Before our diet change, Dave hated creamy things. Especially creamy sauces, anything involving mayonnaise, as well as melted cheese. So in some ways, eating vegan works out well for him.
ME, on the other hand… I looooooove creamy things. I used to be a big fan of alfredo’s, mac and cheese, and had no qualm with mayonnaise. Giving up dairy was a little sad for me : ( But! I would never choose to go back. It really has made a huge difference in my life.
So in an effort to try something new for Dave and to appease my cravings, I came up with an AMMMMMAZZZZING alfredo alternative that is both light and absolutely full of flavor!
I very often hear that people don’t like the taste of nutritional yeast, so I opted to leave it out. I stuck with a simple tablespoon of lemon juice for this one. I really wanted to make this sauce as easy as possible- no excessive chopping of garlic (after 4 bulbs I’m usually spent), no soaking cashews and needing a high-speed blender, and no crazy unusual ingredients. Just simple stuff that most everybody can find.
The most daunting thing about this recipe might be roasting the garlic if you’ve never done it before. Personally, I LOVE roasted garlic! The flavor! Ohhhhhhhh, so delicious and caramelized. I’m a big fan. And as long as you plan ahead, I find it to be a breeze. To roast garlic- Peel off any extra papery skin, then cut off about 1/4-inch off the top, exposing a little bit of the bulb. If there are any cloves that did not get cut, then just use a paring knife and take a tiny bit off the top. All you are doing is creating an opening to squeeze the roasted garlic out of. Place the bulb on a small sheet of foil and drizze a teeny amount of oil over the top. Loosely wrap up the bulb with the foil and place it on a sheet pan. Bake in a 400°F oven for 40-60 minutes. I like mine to be really caramelized so I usually go closer to 60 minutes. Begin checking it at around 40 minutes though, it is done once the cloves are soft and tender. Continue to cook depending on your personal preference. Let it cool and when you are ready to use it, squeeze the bulb and all the roasted garlic should come out of the cloves, kind of like toothpaste. If you have hard time with this and things get messy and sticky, here is a little trick to make this easier for you in the future- make it the day before you need it and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The cloves come out so much more cleanly this way.
Now aside from being easy and incredibly flavorful, this dish is light in calories. Not quite as light as the cauliflower alfredo phenomenon…. but really light compared to a dairy based cream sauce. Each serving of sauce has about 120 calories. Most servings of traditional cream sauces can start at as high as 500 calories, not including any of the pasta or meat that it is traditionally served with. Generally they end up closer to 1,000 calories a serving.
With one serving of this Vegan Alfredo, you are looking at 120 calories for the sauce plus roughly 200 calories for the pasta (depending on if each serving is more than the standard 2 ounce serving size), and a minuscule amount of calories from the broccoli (maybe somewhere around 30). So you are looking at a total of approximately 350 calories per serving of this oh-so-yummy, creamy dish of pasta. That is less than 400 calories for dinner! And if you want a bigger portion- maybe around 500.
I know this one is going to be a staple on our dinner menu from now on. It has become one of my all-things-creamy-hating husbands’ favorites! Shocked? I know I am.
- about 12 ounces pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, chopped
- ¼ cup all purpose flour or millet flour
- 2 cups unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk
- 1 head roasted garlic*
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups broccoli florets, about 1 large head, steamed (alternately use 3 cups mushrooms, sautéed)
- garnish with chopped parsley, if desired
- While making sauce, prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat with oil. Add shallots and sauté until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add flour and whisk until oil is absorbed; continue to cook about 1 minute. Slowly add milk while continuously whisking.
- Pour milk mixture in blender, add roasted garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Purée until smooth. Pour mixture back into pan and bring to simmer; cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 8 minutes (will continue to thicken as it cools).
- Serve pasta with sauce and broccoli.