if you have vegan cheeze blocks):
To make the Vegan Tiburón & Cheese gluten-free, just substitute the gluten-free pasta. All Violife cheese products are gluten-free.
Vegan Tiburón & Cheese
Yield: 4 servings
- 200g tiburón pasta or small shells pasta
- 2 tbsp vegan margarine
- ½ cup vegan cream cheese (Violife Original Creamy Spread)
- 3 small garlic cloves, finely minced
- 200ml dairy-free creamer (Valsoia soy creamer)
- 1 cup grated Violife tomato-basil or vegan cheese
- ¼ cup frozen peas, thawed
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- freshly ground dried cayenne peppers to taste
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions or until al dente; drain.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly and not let it burn. Turn to the lowest heat, add cream cheese, stirring with wire whisk until smooth and creamy paste. It is normal to see them form lumps in the beginning, but just whisk them until smooth, it will be more smooth.
Add creamer, gradually, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce. Add the vegan cheese, let them soften up for about few minutes without touching, then mix it in with the sauce completely (whisking).
Add few pinches of pepper/salt until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency. Add peas in the end. Add the creamy sauce to the drained pasta in a pot, mix it in. It’s optional to add freshly ground dried cayenne peppers for a bit of heat. Serve immediately before the sauce thickens up.
The dish can be made gluten-free using GF pasta. Serve immediately before the sauce thickens up.
Pictured below, is a wooden mortar filled with dried Spanish cayenne peppers, which are beyond tasty with this Vegan Tiburón & Cheese!
We also used gluten-free Parmela’s mysterious vegan parmesan on the Vegan Tiburón & Cheese.