Key To Making Vegan Food That Actually Tastes Good 😎
After last week’s Creamy Vegan Beetroot Almond Pasta Sauce, you may have already notice 2 things: First, I really like pasta. 🍝😆Second, I love making (or you may say veganizing) different kinds of sauce. ✌🏻I posted a photo of this vegan alfredo dish on my instagram the other day and some of you sent me DMs asking for the recipe. So here I am, delivering your favorite contents to your doorstep 🤣
In fact, one of the main reason why I like creating sauce recipes is that sauces are so versatile. The best thing about sauces is that you can literally pair it with anything. For example, the Creamy Vegan Beetroot Almond Pasta Sauce not only goes well with pasta, but you can also serve it with bread, on pizza etc. You can also use it as a salad dressing!
People often ask me how can they make vegan food more interesting. As a former carnivore, I can tell you honestly that the key is in the seasoning. And sauces not only provide flavors, but they also enhance the overall texture and moisture of the dish. Carnivores often told me they couldn’t give up meat because meat is just “so delicious”. However, imagine you are only given a plate of water-boiled or baked meat. Will it taste good? Probably not. The reason why meat tastes so good is because of the heaven seasonings. So, in order to make vegan food tastes as good, if not better, than meat dishes. You have to learn how to season your vegetables well, not too little, not too much.
Trial & Errors
I have tried a number of vegan alfredo recipes online (mostly cashew-based) throughout the years. However, the resulting sauce will be quite heavy as it is basically a blended mixture of nuts and other seasonings. I also tried some other healthier recipes using cauliflower as a base. And I admit that the first person who came up with this brilliant idea is a genius.
Cauliflower is super nutritious. It is high in anti-oxidant, fiber, low in fat and carbs, yet providing a creamy texture when blended. Yet, the sauce will basically taste like pureed cauliflower if you use too much cauliflower. Instead of some creamy and delicious vegan alfredo sauce. For the sake of making the perfect vegan alfredo sauce, I experimented with the perfect ratio of cauliflower and cashew, alongside with the method of handling the cauliflower. For example, baked vs boiled, boiled in water or plant milk etc. Finally, I am indeed quite proud of myself to announce that I have nailed the vegan alfredo recipe.
This vegan alfredo is not only creamy, yet it is by no means heavy and definitely reminds you of their non-vegan counterparts. Most importantly, this recipe uses only whole food ingredients, which means you can enjoy this without feeling guilty. My brother, who is not a vegan nor vegetarian, is a huge fan of alfredo. Even him approve this recipe. 😆 Hence, you know it must be good.
Improving The Vegan Alfredo
As I have mentioned in my previous blog post, I like adding an umami flavor to my savoury recipes. And miso is one of the best ingredients to achieve this. This recipe is on my list for quite a over 6 months. Still, I haven’t posted it on my blog yet as I am not 100% happy with it. The flavor was on point but I feel that there is something lacking in there. Unfortunately, I can’t really tell what that is. Finally, after some research and experimentation, that one element this recipe is lacking is the “buttery” factor.
Normal alfredo is made with butter and parmesan cheese. In this vegan recipe, I replaced butter with cultured butter from Miyoko. Miyoko’s butter is the best vegan butter I’ve tried so far. It really resembles dairy butter in both texture AND flavors. Although it’s quite expensive here in Hong Kong, I still use it quite often as it’s the only real deal out there.
For the creamy texture, as mentioned at the beginning, I used a combination of cauliflower and cashews. I tested using cauliflower and cashew in different ratios. And I finally came up with this perfect ratio! 🙌🏻✌🏻As for the cauliflower, boiling it in plant milk beforehand not only helps prevent its flavor from overpowering, but it also gives an extra creaminess to the sauce. You can replace it with water or other plant milk if you wish, but I found that almond milk and oat milk (for nut-free option) work best.
Finally – The Perfect Vegan Alfredo
Same as my previous recipes, this vegan alfredo sauce goes well with different kinds of noodles. While it might sound a bit weird to you, but I think it goes really well with udon noodles. When creating recipes, I not only focus on taste and aesthetic, but practicality is also of great importance. In order to strike a balance between healthy eating and work-life balance, my goal for this blog is to create recipes that are easy, quick. At the same time, they can be made in advance so you can enjoy healthy, tasty vegan food everyday without whipping up a storm in the kitchen. My favorite way to serve it is to warm it up with some noodles and frozen peas (for extra proteins).
Vegan Alfredo Sauce (Nut-free option)Course: CondimentCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
3 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup cashew* (soaked in water overnight) (here I used unsalted roasted cashews for extra depth of flavor, but raw cashews will work perfectly fine)
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (essential as it gives a cheesy flavor)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp miso paste
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk**
- Add 2 1/2 cups of plant milk and cauliflower florets into a large pot and brings to a boil. Turn to small-medium heat and boil for another 5-6 minutes or until the cauliflower florets have softened. Set aside to let cool. Don’t throw away the liquid as we will be using it later.
- After the cauliflower has cooled down. Add all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add more liquid (plant milk of choice or water) if necessary.
- Taste and adjust salt & pepper if needed.
- Enjoy with your choice of pasta or noodles 😚
- *Sub sunflower seeds for nut-free options
- **Sub oat milk, soy milk, flax milk or hemp milk for nut-free options