It happens all the time. Just as I am getting into the groove of my workout (spinning/yoga/running), a recipe idea pops in my brain out of nowhere. This time: vegan alfredo sauce.
Growing up in an Italian famliy (I'm from Chi Town, baby), I am no stranger to all kinds of pasta and spaghetti dishes. I practically grew up on that stuff but as I've gotten older and more mindful of what I put in my body I keep it to a minimum. Not trying to hate on #carbs or anything, I just try to eat mostly vegetables. When I was younger, Fettucini Alfredo was my favorite. There was not even a close second. It didn't matter where we were, Dennys, Olive Garden, Grandmas house; if it was up to me that's what we were having. And with good reason, the shizz is delicious.
Now that I am all grown up (sort of) and all about veggies all the time I wanted to re-create my childhood favorite but without the cashews. Don't get me wrong, I like cashews and I am not a into counting calories or fat but let's be honest..., cashews are high in both calories and fat. It's really easy to overdo it soooo insert my favorite vegetable of all time on stage left:
Yes people. Cauliflower is what gives this dish that creaminess we all know and love from alfredo but no dairy, gluten or nuts. No problem. As far as I can tell it is completely undetectable that it has no cream or milk in it so it would be perfect to make for non-vegan friends. its that good.
Go make this!
One trick to really making this taste great is the vinegar (acid) it brightens the flavor and is night and day I've learned. So using a little at a time, add more white wine vinegar if you feel the flavor is a little flat. I added about 3 tsp more but start with one at a time, blend it together, taste and adjust. I've learned that its the trick of the best chefs: tasting and adjusting.
FOR THE ALFREDO
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (approx. 3 heaping cups
1/2 Cup yellow onion, rough chop
1/4 Cup shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Teaspoon avo oil or coconut oil
Pinches pink salt
1 Cup vegetable broth
1/4 Cup black truffle infused oil
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Teaspoons nutritional yeast
2 1/2 Teaspoons white whine vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon pink salt
FOR THE PASTA
16 Ounces pasta of your choice, I used Trader Joes qunioa brown rice blend
8-10 Ounces broccolini, roasted
Pre heat over to 425F and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
chop the cauliflower into florets and lay on a baking sheet with the broccolini. Cover in 1-2 tsp oil, a pinch of pink salt and toss to coat evenly. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the broccolini from the pan, set aside. Cook Cauliflower another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile cook your pasta following the directions on the package.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Chop onion, shallots and garlic. Once oil is hot add the onions and sautee for 5-6 minutes, then add the shallots and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a pinch of pink salt and stir again.
Add in the garlic, stir gently and cook until fragrant. BE CAREFUL not to burn the garlic. About 30-45 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer to a high speed blender. I used Vitamix.
Then add in your cauliflower and 1/4 cup the vegetable broth. Blend on high using your tamper. Stop and scrape down the sides if necessary. Then add another 1/4 cup broth. Blend again. Check the consistency, it should be like creamy mashed potatoes. Add more broth if needed.
Next while the blender is on medium, slowly add in the truffle infused oil and the olive oil then turn up to high to fully emulsify the oil in to the sauce.
Stop and check the consistency. You want it to be think, barely pourable and nearly dripping of the back of a spoon but not quite. If its too thick then add in more vegetable broth, 1/4 cup at a time and blend well.
Add in the white wine vinegar, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend and adjust to your tastes.
Trasnfer you pasta to a large serving dish, cover in the sauce, and add in the broccolini. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if you're feeling fancy.