Uncategorized · Vegetarian

Liz’s Test Kitchen

Acorn Squash Alfredo-The Duo Dishes

The first Guest Test Kitchen of the year is upon us, and it’s the first of its kind. The author of this guest post is Liz, another UNC-Chapel Hill alum living here in Los Angeles. She’s a vegan gal with her own blog, Yo Soy!. This will be one of many vegan recipes that will pop up here in the next couple of months, so get ready to see something different on these pages. Liz definitely introduced us to new techniques, applications and ingredients with this one. Many of us are looking for ways to lighten up dishes, and for this recipe, a vegetable makes a surprising appearance as the base for a sauce–a sauce that is usually laden with fat. Here’s a slim and trim version for classic alfredo pasta.

“Like many others, January is a time when I clean up my diet after gorging on sweets and other heavy treats over the holidays. This Christmas I really outdid myself–I felt like I was in a sugar coma for most of December. The Healthy. Happy. Life blog is a great resource of nutritious recipes that also happen to taste delicious. I found this recipe for vegan Acorn Alfredo when I was trolling around for an easy weekday recipe. It uses pureed squash to mimic the creaminess of a milk-based sauce.

Fettuccini Alfredo is one of the least healthy dishes out there, but this version of it is a nutritional powerhouse, especially if you use brown rice pasta like I do. (I recommend Tinkyada brand pasta—the texture is great, unlike whole wheat pasta or other brown rice pasta brands which are usually mushy.) To give it a cheesy flavor, the recipe replies on nutritional yeast, a pantry staple of most vegans. Unlike the yeast used to make bread, it is deactivated and is full of the always-important vitamin B12. I use it in a lot of recipes but I also love to simply sprinkle it on steamed veggies or stove-popped popcorn. This recipe calls its sauce an Alfredo but you are going to need to manage your expectations; this won’t taste like your grandma’s fettuccine, but it will give you that creamy texture without all the fat and cholesterol of the traditional dish. I liked this recipe so much, I couldn’t even make it to the next day before eating the leftovers!”

Acorn Squash Alfredo Sauce – Serves 4 (Recipe from Healthy. Happy. Life.)
4 cups acorn squash, roasted
1 cup fresh parsley or fresh basil
3/4 cup plain plant milk (almond/hemp/soy)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons roasted garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dried Italian herb mix (basil, oregano, thyme)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or dash of cayenne
Salt and black pepper to taste
16 ounces vegan pasta, cooked and still hot
Fresh broccoli, cooked (optional)

1. Put the roasted squash, parsley or basil, milk, nutritional yeast flakes, olive oil, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, dried Italian herbs, maple syrup and red pepper flakes or cayenne into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

2. Toss the cooked pasta and broccoli (or any other vegetable or meat substitute of your choice) with the sauce and serve immediately.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


17 thoughts on “Liz’s Test Kitchen

  1. This looks positively decadent, especially since I love the combo of maple syrup and acorn squash. And who can resist good pasta? I sure never can. 😉

  2. It seems as though that brand of pasta is her favorite, and of course, it is vegan, which is important. We’re not sure if there’s an extra health component she’s looking for by making that choice. There are some whole wheat pastas on the market that are vegan by default, so you can always try that. Thanks for the interesting background on alfredo sauce. Had no clue!

  3. looks delicious, but why the rice/vegan pasta? I know you mention the healthiness, but is rice inherently more healthful than wheat (aside of for celiacs, of course)? Did you know that alfredo was originally just a butter emulsion sauce, rather than full of cream? I read it not long ago in Saveur. Not that butter makes it any healthier than cream, but I thought it was interesting that in order to stabilize the sauce for sale in jars they added cream to stop it breaking. Interesting, eh?

  4. I love playing with different vegetables to create sauces that taste like their fat and calorie laden brethren. I don’t use acorn squash much, but this looks like a good reason to start.

  5. I’ve never tried pureed squash as a cream substitute! I’m totally going to try that. I usually do a cashew cream as as substitute. If you haven’t tried that, it’s awesome…

  6. I’ve made a winter squash alfredo/cheese sauce before and it is beyond delicious! I definitely need to snap myself out of my sugar coma and so this recipe is for sure going on the menu!

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