5-minute vegan alfredo sauce that happens to be soy-free

I can still remember the first time I tried fettuccine alfredo. It was a packet one from the supermarket. I don’t know what possessed my mother to buy it for me, as she was all about cooking from scratch (something now I’m very grateful for).

This pasta was the bee’s knees. It was convenience food at its finest and I would never let it go. When I came to terms with the fact I was lactose intolerant, I didn’t have alfredo sauce again for 15 years.

There are plenty of vegan alfredo sauce recipes out there, but the soy factor has always put me off making it given I’m not big on imitation milk or cheese. So what makes this one special? It’s a vegan alfredo sauce that’s soy-free, oil-free, gluten-free and has a healthy dose of protein, is no-cook and only takes five minutes to make. It does contain nuts as I haven’t warmed to the taste that comes with using cauliflower or quinoa instead.

Remember how I said supermarket alfredo sauce was convenience food at its finest? Well, this five-minute version makes a good case for this title.

5-minute vegan alfredo sauce
Serves 2

250g pasta (I went with gluten-free brown rice penne)
1 c raw cashews
1/2 c filtered water
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp chickpea miso powder
1 tsp mushroom powder
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
1 can chickpeas, half roughly mashed with a potato masher
1/4 c fresh parsley, finely chopped

Cook the pasta according to packet directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup cooking water. Set aside.

In a high-speed blender, add 1 cup cooking water, cashews, filtered water, garlic, nutritional yeast, miso, mushroom powder, paprika, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Blitz on high until sauce is smooth.

Pour the sauce onto the pasta then add the mashed and whole chickpeas. Stir to combine then sprinkle the parsley through and serve.

The best vegan san choy bau {gluten-free}

I can finally see. I had LASIK last week and it truly was the best thing I’ve ever done. A few people told me I shouldn’t get it done, not because they had or had known someone who had a bad experience, but because “you suit glasses”, and “glasses are part of who you are”. It kinda shocked me a bit. Glasses are a medical device, but they shouldn’t define a person or be their identity.

So now, here I am. No more glasses, and with that, I can now open the oven and not have my glasses steam up, I can go swimming, I can exercise … properly. I was nervous in the lead up. In fact, that’s a bit of an understatement. This recipe for san choy bau was the best reward for those nerves. For a few minutes while eating this, I forgot about the procedure completely and all was right in the world.

You’ll love this san choy bau. It’s actually mushroom-free. I toyed with the idea of adding mushrooms for some meatiness but I’m not the biggest fan, and I really want to show you that there’s so much more to vegan meals than mushrooms.

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Gluten-free vegan san choy bau
Serves 3-4

250g organic non-GMO firm tofu
80g pine nuts
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp gluten-free hoisin sauce (Ayam makes a good one)
1 tsp sriracha (more if you can handle heat)
1 tsp arrowroot flour
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 zucchinis, diced
100g green beans, diced
Gem lettuce, to serve
Thai basil, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Cut the tofu into 6-8 even-sized pieces and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

While tofu is in the oven, gently toast the pine nuts in a wide-based saucepan. Set aside.

Add dry sherry, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce and sriracha into a small bowl and whisk. Add arrowroot and mix until combined. Set aside.

Remove tofu from oven and let cool. Once cooled, use your hands to break up/crumble the tofu.

Heat some oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Saute for 10 minutes before adding the garlic and ginger. Once browned and fragrant, add carrot, zucchini and green beans and cook a further 5-8 minutes.

Add the tofu crumbles and pine nuts before adding the sauce ingredients to the pan. Cook until sauce thickens – approx. 5 minutes.

Serve in lettuce leaves with fresh Thai basil.