Gluten-free Dairy-free Soy-free Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Recipe

December 14th, 2011 yum Posted in Dairy Free, Pasta, Soy Free, Vegan 7 Comments »

Have you ever found a recipe so tasty and interesting that you want to make it all the time, and when you can’t make that exact recipe, you want to make recipes inspired by it? I had that experience some time back with By the Bay’s potato knish using Chebe crust as the pastry for knish. I liked it so much I started using Chebe for pastry for everything- spinach pie tartlets, samosas, cranberry apple turnovers. I took it so far that I got a reputation as “that Chebe girl” and the company approached me to develop some recipes and do a photo for their cinnamon mix packaging. True story!

I styled and photographed the photo on their last soft package mix for cinnamon Chebe. Of course, just recently they got entirely new packaging in fancy new boxes. I guess I’ll have to frame the remaining package in my pantry! But I digress.

So, about those recipes. I think you all know my friend Ali Segersten with the blog at Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, and a new cookbook coming out soon. I adopted her some time ago for Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger. Way back in July she had this amazing recipe for Dairy-free Creamed Kale that I could eat like candy, I swear. Instead of using those tasteless packaged dairy-free milks, Ali used all fresh, real ingredients and make the creamy sauce with cashews. I just loved this recipe, and started thinking about other ways to use cashews as a creamy sauce in recipes.* I tried a creamed broccoli/cauliflower recipe, and it was good but not spectacular. But then the other night I was staring at my pantry trying to figure out what to make for dinner, and I was trying to think of how to make pasta interesting but not so interesting that Toddler Yum would snub it. We also had this huge container of mushrooms from Costco staring glossily back at me in the refrigerator, and it occurred to me that a cashew, dairy-free cream sauce would make a great mushroom alfredo. I seared some mushrooms and chard from our garden and added grated zucchini for bulk and sneaky mama veggie quotient and reduced the heck out of that cashew cream sauce. I also popped some white sweet potato “fries” in the oven to roast as a side dish.

At first I was going to make some plain pasta for the dear toddler, who can be relied on to ask for “plain, mama, plain pasta”. But then I thought that since she has never met a cashew dish she didn’t like, I’d try serving her the alfredo. The mushrooms were picked out immediately, and she eyed the chard very suspiciously, but she slurped down the pasta in sauce like a starving puppy and asked for more. My girl had four helpings before the night was out! And before you get worried, she had skipped the (disgusting) lunch at her daycare and had recently recovered from a tummy bug, so I think she was ready for a serious calorie infusion. The picky DH, who can be very skeptical of dairy-free sauces, dove in with gusto, and it goes without saying that I ate more than my fair share. Success!

I would definitely make this recipe again, and might just have to try this cashew sauce in some other classic creamy recipes. If you have a vitamix, I think the creamy sauce will be even more creamy, but the texture with my (pathetically weak) blender reminded me of the texture of melted parmesan regianno bits, so it worked well for us. These photos were taken the following day when the greedy pasta had drank up a lot of the sauce. It tasted good reheated but was most spectacular freshly made. Also, I used the new Trader Joe’s gluten-free corn spaghetti, and thought it worked well. A brown rice (Tinkyada) or my all time my favorite gluten-free pasta by Le Veneziane might make it even better!



*This recipe posting is Ali-approved… I love my fellow bloggers and always like to ask them when I use a blogged recipe as serious inspiration when developing a new recipe.

Dairy-free Soy-fre Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Sauce Recipe
Ingredients
The Sauce:
2 tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 cups water
1 teaspoon raw cider vinegar
1 teaspoon herbamare or your favorite herbed salt

The Pasta:
1 lb. gluten-free spaghetti

The Veggies:
1 tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil (if needed)
3/4 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
freshly ground pepper and additional herbamare to taste
large handful of chard, cleaned and cut into slivers
2 small zucchini or 1 regular zucchini, cleaned and grated

Directions
Heat oil on medium-high in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Saute your onion until translucent. Then combine translucent onion, soaked and drained cashews, nutritional yeast, water, vinegar and herbamare in a blender. Blend until you have a creamy sauce. Reserve.

Boil pasta until al dente.

Heat additional oil (if needed) in your pan on medium-high and add your sliced mushrooms in a single layer on the pan. Season with freshly grated black pepper and herbamare. You may have to do several batches. Brown one side and then turn over to brown the other side. Remove from pan and reserve while you brown the remaining mushrooms. Add your slivered chard to the last batch of mushrooms and sautee them until they wilt and start to brown. Sprinkle on your grated zucchini and let it soften slightly. Pour on your sauce and let it thicken.

Mix pasta into the sauce and serve topped with fresh basil if desired.

Notes
Best the first night it is made, but can be reheated too. I think I might save any uneaten pasta separate from the sauce for the next day and combine them right before heating so that the pasta doesn’t absorb too much of the sauce and you get more creamy liquid for leftovers.
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Gluten-free On the Road in Israel: Easy Chickpea Pasta Recipe

September 18th, 2011 yum Posted in Chickpeas, Israel, Italian, Pasta 6 Comments »

Eating gluten-free is more difficult on the road, and most difficult of all when traveling internationally. This is why when the DH and I planned a trip to Israel this September, I insisted that we stay somewhere with a kitchen at least part of the time. We chose the Atlas hotel affiliated Tal hotel in Tel Aviv, located within walking distance of the Tel Aviv Port. I learned later that there was a gluten-free store at Hangar 13 of the Port (Aditta’s), so it ended up being an especially good choice. One thing I was not anticipating was the difficulty of navigating labels in Hebrew. I had heard that everything would be in Hebrew and English, so I thought labels would be easy- it turned out that the only thing typically written in English MIGHT be the title of the food item. Labels were NOT in English unless the product was imported in or designed for export. This made all kinds of things complicated. Also, our kitchen was very, very small, which was not a problem, but I found that the hot plate liked to blow the kitchen fuse, which was a hassle until they switched out the hot plate. It was handy that Israeli buffet breakfasts are reasonably gluten-free friendly. They serve (gluten) bread… but they also serve salad, which may consist of arugula-like greens and apples or plums if you are very lucky, several kinds of dairy including soft cheeses like Tsfatit, fresh cheese, a cottage cheese and my favorite, Labane, a smooth, creamy yogurt cheese. They will tend to have labane plain or (my favorite) with chives or possibly dill.

A pescatarian breakfast of salad with tahini as an un-dressing, cottage cheese, labane, tsfatit cheese, and pickled fish.
The nicer hotel buffets will also have an espresso machine, although the machine will be at rest on Saturday morning. I ate breakfast at the hotel every morning, which was a relief to not have to worry about feeding myself or Toddler Yum. Having a kitchen for lunch was wonderful, though. I was able to fry eggs, make gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich, and gluten-free pancakes, when eating out was too complicated. My favorite meal was thanks to some gluten-free pasta I bought at Adittas (also available through an online gluten-free store that delivers or other health food stores. I had bought a can of chickpeas, and had some milk and butter. It was a simple dish, but satisfying, and Toddler Yum gobbled it up like candy. The best thing is that you could make this dish almost anywhere in the world in a dorm kitchen, a weekly mansion hotel, or even at home, with simple, easily available ingredients. I hope you enjoy it.

Chickpea Pasta Recipe for limited kitchens
Ingredients
1 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 thin slices or 1 large grated handful tasty cheese (optional)
1 tbsp. gluten-free flour or baking mix (I used Pamela’s pancake mix because it is what I had)
milk (regular or plain soy or almond milk)
fresh herbs, diced (optional)
minced fresh veggies (red, yellow, green pepper or carrot)
nuts (such as pine nuts etc. if available), lightly toasted

1/2 package of gluten-free corn spaghetti (or your favorite variety)

Directions
Heat 1 tbsp butter or olive oil in a small skillet. Add your diced onion and saute until translucent. Toss in your gluten-free flour and mix to combine with the softened onions. Add 1/2 cup milk, stir until combined and heat on medium-low, whisking (with fork or fancy whisk) as needed. When sauce begins to thicken slightly add more milk, whisk together, heat more and let thicken. Add more milk until you have enough sauce for your taste. Then add your chickpeas and simmer until the chickpeas have been flavored by the sauce. Add your (optional) cheese and let it start to melt. Turn off the heat and let it continue to melt.

Cook your favorite pasta until al dente and drain. Stir your chickpea sauce. Top your pasta with your chickpea pasta sauce and add diced fresh herbs (if you have them), salt, pepper, and sprinkle minced fresh veggies and nuts on top. Enjoy!

Notes
Perfect for limited kitchens with at least one stove burner and a dorm refrigerator. This recipe only uses commonly available ingredients, except for the gluten-free flour and gluten-free pasta. When I know I will have at least one burner at a destination, I pack pasta and flour in my suitcase.
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