Times are tough, but this healthy and easy-to-make vegan spinach alfredo with cauliflower pasta and garlic bread can provide a little comfort at meal time. It’s a complete crowd pleaser, and nothing says family dinner quite like pasta and alfredo sauce.
I know what you’re thinking — pasta is so heavy and alfredo sauce isn’t vegan! This pasta is certified vegan and free from wheat, eggs, tree nuts, soybeans, milk, peanuts, fish and shellfish, so that gluten isn’t going to weigh you down. And the alfredo sauce is made completely from onions, garlic, cashews, vegetable broth and a few flavor enhancers. If you’re allergic to tree nuts, substitute the cashews for firm silken tofu.
Even better, most of these ingredients are likely already in your pantry! Most vegans have nutritional yeast hiding away in their spice drawer, but if you’re not vegan, it can be found in most large supermarkets. This recipe is so versatile, too. If you don’t like spinach, simply add broccoli, Brussels sprouts or peas instead. It’ll still taste great.
Worried about the “quarantine fifteen?” Omit the garlic bread and use vegetable broth instead of olive oil to cook to the spinach. Vamoose! Over 500 calories suddenly disappeared, and the dish remains 100 percent satisfying.
Let’s get cooking.
Vegan Spinach Alfredo with Cauliflower Pasta and Garlic Bread Recipe
1 Box Cauliflower Spaghetti (or prefered vegan pasta)*
2 Handfuls Baby Spinach
1 Tbs Olive Oil (or prefered cooking oil)
For the Alfredo Sauce
1 Large Yellow Onion, roughly chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 Lemon, squeezed
3 Tbs Nutritional Yeast (or vegan parmesan cheese)
2 Cups Vegetable Broth, divided
1/2 Cup Raw Cashews, soaked or boiled**
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
For the Garlic Bread
1 Loaf French Bread (or prefered vegan bread), sliced
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
- Place pan over medium-high heat, add onions and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add garlic to the pan, and cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetable broth has completely evaporated.
- Add onions and garlic to a high-speed blender. Add 1/2 squeezed lemon, 2 Tbs nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 1/2 cup raw cashews, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Adjust to preference with the remaining ingredients. If the sauce is too thick, add vegetable broth. If the sauce isn’t cheesy enough, add nutritional yeast. If the sauce isn’t thick enough, add raw cashews. Blend again. Repeat until satisfied.
- Set sauce aside, and heat 1 Tbs of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Bring water to a boil in a large stock pot. Remember to salt the pasta water for added flavor. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add 2 handfuls of baby spinach to the small pan. Cover for 1 minute. Remove cover and flip spinach. Cover and cook for 1 additional minute. Set baby spinach aside.
- Add pasta to large stock pot and cooked according to the package instructions.
- Meanwhile, mix finely chopped garlic and olive oil. Use basting brush to spread mixture onto bread. Add salt and pepper. Place in oven until edges start to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Drain pasta and return to large stock pot. Mix spinach, sauce and pasta together, or pour sauce and spinach over already-plated pasta. Add garlic bread and serve.
*I use Ronzoni gluten free pasta with cauliflower, fava beans and rice flour. It’s available in most major supermarkets.
**If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you’ll have to soak the cashews overnight in cold water, or boil the cashews for 15 minutes. Otherwise, the sauce will be grainy and not smooth. If you’re allergic to tree nuts, substitute the cashews for firm silken tofu.