Creamy Shiitake Alfredo

Updated: May 9, 2018

This incredibly simple plant-based Alfredo is the best we've had. And it's the simplest one.


Makes enough for 1 pound of pasta (a typical box of pasta).


Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked for 10 minutes if you have a high-speed blender or about 30 mins if using a regular blender

  • 3.5 cups water (to blend with cashews)

  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast

  • 5 garlic cloves

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg (use no more than this - overdoing it will make this taste like a Christmas dessert)

The Rest:

  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced with ends trimmed (any mushroom can be substituted if you don't have shiitakes)

  • 2-3 tbsp water (optional: 2 tbsp oil)

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped (for topping, once food is plated)

  • Pasta of your choice. Whole food pasta is best - I recommend Jovial's pasta since it retains its texture without becoming mushy like all other whole food or brown rice pasta brands I've tried

Directions:

  1. Add all sauce ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. A high-speed blender will do this in no time.

  2. Transfer sauce to a pan with medium to low heat. This will thicken the sauce and allow the flavors to meld. Stir often to avoid sauce from sticking to the bottom. Once sauce thickens, keep on low heat, stirring occasionally. A film may form on top, that's okay, simply mix it into the sauce when ready to serve.

  3. Boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions. No need to salt the water unless you're determined to follow the instruction of traditional Italian chefs, in which case, salt the water heavily "like the sea". That will certainly flavor your pasta but I prefer to use a fraction of the salt and just taste the final product and salt as needed

  4. While the water boils and pasta cooks, clean the mushrooms, trim and discard the ends, slice mushrooms and sauté them on a heated pan either with water (optional: oil). If using water, keep extra nearby in case it's needed; adding 1 tbsp at a time - the key to cooking with water. Remember that all plants have a lot of water content and this will be drawn out while cooking. Season mushrooms with salt to really bring out its flavors.


Cook mushrooms like a steak

When sautéing mushrooms, make sure each one is touching the surface of the pan. Allow them to 'sear' on each side. Just like a steak, that sear is flavor!

Alternatively, you can bake the mushrooms in an oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.

Since ovens vary, watch closely after 15 minutes to prevent burning (sear = delicious, burn = bad flavor).


Time to Plate

Give your sauce a stir, adding salt to taste. When the pasta is cooked, add about 2 tbsp of the starchy pasta water to the sauce and continue to cook and stir - this will create a glaze.


Plate some pasta on a dish, top with sauce and mushrooms, add freshly cracked pepper and chives (or other fresh herb) and serve. Bon appetit!


Mushrooms protect your cells

The 'power station' of our cells is called the mitochondria and many antioxidants cannot access and therefore protect it. Enter these powerful funghi - mushrooms!

Beans can also protect our cells to this powerful degree, though with 9 to 40 times less efficacy than mushrooms, according to Dr. Michael Greger. Mushrooms for the win! #EatThemRegularly


Miyoko Schinner - Vegan Cheese Master


Who's Miyoko? She's the master of vegan cheese with tastebuds you can trust. This recipe is based on her brilliant creamy cashew Alfredo sauce. I omit the white wine since I make this for our little daughter too - apparently alcohol does not evaporate, even when cooked for hours. (I've tried this sauce with excellent white wine but still think it's better without it.) So instead I use fresh lemon juice to add brightness and nutmeg to keep it traditional. I'm not normally a traditionalist but I can't mess with Alfredo since it's my favorite.


This is the best plant-based Alfredo sauce I've ever had. I've shared it with friends who also loved it - one even said it was exactly like the real thing. #amazeballs

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