Thursday, March 1, 2012

Straight up Italian

As I was browsing through the Skinny Bitch In the Kitchen cookbook I came across this section of the book: 
Pretty much!!
This cookbook is great. I especially love the commentary! The text on this page completely describes my views on pasta, as well as fad diets (do those ever even work? Nope). I grew up on spaghetti, lasagna, manicotti, baked ziti, ravioli, pizza, pizza, and more pizza. Seriously... I could never live without that stuff. So yes, I'm your classic "Italian Bitch". Since going vegan and further educating myself on nutrition, I now stick to whole wheat pastas, or use other ingredients to replace noodles such as zucchini, quinoa, or spaghetti squash.... BUT I'm all about those pasta dishes!
So as I was browsing through the "Italian Bitch" section of the cookbook, I noticed an enticing recipe for a vegan Alfredo sauce. I'm typically a marinara girl, but was immediately inspired to invent one of my own. I also wanted to make it Paleo for my brother, Daniel.


I have three younger brothers (lucky me!). To clarify, Daniel is my middle brother. I don't get to see him often as he is a college student and a world traveler, so when I do I usually cook for him (duh!). 
Brother Daniel and I over the summer before he left for college :)

Daniel grew up running cross country and swimming like me, but hit a rut when he broke his back (I know, yikes!!) in a snowboarding accident during his senior year of high school. I am so proud of him because he has recently started eating healthier and gotten back into working out by biking and running. He is into the paleo kick too (although not terribly strict about it) and it's working out well for him! This is the vegan/paleo Italian dish I made for Daniel:

[This Vegan Bitch's] Mushroom Alfredo Sauce
Stir That Bitch Up.


Alfredo and Mushrooms over Spaghetti Squash Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegan mozzarella or Parmesan cheese*
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1 tsp raw agave nectar or sweetener of choice
  • 1/2 tbs vegan butter or margarine (omit for Paleo)*
  • vegan grated Parmesan cheese (omit for Paleo)
  • Pasta noodles of your choice*
Method:
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in 1 can of coconut milk and bring to a low boil. 
  3. Add the salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, butter, and vegan cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Add agave nectar and continue to cook uncovered until the cheese has melted entirely and the sauce has thickened up a bit.
  4. Serve over your favorite pasta. 
* Dan and I used the "noodles" of a whole Spaghetti squash to make the recipe paleo. To cook the squash, before starting your sauce, preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Roast the halves face-down on a greased baking pan or sheet for 30-40 minutes, until the flesh of the squash is tender. Use a fork to scrape out the "noodles". Boom.

* For vegan cheese I used Daiya Mozzarella cheese. Daiya is vegan and SOY FREE!! But it does have a minimal amount of sugar in it. Molly (my crossfit coach) says she would still use it considering the sweetener is the last/least ingredient.
*For vegan margarine I used Smart Balance Light.
*For vegan Parmesan I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods grated Parmesan Cheese Topping. 

Hope you enjoy this one! My non-vegetarian brother absolutely loved it! If you liked it then you might also like my Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs (although it is not paleo).  
Have a great weekend and keep on cookin'!!
-Em

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