What’s for dinner tonight? Vegan Fettucine Alfredo

Hello my dear ones! Christo Anesti! Krystus zmartwychstal! Christ is risen!

Great Lent and Pascha has past and we are now in Bright Week. This is my first Orthodox Christian Easter season — all I can say is I am adjusting to these feelings that come up for me. The 49 days leading up to Pascha felt like a struggle being attunely aware of passions and foods to fast from. It wasn’t just physically detoxing but a spiritually detoxing season as well. We eat what the church considers “fasting food” all year round, but passions, as mentioned before in a different post, is not easy to fast from. Habits die hard. But then at the end of the season, we go to church at 11 pm, candles are lit in the darkness, and the energy is filled with joy. The struggle we go through is worth it for these moments and something we carry for a lifetime because we improve ourselves each year, hopign that we had learned the lessons during the 49 days. It is severely understated when I say the energy is pure joy and bright– I was hungry and tired, quite delirious but joy filled my soul and body! I don’t know how to put it into words the experience except for two or three or so words. Pure, divine, grace, love and JOY. JOY. And peace. I wish this day would never end. JOY! Christ is risen! Truly He is Risen! Christ is Risen, trampling death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing Life!


We fast all year round so I wanted to make a dish that was rich and luxurious, and actually felt like we were breaking the fast. Though when looking at this recipe, this is appropriate to eat on fasting days too! I remember coming across this recipe when I was deciding what to make for Pascha and decided to make this Alfredo sauce from “Vegetables Illustrated” because it is easy to make, light on the stomach (after eating a heavy gluten dish, Seitan Kleftiko along with vegan meatballs, that I made for Pascha, and I had cauliflower in the refrigerator that had to be used!

The recipe calls for almond milk though coconut milk and soy milk are suggested as substitutes, but I used oat milk because that is what I had on hand; I think this works perfectly, in my humble opinion. It adds richness without compromising in flavor.

Why does cauliflower work in this recipe?

It has a natural sweet, with pungent notes of butter, mustard, nuts and or pepper, and a soft yet crunchy (when raw), yet creamy when cooked. If you have an intolerance to dairy, this is a great substitute.


Ingredients

2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk or oat milk

1/3 cup coconut oil

3 tablespoons white miso

Salt and pepper

10 oz cauliflower florets, cut into 1/2- inch pieces (3 cups)

3/4 cup raw cashews, chopped

1 pound fettuccine

Pinch ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions
  • Combine almond milk, oil, miso, and 1 tsp salt in a large saucepan and bring to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve miso. Stir in the cauliflower and cashews, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, until cauliflower is very soft and falls apart easily when poked with fork, about 20 minutes.
  • Process cauliflower mixture and 1/2 cup water in blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Strain through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much puree as possible; discard solids.
  • Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until nearly tender. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and set aside in colander.
  • Transfer pureed cauliflower mixture to now-empty pot. Whisk in nutmeg and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Add drained pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until warmed through and sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Adjust consistency with reserverd cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle individual portions with parsley, and serve immediately.
Note

I must tell you, this is one of the easiest sauces I have ever made! Cleaning and chopping the cauliflower is the hardest / heavy lifting you’ll have to do. You can even make this a pot meal if you choose to cook the pasta first and then the Alfredo sauce; or if you have cooked leftover pasta that needs a sauce, you can’t go wrong with this sauce. Add some green leaf vegetables or peas, or asparagus to make it a more wholesome meal.

VARIATIONS

I used to make fettuccine Alfredo almost every Friday or Saturday night because it was easy to make; boil some pasta and pick up a jar from the grocery store. My favorite variations are petite peas or asparagus (grilled or sautéed) to make it a more exciting and fulsome meal, even though on its own is exemplary!


Health Benefits
Cauliflower

Nutritional profile: 

64% carbs 

20% protein

16% fat 

15 calories/ ½ cup serving (boiled)

Protein: 1g

A half cup cooked provides 9 IU vitamin A, 34.3 mg vitamin C, 200 mg potassium, 31.7 mcg folacin, 17 mg calcium.

oats

Nutritional profile: 

70% carbs 

15% protein

15% fats

110 calories/1 oz serving (uncooked)

Protein: 5g

Miso

Nutritional profile: 

55% carbs 

25% fats 

20% protein 

Calories: 275 per ½ cup serving 

Protein: 16g

Cashews

Nutritional profile:

23% carbs 

66% fat 

11% protein

155 calories/1 oz serving (raw)

Protein: 5g

Nutmeg

It is prescribed for flatulence and nausea. Nutmeg increases energy (Herb Bible).

Parsley

From “Healing with Whole Foods”:

  • Abundant in chlorophyll, which is purifying and stops the spread of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. Contains B12, vitamin A, excellent source of vitamin C, alpha-linolenic acid.
  • Beneficial for heart and artery renewal and cleansing the liver.
  • A step towards moderate salt use, consider using parsley, as well as kelp powder and seaweed, beets and their greens, celery, card, spinach and kale. Instead of salt, periodically substitute with these high-sodium foods.
  • Slightly warming thermal nature
  • Pungent, bitter, and salty flavor
  • Improves digestion
  • Detoxifies neat or fish poisoning
  • Ripens measles to hasten recovery
  • Contains several times the vitamin C of citrus and is one of the higher sources of provitamin A, chlorophyll, calcium, sodium, magnesium and iron
  • Promotes urination and dries watery mucoid conditions
  • Good for the treatment of obesity, mucus in the bladder, swollen glands and breasts, and stones in the bladder, kidney, or gall bladder
  • Effective for nearly all kidney and urinary difficulties, although not for cases of server kidney inflammations since it is warming
  • Strengthens the adrenal glands and benefits the optic and brain nerves
  • Useful in the treatment of ear infections, earache, and deafness
  • Often taken as a cancer preventative
  • Counteracts halitosis and poor digestion
  • Parsley tea strengthens the teeth and makes a face lotion increase circulation and bring color to the skin
  • Caution: Parsley should not be used by nursing mothers since it dries up milk (decreases milk production)

Vitamin A from Carotene: 8,500 IU per (100 g) 3 1/2 oz edible portion

Calcium: 203 mg per (100 g) 3 1/2 oz edible portion

Protein: 4 grams per (100 g) 3 1/2 oz edible portion


Sources

“The Vegetarian Flavor Bible”, Karen Page

“Healing with Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition”, Paul Pitchford, 3rd Edition

“Smithsonian Handbooks: Herbs”, Lesley Bremens, Smithsonian Institution

“Earl Mindell’s New Herb Bible”, Earl MIndell, R.Ph., Ph.D.

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