Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

My husband’s go to order at any Italian restaurant was always Fettuccine Alfredo so it has been missed since giving up animal products.  I made this for him the other night and he was in heaven!  He told me it was the best Alfredo he’s ever had and he was so excited to have his mom try it too since it’s one of her favorites as well.  Alfredo was created by an Italian of the same name and is basically butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese – loaded with fat and dairy, not easy recreating a successful vegan version but it’s been done!

This recipe is inspired by the Vegabond Chef, Brad Myers.  I’ve mentioned him a few times on this blog — love his Vegan cooking classes at Nature’s Food Patch, one of the things I’ll miss leaving Florida.  Check him out at facebook.com/thevegabondchef.

I attended Brad’s Vegan Alfredo class back in February and took pieces of his recipe and created my own version.  He used tofu and I like to stay away from it as much as I can.  Plus his version had a head of cauliflower and I didn’t have any on hand so I made it without.  As much as I enjoyed his version I like mine better but I couldn’t have done it without his inspiration!

Start by boiling two cups of cashews for ten minutes.  Normally I would use raw only but I didn’t have enough so I used one cup of raw and one cup of roasted cashews.  I think the flavor was actually enhanced by the roasted cashews so I’ll continue to use them in the recipe.  I also added 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes to the boiling water.  At the eight or nine minute mark, drop in half an onion – score it ahead to enhance the flavor.  You could also steam the onion separately if you’d prefer.  Once that is done you’ll want to drain the nuts, tomatoes, and onion and let them cool a bit before putting into a blender.

In the meantime roast a head of garlic.  If you’ve never done this before it’s very simple — cut off the end of the garlic and place on a pan with a bit of olive oil in a preheated 400 degree oven for ten minutes.  When done you simply pinch the top and all the cloves come squirting out.  They are fragrant and soft — we often spread them on bread alone, delicious!  Add the roasted garlic cloves to the blender.

Next add in the juice of half a small lemon, 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, two tablespoons of white miso paste, one teaspoon of Herbamare (sea salt infused with organic fresh herbs and vegetables), half a teaspoon of white pepper, two teaspoons onion powder, and a cup or so of creamy unsweetened cashew milk.  Blend the mixture until smooth, adding more milk if needed.  You’ll still have some heat from the cashews so no need to cook further, simply drain your pasta (we used a box of spinach fettuccine) and return to the pan.  Pour half the sauce into the pan and fold it into the pasta.  You’ll have plenty of sauce left over for the next day and believe me, this is so good you’ll crave it for days.  My husband kept asking for it over and over, I’ve made it a few times in one week!  Once I added half a cup of shredded carrots to the boiling cashew mixture with the onion and it added some nice sweetness — a good way to hide a veggie too.

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Vegan Queso Dip

As I’ve admitted several times in this blog — I love cheese!  I’m always on the hunt for vegan versions of my favorites.  Queso dip was at the top of the list but I’ve been searching all this time for one that was satisfying and I finally found it!

The dip started with a recipe for a vegan cheese ball by the Vegabond Chef, Brad Myers.  I attended his Holiday Appetizers cooking class back in December and the cheese ball was one of the appetizers he showed us how to make (see my 12/25/14 post for his wrapped and stuffed dates recipe).  From this basic recipe I eliminated the coconut oil and drizzled a bit of olive oil instead and added about a cup of creamy cashew milk until I reached the desired consistency.  Then I added a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (I used mild but choose original if you want an extra kick).

So yummy and much better for you than the Velveeta version!

Brad’s recipe is as follows: start by soaking two cups of cashews and 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes overnight (I boiled for ten minutes).  Drain the soaked cashews and sun dried tomatoes and pour into a high speed blender such as a Vitamix.  Then add 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup of coconut oil (I eliminated this for the dip and drizzled with olive oil instead), 1 tablespoon mellow white miso paste, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Blend until smooth then allow to cool in the refrigerator before rolling into a ball and cover with sliced almonds.  I haven’t made the ball version myself but tasted it at Brad’s class and it was delicious.

To make it into a dip I followed the instructions for the ball up to allowing to cool.  Instead I left the mixture in the blender and slowly added creamy cashew milk to the mixture until it was the consistency I was looking for — I didn’t measure but I’m guessing it was about one cup.  You may want it thicker or runnier so pour and blend as you go.  When done, place the mixture in a pan on the stove and add one can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies then cook until warm.  Serve with chips and enjoy!

The first time I made this dip it was with the suggested coconut oil and the coconut flavor overpowered the dip so the second time I made it I used just a bit of olive oil instead and it was perfect.  I understand why it’s in the cheese ball for consistency but also because coconut oil is a superfood with powerful medicinal properties — everything Brad creates is delicious and healthy!

I’m also thinking about other possibilities — if I eliminate the Rotel it would make a nice base for mac & cheese or adding more cashew milk and steamed broccoli could produce a wonderful broccoli cheddar soup — will try that soon!

For more on Brad Myers, follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thevegabondchef.

This recipe was perfect for us last night — we’ve been so busy getting the house ready to sell that a movie night on the couch was long overdue.  I highly recommend, “The Theory of Everything” if you haven’t already seen it — Eddie Redmayne deserves his awards!  It’s one of those movies that really sends a powerful message about love and fortitude.  I have to say how grateful I am for my wonderful husband — he is truly the perfect fit for me!  I was out of state interviewing for a few days last week and came home to a bouquet of flowers, he missed me.  Check him out at http://www.nuvue-cinema.com/.

To follow along with my theme of effortlessness this year, here is a quote from the movie:

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking

Leave A Comment »
Tags:

Stuffed & Wrapped Dates

Merry Christmas — I’ve got the perfect holiday appetizer for you!  Dates wrapped in bacon are popular for carnivores and the Vegabond Chef, Brad Myers, has created a vegan version that is fantastic!  I attended Brad’s cooking class on Holiday Appetizers a few weeks ago and decided to try the dates for our Christmas Eve gathering.

As you can see from the photo, they’re not much to look at but delicious — the nutty, sweet, salty, and smoke flavors make an exquisite combination.

First stuff 20 pecans into 20 Deglet dates (get the pitted kind) and set aside.  Next, emerge two rice paper sheets in water until soft and a bit gummy.  Set rice paper on a cutting board and cut strips just short of the length of the dates (ten per sheet) and then wrap each stuffed date in a rice paper strip.

Next, in a sauce pan, put 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 1-2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil and heat on medium.  Fry the wrapped dates, making sure to get some browning on all sides, for approximately ten minutes.  Take the fried dates out of the oil and place on paper towels to sop up extra oil and then toss them in a bowl with two teaspoons of Nama Shoyu soy sauce and sprinkle with smoked paprika.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Note that if you just want an easy snack — simply stuff pecans into the dates and pop them in your mouth.

For more on Brad Myers, follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thevegabondchef or stop by his monthly classes at Nature’s Food Patch — each one I’ve attended has been great.  He has a fun and relaxed style of teaching and is an excellent vegan chef.

Leave A Comment »
Tags: