Vegan Pasta Alfredo-Style

Who can recall the carefree days of youth, when you never thought about counting calories or high-cholesterol?

With my Southern Italian roots, rich sauces like Alfredo or Carbonara sauce were not something on the menu at home, but I always looked forward to having them when visiting Little Italy.

Having learned cooking from my mother, I steered clear of preparing foods containing large amounts of cream, butter and eggs, long before becoming vegan. Thanks to the wonder of nutritional yeast (and pioneers like JoAnn Stepaniak), it’s easy to prepare a rich creamy Alfredo-style sauce that’s healthy, too!

The below recipe is from Isa Moskowitz’ “Fettucine Alfreda” (Vegan With a Vengeance, p 142) borrowing the vegetables from Fat-Free Vegan’s Fettuccine No-Fredo with Broccoli and Sautéed Mushrooms. Isa also suggests adding grilled tofu.

You will definitely need nutritional yeast (Whole Foods Market sells it in bulk, if you don’t want to buy a lot) to prepare this, and if you don’t have Braggs Liquid Aminos, no problem to use soy sauce instead. Although Isa’s recipe calls for 1/2 lb of pasta, for me it’s enough for 1lb (i.e. two 1/2lb batches). It just depends on how saucy you like your pasta.

Even without that cream and butter, it tastes decadently delicious!

Ingredients

2 t olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 t yellow mustard

1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted)

2 t soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos

2 t chile powder

1 cup nutritional yeast (Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula)

ground black pepper to taste

seasonal vegetables of your choice (zucchini, broccoli and asparagus work well)

Method

Saute onions in olive oil until softened

Add garlic and sautee 2 until just golden

Transfer onion and garlic to a blender, add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Prepare your pasta of choice. Whole-wheat fettucine is a little hard to come by, so I use whole wheat linguine this time, and rotelle are also great.

Slice the vegetables and lightly sauteed them or grill them, if you prefer. If you’re pressed for time (or feeling lazy) you can also throw the cut vegetables into the pasta water during the last 2-3 minutes (be careful not to make them too soggy, I like a little them to have a little crunch).

Drain the pasta just before reaching al dente, retaining 1/4 cup hot water.

Return the pasta to the pot, and mix together with the sauce, adding more hot water or nutritional yeast until the sauce is a consistency you like.

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