There are a few dishes that my kids have missed since our plant-based eating journey began. Christopher, especially, has missed one of his very favorite dishes – Fettuccine Alfredo.
I’m not going to tell you that this is exactly like my regular Alfredo – full of heavy cream and Parmesan. But this is a really good stand-in!
Now, I know that some of you are going to take one look at the ingredient list and think cashews? On pasta?
Cashews are used a lot in plant-based cooking – especially in “cheese” dishes. They don’t end up tasting like cashews. I promise.
When we first started eating this way, I read a lot about using raw cashews in plant-based cooking. So I bought a bag of raw cashews and stowed it in the pantry. A couple of months went by and I saw a nacho “cheese” recipe that used cashews. I couldn’t remember whether I had bought cashews or not, so I added a bag to my grocery list. It came and I chickened out and stowed it in my pantry.
This happened a few times until I now have four bags of raw cashews. Every time I pass by and see them, I shiver. I just haven’t been ready to tackle the cashew adventure.
Well, last night, I decided I’d better open a bag and try to create a rich, creamy Alfredo sauce.
You cannot skip the soaking step when using cashews in your recipes! Some recipes will tell you to soak them for five minutes. Some say an hour. Just be sure you use boiling water. It starts to soften the cashews so that they blend smoother and turn into creamy, almost cheesy yumminess!
Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
• 16 oz. of fettuccine
• 4 cups of broccoli, fresh or frozen
• 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews
• 2 cups of boiling water
• 1 cup of chopped onion
• 1 tablespoon of minced garlic – more, if you like
• 2 cups of plant milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
• 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon of onion powder
• 2 teaspoons of salt – more to taste
Place cashews in a jar or bowl. Pour boiling water over to cover.
In a skillet, drizzle olive oil and add onions and garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat for about five minutes, until onion is softened.
Drain cashews and add them to a blender pitcher. Pour in onion/garlic mixture. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth.
Bring a stockpot full of salted water to a boil and add fettuccine and broccoli. Boil until pasta is as tender as you’d like. Pour into a strainer to drain completely. Pour back into the pot and add about half the Alfredo sauce. Stir until sauce is warmed through.
Well Duh #1: I do not have a high-speed blender, but I just kept blending until it was smooth. It took about 3-4 minutes.
Well Duh #2: If you like your broccoli with more of a bite, boil separately from the pasta until desired tenderness. Or you can be lazy like me and start them boiling together and then use a spider or slotted spoon to fish out the broccoli at around the 5 minute mark. The broccoli floats, so that makes it easy!
Well Duh #3: I only used a little more than half of the sauce that I made. I poured the rest into a jar, screwed on the lid, and stored it in the refrigerator. If I don’t use it in a couple of days, I will pour it into a zippered bag and freeze it.
Well Duh #4: You can absolutely amp up the garlic when you make yours! You could actually use up to 6 cloves of garlic! Traditional Alfredo is pretty garlicky. Michael doesn’t like garlic, so I use it very sparingly. I think he was frightened by a clove of garlic at around the same time of his childhood as he was traumatized by grits! Those are two things that the man will not eat.
Well Duh #5: Not a broccoli fan? I often use sauteed sliced mushrooms in my Alfredo. They mimic the texture of chicken. I let Christopher choose whether I used mushrooms or broccoli last night and he chose broccoli.
The tribe was happy with this dish. Christopher very nearly inhaled his portion! He ate after Michael and I did and he was only in the kitchen for a few minutes before he joined us in the living room.
“You didn’t like it?” I asked.
Child looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “I already ate it!” he replied.
Summer being summer, Elizabeth came home an hour later from swimming with some friends and ate her portion. She declared it a keeper!