Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Move over, Alfredo!

I was never really a fan of alfredo sauces back in the day so when I happened upon VwaV's Fettucini Alfreda Sauce I just kinda glanced at it and moved on. But last night, I wanted something quick, tasty, and easy and remembered someone had blogged about it recently. Then I remembered that vegan versions of cream-based things are typically nothing like the original and choc full o' their own unique yumminess, and it was decided. So I marinated some tofu Italian style and whipped up some Alfreda sauce to put over whole grain spaghetti and some steamed broccoli with garlic.

Here it's topped with hempseed. OH MY, is this stuff good! We loved it! I can't believe that the bulk of this sauce's base is nutritional yeast, sauteed onions, and pine nuts. It has such a distinct and rich flavor and came out thick and hearty. The chili powder gives it an almost smokey quality....or maybe that came from my forgetting about the pine nuts toasting in the iron skillet for just a sec? hehe

Either way, i LOVED it and am excited to make it again some time soon. I think I'd like to try nixing the chili powder and substitute with an herb who's flavor could also really shine just to shake it up a bit. hmmmm, what goes best with onions? so if you've overlooked this recipe in the past 'cause it just didn't sound all that different or exciting? take it from is both of those things and you won't be sorry you tried it! We also had my parents come thru recently on a trip they took to visit with my grandparents. My mom is an aspiring vegetarian who's always open to try anything so I wanted to give her sure hits during her time here. My dad is more of a meat 'n potatoes kind of guy but I did get him to try a couple roasted brussel sprouts which was a HUGE accomplishment. ;) Thanks, Dad! They got in late and wanted a snack so I broke out some Seitan Nuggets with my homemade agave mustard dip (old agave nectar bottles make the BEST condiment bottles for this. now i can make a ton of agave mustard and leave it in the 'fridge!). While not the healthiest thing I make, (I still have yet to bake rather than pan fry crispy!) they are a sure winner with everyone and really hit the spot when you're hungry for a crunchy, tasty snack.

For mom, we dined for lunch on spaghetti squash with lemon artichoke pesto, walnuts, and hempseed (i was kicking myself for not having run out to get sundried tomatoes. they really make it extra yummy). I also made her the Native Food's Tempeh Pate. This time, I used the called for amt of deglaze for the tempeh and it came out perfection. the dill is really lovely in this one and the texture is great. I think mom was truly wowed that a squash could do the work of pasta no problem and offer up some of it's own great flavor and texture as well. I try to use pasta as a luxury item when I'm reeeeally feeling lazy even tho we almost always eat whole grain varieties....I just like the idea of it being a rare event rather than a staple. When you come from a big Italian family, this is a stretch! I can't get enough of spaghetti squash, myself. love the stuff!

That night for dinner I made what has become my most favorite thing in the world to eat and make for others. My Vegan Caesar Salad. I'm not kidding, if you haven't tried this yet, you really should. I make the dressing from Bunnyfoot's blog here. I then load it up with chopped sundried tomatoes, roasted garlicky brussel sprouts (quartered), avacado, hempseed, and some more nutritional yeast. I didn't take a picture as I've bored you all with that a million times by now, but there is something really wonderful about the combination in this salad that you just can't beat. I make the brussel sprouts ahead of time so that they'll cool to close to room temperature.

We had that as our meal, huge portions. You can't feel bad about filling up on leafy greens and veggies. AND this way, I got to treat them each with my beloved
vegan chocolate chip cookies. This time no nuts for dad. We'll work on that one, tho.


Anonymous said...

That looks awesome! I was reading all your back posts and wonder if you ever got your tummy issue solved? Were you ever tested for wheat intolerance, or have you ever tried an elimination diet with a naturopath? Just a thought. Now back to all your great pics!

Nikk said...

Yum! It's so much fun when you can go all out and make fantastic veg dishes for your family and they can start to see that the lifestyle isn't crazy after all!

I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving because I am going to rock my family's ideas about food...

Anonymous said...

I love being able to impress people with delicious vegetarian food. I'm so glad that you were able to make some meals that impressed them. What recipe do you use to make your seitan nuggets?

Anonymous said...

I just came from Jenna's blog and she also made the Alfredo sauce.
I take it as a sign that I should make it myself LOL

Beautiful picture !
And I agree about pasta !

Anonymous said...

Oh I loved that Alfreda sauce too. Must make it again one of these days...

Candi said...

Ooh! I read about that alfredo today at another blog, and it was a recipe I overlooked! I know we'd love this one, so I am glad you both pointed it out!! :P it looks great!

The salad you make sounds good! I saved the dressing recipe. :P

I'm so glad you had fun with your family!

I also hope your stomach is better!!!!

Amey said...

great post! So many delicious looking (and sounding) ideas. Yum yum. I have been wary of the alfredo sauce because I am not a big fan of the nutritional yeast flavor.... Is it strong in the final recipe?

: )

Anonymous said...

that's enough to convince I've got to try the alfredo sauce. I must say...I've seen the recipe but never really "noticed" it before.

laura k said...

I've been eyeing that alfredo sauce recipe too. Glad to hear it was a success!

Congrats on the success with sharing vegan food with your parents--especially your dad! It's always nice when it's a good experience for everyone!

Anonymous said...

Sooooo Delicious.. I was there! I wish I had the time to prepare these things at home... EVERYTHING was awesome...thanks... I'm gonna try my hand at the spagetti squash next week while I'm preparing the tradition feast for them... and a few special things for me... The Vegetable herself! See ya soon!!!

Bonnie said...

Holy crap this food looks good. I love the way the alfreda looks, did you use whole wheat pasta?

Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan! said...

gaile- ya know, my tummy issues just kinda faded away. i have a sneaking suspicion that stress was a serious culprit. there was a lot going on prior and i had little in the way of an outlet to relieve stress and it just kinda snowballed from there. it's amazing to me that you can seriously experience such pain from stress! i am now happy to report that i'm feeling top notch and back to exercising and feeling all around great! thanks so much!!!

nikki- yup, even my dad was jus so willing to try. it was wonderful. good for you with your thxgiving plans. ain't it fun, being the family vegan? ;)

vivacious vegan- me too! so far, i've only used VwaV's recipe and i basically make it just like Isa instructs. I've been experimenting with different glutens and when i pick the best one i think then i'll venture out to other preparations. i already decided that Arrowhead Mills is not my gluten of choice, but prefer Bob's Red Mill the best thus far.

gaia- yup, my heart is just breaking every time i get to the grocery store and find teeny little spaghetti squashes or...gasp! squashes at all. sigh. ;)

chris- mmmm hmmm, such an interesting flavor it has!

candi- seriously? that dressing recipe is just the best thing ever. I make a caesar salad weekly, i love it so much.

springsandwells- yeah, i think so. but i am in love with the nutritional yeast flavor so much. i have to admit, when i first started using it i was a little put off by it. then it just kind of grew on me and now? i cannot get enough of it. the sauce does have a more interesting flavor tho above that one. i'm not sure what it is. maybe the chili powder in it makes it so.

megan- ooh, you should. and i know what ya mean...i must have glanced at it sixty times before i finally gave it a go.

laura- yup, i feel like i'm offering up an education beyond what my family knows about food. they're so interested that i feel really fortunate.

anonymous- Hi MOM! (everyone, meet my mom ;). I can't wait to hear how that turns out! I'm so glad you could come by on your trip and that you enjoyed everything we ate together. LOVED feeding YOU, for a change. hehe and i STILL can't believe dad ate those brussel sprouts. he must love me more than i thought! ;)

brown- thank you! and yes, we always use whole wheat know, except once or twice a year when my husband gives me that look in the pasta aisle and i'm a sucker for a cute boy with a desire for white flour. hehe