Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Vegan MoFo Day 2: Vegan Cauliflower and Cashew Fettucine Alfredo
Today's prompt for Vegan MoFo is to recreate a childhood favorite meal.
I had to dig deep for this one, as I've already recreated one of my favorite childhood meals--pasta carbonara. Apparently, I was an Italian at heart as a child, as one of my other favorites was fettucine alfredo. I decided to tackle that one for this post.
I make a lot of cashew-based sauces, as they are utterly delicious and awesome. We have a hard time keeping our cashew jar stocked, in fact, because they make a perfect base for vegan ice cream, cremas for burritos and tacos, and creamy salad dressings as well. It's a nice way to squeeze a little additional protein into your meal, too!
Anyhow, I thought I'd diverge a bit from a purely nut-based sauce, and try adding in a little bit of cauliflower! Cauliflower is a popular vegan option these days (buffalo cauliflower, anyone?), but I'd yet to incorporate it into a sauce, so I was excited to give this a shot.
Vegan Fettucine Alfredo
What You'll Need:
Alfredo sauce (makes 15 oz):
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 1-6 hours*
1 heaping cup chopped cauliflower (about 1/4 of a large head)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp margarine
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast, plus additional for topping
1/4 cup vegan milk of your choice
1/8 tsp salt, plus more, to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, plus more, to taste
fresh basil, optional
16 oz pasta
What You'll Need to Do:
You can prepare your pasta at any point during this process--whenever works best for you. I find it easiest to get the water boiling after the cauliflower is simmering away.
Place broth in a medium-size saucepan and add the cauliflower. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a strong simmer/low boil. Boil the cauliflower for approx 10 min, until soft. While the cauliflower is boiling, put a saucepan over medium-low heat and melt the margarine. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, approximately 2 minutes, being sure not to let it brown. Remove from heat.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the cauliflower, and add to a blender. Add only 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth to the blender, along with the rest of the ingredients, including the margarine and garlic from the pan. If everything is still quite hot, you may need to stop periodically during blending to release the steam. Blend until smooth. Once your pasta is ready, drain and add in the sauce. Turn the heat to low and stir, until heated through.
Eat immediately (like you'll be able to resist!). Top with nutritional yeast and fresh basil.
Tips and Tricks
Soaking your cashews is key, and can even help with digestion. If you don't have a high-speed blender, a longer soak time is definitely a good idea.