Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Alfredos

A food that I almost never ate as an omnivore that I have ironically embraced in its vegan form is alfredo.  (Another is mayonnaise.  I guess I am a silken tofu junkie!)  I had fettucine alfredo a few times, always just heated up out of a jar, never made from scratch.  For some reason, after being vegan for about six months, I got a huge craving for this creamy comfort food.  I tried a number of different recipes, but none of them quite hit the spot, and one of them was downright nasty.  So I gave up for a while.  Then, for Christmas 2010, I got the book Vegan Comfort Food by Alicia Simpson  and thought, what the heck, I'll try again.  She has two recipes, and I tried the easier one.  And it was heaven.  Creamy, cheesy, fatty heaven.  It's been our go-to alfredo recipe ever since, and while I don't think any other alfredo will taste quite as good, it's that fatty part that has me concerned.  The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil.  Since we usually end up eating half of the recipe each, that means 1/4 cup of oil just in my serving, and that's 400 calories of pure fat.  Now that I am tracking calories and attempting to cut down on added fat, this recipe just doesn't work for me every day.  Does that mean I will give it up completely?  Not on your life!  But maybe now I'll have it twice a year instead of once a month.

I prefer my alfredo sauce over rotini with a lot of pepper.

After making the smart decision to cut back on my alfredo consumption, I was hit with the realization that I would have a pretty hard time giving up on alfredo completely. Fortunately, I have Happy Herbivore's e-cookbook, which features a low fat, oil free alfredo.  I remembered trying it before and thinking it was okay, so I tried it again.  I must have had to adapt or leave out a few ingredients last time, because this time, it turned out to be great! It isn't completely traditional-tasting (one of the ingredients is nutmeg, which I think turned John off it completely), but I thought it was a very good low fat recipe for a creamy, cheesy pasta sauce.  It definitely satisfied my craving for creaminess and nutritional yeast (yes, I crave nutritional yeast; I love the taste!).  I'm not sure if this recipe appears in the new Happy Herbivore cookbook yet (my copy is not in my hands yet),  but there is a similar recipe on her website, if you google "Instant Vegan Alfredo."

Even less guilty with a green salad drizzled with homemade maple-mustard dressing!

The healthier eating and daily exercise is paying off pretty well so far, since I've lost about 6 pounds in a little over a week.  I am getting kind of fatigued with the calorie tracking, because between my job, tracking food, and blogging, I feel like I'm on the computer all day.  But it is definitely worth it to see the numbers on the scale going down, and feel my energy level bursting through the roof, since that is usually far from the case at this time of year when it's dark and cold.  

I'm going to sign off and get cozy for another big snowstorm tonight.  Hope you are all staying warm and enjoying your night!  


  1. It's funny what you say about alfreddo and mayo...I never liked or ate either of those things before I was vegan...I still haven't started jonesing for alfreddo, but I've started to like small amounts of vegan mayo (especially the WildWoods Vegan Aioli mayo).

    I think I'll have to give some vegan alfreddo a try.

    Good work on the exercise and weight loss!

  2. I'm glad you found a much healthier alfredo that you enjoy - sometimes it does pay to revisit a recipe that wasn't a big hit the first time!

    It's not alfredo, but you might enjoy my Smoky Freaky Mac-n-Cheesy. The original recipe called for a CUP of oil, but I sub that with either butternut squash soup or pureed butternut squash, and your tastebuds would never know differently (but the other cells of your body would!) I was never much of an alfredo eater, but mac-n-cheese was one of my comfort foods and I love this one more than any non-vegan version I ever ate.

    I'm glad your shift away from added fats and toward more whole foods, along with daily exercise, is paying such great dividends, and kudos to you for staying motivated!

    Hope that was the last of your snowstorms, at least for a while! (Wish you could be here today - it's sunny and in the 50's! Drastic change coming by Monday, though. And so it goes...)

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Thanks Rose! I hope you find a good vegan alfredo that works for you. Silken tofu is so great at mimicking a creamy texture that it just makes for perfect comfort food.

  4. Grrrr, I posted a whole long response to you Laloofah, and it got deleted :(

    Anyhoodle, the gist of it was, I didn't make much mac & cheese on my own, except for Kraft, which is gross, I know, but I was a boxed food person for ages. (Yikes again.) My mom makes the most awesome non-vegan mac & cheese in the universe, so I guess I was intimidated about homemade mac & cheese. (True story: At our rehearsal dinner, which was cooked by my mom and stepfather, John's best man offered my mom $1000 for her baked mac & cheese recipe. He probably wouldn't have followed through with it even though he could probably afford to, but still. That's a heck of a mac & cheese!)

    I have tried a number of different mac & cheese recipes since being vegan, all of the cook & eat variety, rather than baked. But yours looks soooooo good, I think I'm going to have to try it. The right color? Check. Tastes good cold? Double check. 1.5 cups of nutritional yeast? Triple check, because I love it. It really is a perfect comfort food, so bring on the next snowstorm! (Or don't. Please don't!)

  5. Oh man, I HATE it when that happens! :-( Thanks for taking the time to write a do-over.

    I used to do the gross Kraft boxed thing too sometimes, when I was first out on my own. A few years later I started making my grandmother's very delicious but unvegan mac-n-cheese. No one ever offered her $1000 for it (that's impressive!!), but it was awfully good! :-)

    This recipe, however, is better, IMO - and not just because it's vegan and much healthier (though those score it BIG points!) It really is delicious! It definitely helps that you are a fellow fan of nooch and of cold mac-n-cheese! I think you'll be pleased with this dish. :-)

    I'm sorry you have yet another nasty winter storm bearing down on you! I hope it doesn't make things crazy at your job, so you can stay home and snuggle up with a big bowl of m-n-c and a favorite book or movie!