I love traditional alfredo pasta. Specifically, I love fettuccine alfredo. What I don’t love as much is the incredible amount of fat from heavy cream and butter and a calorie count that easily meets or exceeds my daily recommended intake. I’m not exaggerating here – Alfredo dishes served at restaurants can easily top 2,000 calories per entree. Creamy pasta is comfort food, even if the nutrition profile is far from comforting, and the week I concocted this recipe was pretty stressful. While I’m not quite ready to talk about it in public forum, I will say I desperately needed comfort food and I also needed a PROJECT to take my mind off of things, hence, Guilt Free Vegan Alfredo Pasta was born.
I set out to create a delicious vegan alfredo pasta alternative that was lower in calories, higher in fiber and protein, and cholesterol free that didn’t skimp on flavor or creaminess. I’m quite proud of how this recipe turned out and I sincerely hope you’ll try it. Next time you need comfort food with no regrets, reach for this Guilt Free Vegan Alfredo Pasta, curl up on the couch with a good movie, book, or magazine and allow yourself to be comforted – it’s worth it. I promise.
- 1 15 oz can great northern beans
- ⅛ cup olive oil
- 1 fresh lemon juiced
- ½ cup whole unsalted cashews
- 3 cloves garlic
- Salt & Fresh black pepper to taste
- 1 handful fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
- 8 oz whole wheat pasta
- 2 cups pasta water, reserved
- 1 container sliced mushrooms
- ½ bag of frozen peas
- Measure out olive oil, cashews, lemon juice, garlic, basil, and pepper and set aside.
- Drain and rinse great northern beans.
- Place beans, olive oil, lemon juice, cashews, garlic, basil, and pepper in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. If mixture is too thick, thin with water until your mixture can be blended more easily.
- Cook pasta in large pot on the stove according to package instructions until al dente, then drain, reserving pasta water, and set aside ( You can use the same colander you rinsed the beans in and save some dishes! )
- In the same pot your pasta was just in, add your sauce from the blender/food processor. Add mushrooms and peas, bring to low/medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, adding reserved pasta water as necessary (I used 1 ½ to 2 cups of pasta water for mine). You don’t want the sauce to be too thick. It will thicken on its own when combined with pasta.
- Reduce heat to low, then add your pasta noodles back into the pot with the sauce and veggies. Stir until pasta is evenly coated with sauce and heated through. Taste and add salt or adjust seasonings as needed.
- Serve hot, topped with fresh basil.
Step by Step Instructions for Guilt Free Vegan Alfredo Pasta
First, gather your ingredients. Deliciousness awaits you.
Drain and rinse your can of beans.
Slice your lemons and chop your onion.
Slice half of an onion, measure out a handful of fresh basil leaves, mince your 3 cloves of garlic, measure out black pepper, olive oil, cashews, and lemon juice.
Next, add the beans, lemon juice, onion, basil, garlic, pepper, cashews, and olive oil to a blender or food processor. TIP: Because I use a high speed blender, I don’t bother to soak my cashews – I find my cashew sauces get plenty creamy enough even if I skip the soaking. The blender I use is the Vitamix. I love it; it’s become one of my favorite tools for making sauces, dressings, soups, and smoothies. While you puree your sauce, cook pasta in water according to package instructions until al dente, then drain into colander, reserving pasta water for later.
Next, pour your sauce from the blender/food processor into the pot your pasta was cooked in. Then, add mushrooms and peas and turn to medium heat. As mushrooms and peas cook, add reserved pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce if it starts to look too thick – I ended up using about 1.5 cups of pasta water, but you may need more or less liquid. You don’t want the sauce to get too thick because it will thicken significantly as it cools and especially when combined with the pasta. Cook until mushrooms have reached desired tenderness, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Finally, add your pasta back into the pot and stir until combined.
Serve your pasta hot, and garnish with extra fresh basil. A light bodied white wine pairs well with this dish, such as a sauvignon blanc.