Over the years, one of the recipes readers have asked me for most often is a lighter, dairy-free version of pasta with Alfredo sauce, that creamy concoction that in its original form must have a zillion calories. Doing a quick search on Google, I see that there are many recipes for a lighter version of the sauce, but not too many vegan versions.
To get a sense of just how rich this sauce is in its original form, a recipe for “Perfect Alfredo Sauce” contains 3 cups heavy cream, 3/4 cup butter, and more than 1 cup Parmesan cheese. I get chest pains just reading this recipe! Another site gives Olive Garden’s recipe: 1 pint heavy cream, 1 stick butter, 2 T. cream cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan. Not much better, but it does not divulge how many servings this is supposed to yield.
Forgive me, as I ran this recipe on this blog a couple of years ago, but once or twice a year I get the craving for pasta with Alfredo sauce, and this is one of those times. This silken tofu-based pasta Alfredo tastes deceptively rich and creamy. I use whole wheat pasta to boost the protein and fiber content, and for whoever wants some, some wilted spinach and sun-dried tomatoes for topping is passed around. The recipe is adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.
Pasta with Enlightened Alfredo Sauce
- 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine (preferably Earth Balance)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- One 12.3-ounce container silken tofu
- 1/2 cup rice milk, or as needed
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 12 ounces pasta (see Note)
- Steamed greens (spinach or Swiss chard) for topping, optional
- Sliced sun-dried tomatoes for topping, optional
Cook the pasta in plenty of steadily boiling water until al dente, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat the margarine in a small skillet. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat.
Combine the sautéed garlic and margarine with the tofu and rice milk in a food processor. Process until completely smooth and creamy.
Combine the pasta and sauce in a large serving bowl and toss together. Season with pepper and taste to see if you’d like to add more salt. If the mixture needs to be moister, add a small amount of additional rice milk and toss again. Serve at once, passing around greens and/or dried tomaotes for topping, if desired.