In the days when I was vegetarian – but not yet vegan – one of my favorite quick meals was alfredo primavera sauce over pasta. I’d take a refrigerated container of light alfredo sauce, dilute it a bit with milk and lemon juice, and add a cupful or two of whatever vegetables I had on hand to steam. Dinner was ready in the time it took to boil the pasta and pour the wine.
And then I became vegan. I am not a big fan of vegan cheese – in fact, I mostly hate the stuff. I quickly decided in most cases I’d rather just live without cheese – and creamy, cheesy dishes like fettucine alfredo – than eat commercial processed faux cheese.
Then, happily I discovered Alicia Simpson’s book Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food. Although many of the recipes in this book do call for commercial faux cheese, she has an amazing fettucine alfredo recipe that does not. I riffed on her recipe a bit, reducing the amount of oil by half, cutting the richness with soymilk and lemon, and adding extra garlic, fresh tomatoes, steamed spinach, and a little parsley. The result: a bowl of surprisingly healthy, creamy, vegan deliciousness – minus milk, eggs, cheese, and calories.
- 1 package Silken Tofu
- 1/4 cup Canola Oil
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Soymilk (I used Soy Dream)
- 2 -3 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Dried Parsley(optional)
- Black Pepper
- Juice of 1/2 – 1 Whole Lemon
- 2 Fresh Roma Tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bag fresh Baby Spinach, about 12 oz.
- In a blender, combine the tofu, canola oil, soymilk, garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, dried parsley, and the juice of half a lemon. Process until well blended.
- Pour into a large saucepan and add the diced tomato. Heat on low-to-medium heat while you steam the baby spinach. Taste the sauce: do you need to add more lemon juice or another grind or two of black pepper? Add the steamed spinach, stir gently, and taste again: you may need more lemon juice or salt.
- Serve over your favorite pasta.
- Please use fresh lemon juice, fresh spinach, fresh tomatoes, and fresh garlic. It’s tempting to streamline this even further by using frozen spinach or dried minced garlic, but trust me, the result won’t be nearly as delicious. (I’m not just being snobby; there’s a time and a place for frozen spinach, and this ain’t it.)
- Fresh lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper really make this pasta sauce sparkle, so don’t be timid.
- This is a great sauce to make in advance. Since there is so little actual cooking time involved, this sauce actually tastes BETTER after sitting in the refrigerator overnight, which gives the flavors time to meld!
- Serve over whatever kind of pasta you like best. Fettuccine is traditional, but I’ve always liked serving alfredo sauce over radiatore (the little ridges scoop up so much sauce). Of course, if you are gluten-sensitive, you’ll want to choose a gluten-free pasta. The sauce itself is gluten-free.