Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vegan What I Ate Wednesday #2 - Pasta with Vegan Creamy Mushroom-Basil Alfredo Sauce

How does this sound - creamy, intensely rich, flavorful, garlicky….  I need more adjectives for this dish.  Outstanding is the bottom line.  In true form, I made some significant changes, but all in the name of enhancing nutritional quality and  boosting flavor.  This is just so good that I really felt like I should be adding other veggies to boost the nutritional profile, but I had to keep reminding myself that the sauce IS cauliflower and not the old unhealthy, artery-clogging dairy products I’m used to.  I’ve made vegan Alfredo sauce based on cauliflower before, and really liked it, but this one is over the top with the inclusion of mushrooms and fresh basil.  I couldn’t help but take spoonful after spoonful of the sauce right from the pan before the pasta was done!  I guess the sauce could be a soup too though.  Thin it a little bit, maybe stir in fresh spinach at the end of the cooking process, garnish with some whole wheat sourdough croutons and what a nice warming winter soup.  Ok – I’ll work on that one soon!  Until then, here is what I did differently and the link to the original recipe from Baker Bettie.  The beautiful photo comes directly from her blog also.

The link to the original recipe:
The ingredients in the original recipe from Baker Bettie are:
3 lb cauliflower (about 1 large or 2 small)
2 cups milk of choice (I used almond) 
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP nutritional yeast (optional, but will give the sauce more of a cheesy flavor)
salt and pepper
1 lb pasta of choice
1 large red bell pepper
6 oz mushrooms
1 small onion
¼ cup fresh basil finely chopped
The ingredient changes I made were:
1- Increased nutritional yeast to ¼ cup.
2- Omitted red bell pepper (not because I don’t like it, but because I didn’t have one).
3- Omitted oil.
4- Increased mushrooms to 1 pound and used sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms.
I didn’t make a lot of changes to the preparation method.  Here is what I did do to omit the need for oil and retain more nutritional value from the cauliflower:
1- Steamed the cauliflower rather than boiling it.
2- Water sautéed the garlic with the onions and, mushrooms  until all were very soft and mushrooms released their water and it evaporated.
A final comment on pureeing the cauliflower.  I use a Vitamix.  I know that a Vitamix or other high-speed blender is not in everyone’s kitchen.  I do believe that a regular blender would do quite well with this.  A Magic Bullet will work nicely also.
Now… go get a big spoon and dig right in!


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