Sunday, December 23, 2012

Vegan Fettucini Alfredo with Peas and Parsley

So, it's been awhile... however in my absence from the blogosphere, I did manage to successfully complete my first semester of graduate school! And it was fantastic! Oh the stories... And now I have over a month until school starts up again, and I plan to blog as much as possible. Well, and maybe work on a few projects :)

I have lots of recipes to catch up on, but to start things off, I thought I'd share this recipe for vegan Alfredo sauce that I came up with a few nights ago. It's super simple, and very quick - while the pasta's cooking, the sauce comes together in 5 minutes, so dinner can be on the table in under half an hour (apart from soaking the cashews, but you can prep those about an hour before you're ready to start dinner, or even the night before!).  Andrew and I have been talking about trying a vegan Alfredo recipe for a while now, and last night was the night.

I knew that silken tofu would be instrumental in achieving the creamy texture and appearance of an Alfredo sauce, and I've had quite good results using raw cashews in my vegan cheese sauces and "cheese" cakes, so I hoped that combining the two would give me the results I wanted. And they did! Granted, it's been quite some time (over ten years, in fact) since I've eaten actual Fettucini Alfredo, but this came pretty damn close to my memories of it, and Andrew agreed :)  I wanted to cut the creaminess of the sauce with a little freshness and add a bit of color, so I threw in some fresh parsley and some peas... delicious! This is a MUCH healthier alternative to traditional Alfredo sauce, which is heavily laden with heavy cream and cheese. Here, tofu, cashews and peas lend lots of protein, and while the nuts and Earth Balance add a bit of fat, if this recipe were split into 6 servings, each would still have under 10 grams of fat. And most of that is the good kind! So give it a try. 

Vegan Fettucini Alfredo with Parsley and Peas

  • 1 lbs fettucini noodles
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 pkg soft silken tofu
  • 1/2  cup + 2 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS earth balance, or coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, washed and stems removed
One hour before you intend to start dinner, place the cashews in a small bowl, and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak. You can also get the cashews  started the night before if you like. Just cover them with warm water, then place a plate or some cling film on top of the bowl to cover, and let them set overnight.

Boil water for pasta. Place pasta in boiling water. During the last 2-3 minutes of the pasta cooking, add the peas!

While the pasta is cooking:
In a food processor or blender, mince the garlic cloves first. Then add 1/4 cup of the almond milk, and all of the remaining ingredients, except for the parsley, and blend until smooth and creamy. If the sauce is too thick, gradually add more almond milk, until you've achieved the desired consistency. Add the parsley, and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate it. Taste for seasonings, adjust and the sauce is ready!

Drain the pasta and peas, return to pot and add the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta, and serve with roasted veggies or a simple spinach salad. And it actually tastes pretty decent the next day too :)