As a teenager, I was obsessed with Maggie’s 2 minute noodles. To be honest I still am, but I tend to avoid them due to their nutritional junk status (oh to be young and uninformed!). I do, however, occasionally make them at festivals. I believe it’s ok to inhale a bowl of pure preservatives at festivals – it feeds your feel-good endorphins. Not so much at home for your average Tuesday night dinner.
The vegan alfredo pasta I made the other night doesn’t resemble Maggie’s 2 minute noodles in the slightest, except that both dishes consist of noodly things. But at some point you have to leave your pie-munching, vegetable-snubbing, perpetually skinny teenage self behind and make grown up meals, because health and middle age weight gain and stuff. Kidding (sort of).
This pasta can be made with normal pasta (I used wholewheat macaroni) or with zoodles, ie zucchini noodles (baby marrows for us saffas). Being a food enthusiast who appreciates a decent sized meal that actually keeps you full, I’ve never cottoned onto the zoodle craze. I’m like, give me substance over here, please. After making this pasta with macaroni, I will definitely be making it with zoodles next time. The vegan sauce is made from blended cashews, which makes a very rich non-dairy cream. I’ve used cashews like this before in vegan cheesecakes, but I wasn’t prepared for how full-bodied the sauce would be. Suffice it to say that we each dished up a standard size serving of pasta and could only manage half. The sauce is definitely the hero and the filler-upper of this dish, so you can totally use zoodles and not be raiding the snack cupboard an hour later.
Vegan Alfredo Pasta
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tsp lazy garlic (or 2 crushed cloves fresh garlic)
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight
- 1 cup almond milk (I use unsweetened Almond Breeze)
- ¼ cup vegan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional – I didn’t have either at the time of making this, so I left it out)
- Salt and spices of your choice for the sauce – I used paprika, chilli and mixed herbs
- 1 punnet mushrooms, sliced
- 250g baby spinach
- Zoodles or pasta (I’m not going to tell you how much because who ever gets the pasta measurement right. I just poured into a pot until it looked like enough for 2)
- Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
- Saute onions, mushrooms and garlic in a pan until onion is translucent. Add spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.
- Add a couple handfuls of pasta to a saucepan and cook as instructed on the packet. Drain in colander once cooked. If you’re using zoodles, lightly saute them in olive oil for a minute until just cooked.
- Drain the cashew nuts and add them to a blender with almond milk, salt, spices and vegan cheese if using. Blend until as smooth and creamy as possible. This takes a while so keep stopping to check and taste.
- Add the alfredo sauce to the mushroom and spinach mixture and stir on low heat until the cheese has completely melted or the sauce is warm. Add alfredo mixture to pasta and mix well. Serve in bowls and garnish with coriander.