I should probably start this post by admitting I've never really been a fan of creamy pasta. I've always preferred a tomato sauce or even a simple oil based dressing rather than any cream based pasta sauce like alfredo. That being said, I've finally found a creamy pasta that I really enjoy in this vegan version of fettuccine alfredo!
Instead of butter, cheese and heavy cream, the creaminess from this pasta sauce comes from tahini (sesame seed paste) mixed with almond milk. To add even more flavour and thickness, the liquid base is stirred into a mixture of pureed onion and garlic that's been sauteed on the stovetop.
The result is a rich and creamy sauce that coats each noodle perfectly and really does resemble a traditional alfredo sauce, but with much more flavour in my opinion!
The original recipe was a simple dish of noodles with sauce, but I always like to include extra vegetables in my pasta to make it more interesting. My first thought was to add asparagus, since its long shape goes well with noodles and it seemed like a fresh seasonal choice for this time of year!
I steamed the asparagus to avoid having to turn on the oven, and tossed it in a bit of lemon zest. A healthy dose of fresh lemon juice and parsley were the final touches to brighten up the dish.
I was actually surprised at how filling this pasta was because of the tahini, which also makes it the perfect transitional meal from hearty winter dinners to lighter spring and summer dishes!
Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus
Adapted from Get it Ripe
~8-9 oz dry linguine or fettucine
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup pureed onion (from 2 small yellow onions, peeled and pureed in a food processor - mine was still a bit chunky)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1.5 cups almond milk
1/2 cup tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 lb asparagus (about half a bunch)
1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
Lemon wedges for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 8 minutes, until browned.
Stir together almond milk, tahini, salt and nutmeg until tahini is fully mixed in. Pour into skillet with the onion mixture and stir. Reduce heat to medium. Add freshly ground pepper and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and lemon juice and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and discard. Add the asparagus to a steamer basket and steam, covered, for 3-5 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender. Remove from steamer basket and chop each asparagus stalk into three pieces. Toss asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon zest.
Return the drained pasta to its cooking pot. Add the sauce and stir well to mix (you may not need all of the sauce). Add the asparagus.
Serve warm. Season each serving with additional salt and pepper if desired and squeeze a lemon wedge over top. Top with additional parsley.
Makes 4 servings.