Long Live Alfredo!

I love cheese.  A lot.  More than a lot, actually.  If I had to live off of one thing for the rest of my life (nutritional aspects aside), I’d probably choose cheese.  Probably?  No, I would.  Definitely.  I hope you’ll register this as a testament to just how important cheese is in my life.

In the same regard, I also love beer.  And chocolate.  And sourdough bread.  But as with most things, balance is critical…especially at the ripe old age of 30. That said, I’ve been making a conscious effort over the last few years to try to exclude dairy (and beer, and bread) from the majority of my diet.  For the most part, I’ve done a stellar job of this (with the exception of cream in my coffee and pizza — there’s no way around pizza).  Cheryl eats almost no dairy, so that makes it relatively simple day to day.  But the fact remains: I still crave cheesy goodness on occasion (read: always).

The grown up parts of me have learned that many of my cravings can be curbed with a little trickery.  Sure, I’m DYING to sink my teeth into that double fudge, triple chocolate chip brownie drenched in salted caramel.  But in reality, if I have a bite of a dark chocolate bar, this craving will quickly subside.  And, of course, I’ll be much happier in the long run (literally).  The same applies to cheesy, creamy things (these days, I ALWAYS feel heavy and gross after a cheesy meal — it’s become unavoidable.  I blame it on the aforementioned 30 years of age).

Up until now, I hadn’t gone too far into my exploration of suitable cheesy substitutes (I won’t eat soy products, so that eliminates most of the mainstream “cheeses”).  I’d played around a bit with topping certain veggies or grains or eggs with nutritional yeast (obsessed).  But I hadn’t really gone too deep into recipe research and taste testing with sauces or toppings that would become something cheesy.

I’m only sad about one thing:  waiting this long.

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

[Sauce]

The most difficult part of this process is remembering to soak your nuts.  From here on out, I plan to keep some pre-soaked nuts in the fridge every week!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup soaked nuts (cashews, almonds — I’d guess you could get creative: just be sure you let them soak for at least an hour)
  • 1-2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (start with 1 cup, add more to achieve desired thickness)
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp dijon
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp liquid aminos (or tamari)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to do it: 

In a food processor or blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.

Makes 2-3 cups of sauce (you’ll have plenty for leftovers)

********

[Pasta]

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 box Ezekiel Fettuccini noodles (try zucchini noodles!)
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • large tomato, chopped
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped

How to do it: 

Cook noodles according to package directions (or not at all, if using zucchini noodles!).  Add peas into boiling pasta for remaining 3-4 minutes.  

Drain pasta and peas.  Return to cooking pot.  

Add basil (reserve a smidgeon for topping) and alfredo sauce.  Return to low heat, and warm to desired serving temperature.  

Throw it in a bowl, top it with fresh tomatoes and basil.  Enjoy!

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Sure, it tastes a little healthier than REAL alfredo.  But the benefits of not feeling like I ate 6 bricks for dinner far outweigh any mildly compromised flavor (and really, it’s so minimal it’s not even funny).  I’ll even go as far as to say that I was just as satisfied (if not more, for the sake of not feeling so awfully guilty!) as I have ever been inhaling true alfredo dishes.

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