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California Alfredo and Eggplant

Finally, it’s done.  I’ve attempted this recipe before, and while the flavours were pretty good, the consistency was all wrong.  Now, I’ve fixed it, and it’s ready for sharing.

Every once in awhile, I get this desperate desire for decadent pasta dishes.   I mean, I get the idea in the morning, and spend the entire day waiting for supper, meditating on the idea.  However, I’ve often felt stumped as to how to make that perfect sauce; cornstarch-thickened sauces leave a kind of sick, heavy feeling in your stomach (and lack richness), and goodness knows what’s in some store-bought soy creamers.  I suppose you could create a creamy sauce by processing silken tofu, which is tasty, but that also lacks in richness so it doesn’t always satisfy that craving.  Again, soy cheese is pretty highly processed, too.

Then, on one of those obsessive craving days, I started to think about the texture of avocado.  Really thinking about it.  How buttery and rich it is.  It occurred to me that avocado satiates that particular craving, and therefore, would make a wonderful pasta sauce.

So, the California Alfredo was born.  I just made Alfredo sauce from memory, and played around with the proportions.  On the night I got this right, I was making a nice supper to share with my mom, who, while omnivorous, is very understanding of my choice to be vegan in comparison to many other families I’ve heard of.  We ate this dish with a side of roasted eggplant (done in can-olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic), and a glass of the wine that went into the sauce.  Overall, I’m exceedingly happy with this recipe; it is kept very simple intentionally, but if you need some more flavours going on here, try adding some fresh parsley.

California Alfredo

California Alfredo

– Pasta (I used broad noodles, but choose whatever noodle your little heart desires)

– two (or more, if desired) shallots

– can-olive oil for cooking (the blended oil will be less likely to overheat, but you can use olive oil)

– three cloves of garlic

– 1/2 cup vegan chardonnay (we used Jackson Triggs) or other white or blush wine

– 1 cup plus around 1/2 cup soy milk

– lots of freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

– garnishes, if desired


– pasta pot.

– saucepan/small pot.

– immersion blender and a container that you can blend in without tossing half the ingredients to kingdom come.

– spoons, knives, and other basic utensils

(You will need to decide when the most opportune time to start your pasta cooking will be, so that you finish it at the same time as the sauce.  I’ll tell you when I started mine)

1.) Mince the shallot, and cook in some oil in the saucepan until clear.

2.) Meanwhile, pit and peel avocado, and blend with 1 cup of soy milk until very smooth. 

3.) Once shallots are cooked through, add 1/2 cup wine, and bring to a simmer.  Add garlic (minced, or put through a press).  Put on pot of water to boil for the pasta.

4.) Add the avocado mixture, whisk in, and then continue to whisk in more soy milk until you find what you feel is the correct consistency.  I added another half cup.  Season with salt and pepper.  Allow to simmer, stirring, and throw your pasta in the other pot to cook.  Once pasta is cooked, and the flavours of the sauce seem well-blended, serve with pretty garnishes and a glass of the same wine you were cooking with.


Supper Outdoors

I am aware that this dish isn’t representative of the excessive amounts of fruit and veg that I usually eat, but it’s so comforting, simple, fast, and pretty.  I know that I’ve read about fresh pesto elsewhere (I don’t recall where), but this recipe was created off the top of my head, and is somewhat more minimalistic than true pesto.  I love the simplicity of the flavour (and the way eating vegan allows you to actually notice all the flavours in this dish.  Seriously, do you know how much more sensitive my sense of taste is now?).

However, you can’t simply cook and eat this one.  Here’s a little experience for you.  I’m aware that some of these instructions might be a little vague, but that’s half the fun of it.

1.) Go out into your herb garden (what you don’t have a herb garden?  For shame.  Then go to the grocery store), and pick an overflowing handful of fresh herbs that will compliment each other.  I think that I used garlic chives, lemon thyme, and parsley this particular day.  Wash the herbs and separate the leaves from the stems.

2.) Make some orzo pasta.  I made a cup, but didn’t use it all.  In fact, it became part of a very veg-filled pasta salad the next day.

3.) Cut up a few sun-dried tomatoes, and shred up the herbs.  In a little skillet, heat up a bit of olive oil, but not so much that you ruin the oil.  You’re just warming it, not frying with it.  Throw in the herbs and tomatoes, heat for a little while to bring out the flavours.

4.) Put pasta in a pasta bowl.  Or a regular bowl if you aren’t cool enough to have a pasta bowl.  Or on a plate if you’re broke, and don’t have any bowls.  Pour your fresh herb and tomatoe mix on the center of the pasta.  Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and a little bit of sea salt (if you’ve only got regular salt, don’t bother, it’s not worth it).  Garnish with a pretty sprig of something.  Stir before eating.

5.) Go sit with your food on your front step/ your porch/ your backyard/ your front yard/ the park/ your neighbour’s yard.  Enjoy the beautiful outdoors, and the jealous, hungry glares of passers-by.

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