Recipe Review: Cauli-power Fettuccine “Alfredo”

As I breifly mentioned in my last post, I’ve made some changes to my diet, which include lowering my daily fat intake. So, when I saw Angela’s recipe for alfredo sauce made with cauliflower come through my in-box, I was all about it!

As luck would have it, Whole Foods had organic cauliflower on sale, so I picked up a couple of heads and Cauli-power Fettuccine Alfredo was moved to the top of the dinner menu.

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I’ve been using corn pasta, or a combo of corn and some other gluten-free grains, and I’ve been pretty happy with the outcome. The taste is good; the texture is good, and I don’t feel all vibratey after eating a big ol’ bowl of pasta like I do when I eat regular semolina pasta. So, for this recipe, I used the pasta I had in the pantry, which was a bag of rigatoncini. I figured that shape and style would work fine with this sauce because of the lines – and I was right. Woot!

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I was a little worried the sauce would come out watery because of my previous attempts at using cauliflower in sauces and soups. (Hello. How do people think mashed cauliflower tastes anything like my beloved mashed potatoes?!) But, surprise surprise, the sauce was super thick and creamy and delicious!

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I ended up adding a little extra nutritional yeast (because I always do), and I waited to add any salt until the individual servings. (I’m making a conscious effort to reduce my sodium intake.) I also skipped the sauteed onions (If you keep them in, please try sauteing them with water, not oil.) and just added granulated garlic and onion powder to the mix. And, I had plain soy milk open already, so I used that for the non-dairy milk. I think using a thicker non-dairy milk like soy or hemp is probably a good idea, although Angela used almond milk.

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I also added some broccoli to my dish. I just tossed in w/ the pasta as it cooked, and eight minutes later, they were both done. Yummy add for no extra work! (Well, except for the little bit of chopping required to get the broccoli florettes off their stems.)

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Other than those few tweaks, I followed the recipe exactly. I even  followed the suggested order of boiling the cauliflower first then making the sauce and letting it sit while I boiled the pasta and broccoli. After I drained the pasta/broccoli mix, I added it back to the hot pan on the still warm burner and poured in the sauce, stirred, and ate!

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I will definitely make this recipe again! One thing I will keep in mind, though, is the sauce really soaks into the pasta as it sits, so the next day, the pasta is a bit mushy, and the sauce is even more bland. I ground on a bit more salt and plowed through my next-day plate, but I kept wishing I’d added some fresh tomatoes or onions or something to brighten it up. (My husband thought adding a little bit of non-dairy milk might help revive things a bit, but I’d already eaten all of the left-overs before he suggested it. Ha!)

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Overt Fat Free

I need to write a post about the current state of my diet, but long story short, I’ve gotten a handle on my moving + holiday eating frenzy and feel like I’m in a good place right now. Basically, I’m eating within a ration of 80% carbohydrates and 10% each fat and protein. And while my diet is high raw, it is not all raw, so it’s not the 80-10-10 of The 80-10-10 Diet – just the ratio.

Back to why we’re here today…I made cookies!

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Yup. Delicious, nutritious, overt-fat-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies made with only four ingredients (five if you count the optional cinnamon) and sweetened only with fruit. 80-10-10 for the win!

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Overt Fat Free)

2 c old fashioned oats

1/2 c super thick date paste

1 medium banana, mashed (about 1/4 c)

1/4-1/2 c raisins (soaked if dry)

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

First, make date paste by blending soaked dates. Try not to use any of the date soaking water, so the paste is extra thick and sticky. Then, mash the banana using a fork (or pulse it in a mini-chopper). Don’t blend it because the liquid banana will add liquid to the dough.

Add oats and cinnamon to a bowl. Stir to combine. (Optional: Add a dash of salt.) Add mashed banana and date paste. Stir to combine. Add raisins. Stir to incorporate. [If  dough is too dry, add more date paste.]

Scoop dough onto a parchment or Paraflexx lined dehydrator tray. [I used an ice cream scooper.] Use the back of a spoon to flatter the cookies into desired thickness. Shape edges for prettier cookies (and so no little bits dry and fall off).

Dehydrate at 145F for about 30 minutes to quick set the cookies. Reduce heat and continue to dry at 110F for about 60 minutes. Flip cookies and continue to dry for 60-90 more minutes.

Makes 10 cookies at about 160 calories and 1.5 grams of fat each.

NOTES:

EFA’s: If your diet is a little low on EFA’s (essential fatty acids 3-6-9), try adding a flax “egg” (1 TBSP flax meal + 1-2 TBSP water). You might need to cut back on the date paste if you.

Baking: If you don’t have a dehydrator or don’t feel like using one, you can try baking the cookies. Try a low oven of around 200F and check on the cookies every 5 minutes. I’m guessing it will take somewhere between 5-10 minutes to dry out the cookies. (Be careful; without fat, these cookies will go from not-quite-done to burnt in the blink of an eye.)

Storage: Completely cool the cookies and store in an air tight container. You can probably store these outside of the frig, but I like to keep all of my goodies in the frig. [Remember, glass will help keep baked goods crispy, and plastic will help keep them soft. So, store according to texture preference.]

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Spring into Healthier Eating: Plant Powered 15 (Review & Give-a-Way!)

And the winner is…Erica Wollman! Congrats to Erica who won the contest for Happy Herbivore Abroad. Woohoo!

Guess what…It’s time for another give-a-way!

Today, we’re reviewing the newest ebook of long-time plant-based powerhouse, Dreena Burton. Dreena’s new collection of recipes is titled Plant Powered 15, and includes 15 delicious plant-based recipes, which includes breakfast, dips and dressings, soups, main courses, and desserts. So far, I’ve tried the Green Goddess Dressing and the Almond Blondies, and holy kale! Soooo good! My favorite part about the Green Goddess Dressing is it’s secret ingredient…beans! And, big bonus, it contains only a tiny bit of overt fat (a smidge of tahini)! No oil, no avocado – just beany, herby goodness. Mmmm…!

Not to be outdone, the Almond Blondies pack a powerful, healthy, sweet punch with dates, almond meal, maple syrup and coconut sugar. Throw in a healthy does of Omega 3’s with some chia seeds (They’re a great binder!), and you’ll be sneaking healthy goodness into dessert time by tonight!

Sticky Almond Blondies

These are positively delicious. They have the dense, sticky, decadent texture and
quality of a traditional blondie, yet are made with wholesome ingredients – and no flour
or oil!

1 tbsp ground white chia
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp black-strap molasses
1/2 cup pitted dates, lightly packed
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 + 1/8 tsp sea salt
few pinches freshly grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2-3 tbsp nondairy chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. In mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add ground chia,
maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, molasses, and dates. Process on low speed to first
incorporate, and then increase speed slightly to fully pulverize and smooth dates. Once
smooth, turn off mixer and add baking soda, salt, and nutmeg – mix just briefly and then
add almond meal, and coconut sugar. Process on low speed until mixer just comes
together (do not over-mix). Transfer mixture to an 8” x 8” brownie pan, and press in with
a spatula. If using chocolate chips, lightly press into top of batter. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove, let cool completely, and cut into squares. Squares can be refrigerated for a
week or more (as if they’ll last)! Makes 16 blondies.

Chocolate Note: I usually make these without chocolate chips, and sometimes I’ll simply
sprinkle a few chips over top of half the batch – either way, these are crazy-good!

Recipe from “Plant-Powered 15” by Dreena Burton. For more recipes and information,
visit http://www.plantpoweredkitchen.com. Photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Almond Blondie

Dreena has graciously offered to share a copy of Plant Powered 15 with one lucky reader – open to anyone in the world! That’s right folks; we’ve got ourselves an international give-a-way! Woot!

To enter, leave a comment for each of the following activities (You must leave a comment for each for the additional entries.):

  • Leave a comment sharing your favorite plant-based dish (Recipes are not necessary, but feel free to share a link, if you’d like)
  • Sign-up to receive Veggie V blog updates by email, and let me know you did (or do).
  • Follow Veggie V on Facebook, and let me know you did (or do).
  • Follow Veggie V on Twitter, and let me know you did (or do).
  • Tweet the following: Enter to win #PlantPowered15 by @dreenaburton at www.veggiv.wordpress.com! Visit blog and retweet to win!   (and let me know you did).
  • Follow Veggie V on Pinterest, and let me know you did (or do).
  • Follow Dreena on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, and let me know you did (or do).

Contest open now through Wednesday, April 17 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Good luck!!

Disclosure: I received a copy of Plant Powered 15 in exchange for this blog review. And I’m glad  I did 😉

4 Ingredient Bean Burgers

I don’t know who said it, but it’s true: necessity is the mother of invention. Or, in my case, hunger was the mother of invention!

I had two days last week of absolute hunger. I have no idea why, but I just couldn’t get enough to eat. I’d eat, be full, then an hour or so later, starving again. True, physiological hunger. Not psychological hunger. So weird! The only think I can come up with is my new weight training work out. I’ve read in numerous places that lifting heavier weights makes people hungry. But, it usually happens on the days they lift. My hungry apparently comes on the days I don’t lift. Go figure.

Regardless of the reason, this is what I came up with for dinner….

4 Ingredient Bean Burgers

1 can beans (about 1.5 c)

1/4 c thick liquid (I used salsa, but ketchup would work, tomato sauce, etc)

1/4 c nutritional yeast

1/2 c quinoa flakes or rolled oats

Optional: fresh herbs and/or seasonings

Rinse beans if using canned. Mash beans with a fork or potato masher. (Or, if you’re lazy like me, use a mini-chopper or a Magic Bullet to do the hard work.) Add liquid, nutritional yeast, and quinoa or oats. This is also the time to add chopped, fresh herbs and/or seasonings if you’re using any. Mix everything and form into 4 even balls. Place on a foil lined pan sprayed with cooking spray. Slightly flatten balls into patties and bake at 375F for about 20 minutes (or until firm to the touch). Cool on pan for an additional 5 minutes or so.

Enjoy your 4 Ingredient Bean Burgers with a heaping side of gluten-free Baked Onion Rings. (Check tomorrow’s post for the recipe!)

4 Ingredient Black Bean Burger

I made my bean burgers with black beans, salsa, and quinoa flakes. I also threw in some chopped cilantro because I had some hanging out in the fridge that needed used pronto. I didn’t use any additional seasonings because my salsa was spicy enough. (I am in love with TJ’s Roasted Garlic Salsa!) But, I think these would be great with kidney beans and ketchup or tomato sauce, or garbanzo beans and hummus, or white beans and a ketchup/mustard mix. The combos are endless – and so easy!

Chinese Noodle Soup Bowls

I saw a recipe on Rachel Ray the other day that I thought would be delicious veganized: Chinese Noodle Soup Bowls. She included meat balls, which I didn’t today (veggie balls, of course), but I’m going to turn that idea into a new veggie burger recipe later this week. Stay tuned!

Chinese Noodle Soup

4 c veggie broth

2 c water (or more or less depending on how soupy you want your soup)

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 bell pepper, cut into bit sized pieces

2 bunches scallions, whites diced & greens cut on bias

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 inch fresh ginger, sliced thin

1 bunch greens, ribbon cut (I used chard)

1/4 c soy sauce (I used tamari)

4-8 oz thin noodles (I used 6 oz soba noodles)

Saute hard veggies (celery, carrot and bell pepper) in a little bit of broth until tender. About 10 minutes. (You could also saute in oil. I suggest sesame oil for a nice flavor kick.) Add remaining broth and desired amount of water. Add mushrooms, scallions (both whites and greens), garlic and ginger. Bring mixture to a boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente. Turn off heat or reduce to very low and add soy sauce and wilt in greens. Serve immediately.  

Click here for nutritional information.

I found the soy sauce to be enough seasoning, but you may want a kick of spice or some more salt. Also, I don’t think this soup will freeze very well because of the starch that’s released from the pasta; it gives the broth a thickness reminiscent of adding corn starch or arrowroot powder. (This effect may not happen if you use  gluten-free pasta.)

I got three GIANT bowls of soup from this recipe. I’d say they’re at least two cups each (which is a lot of noodles and veggies!).

Look at all those noodles!