One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about adopting a vegan lifestyle is re-working some of my old favourite recipes to make them vegan-friendly. I’m an absolute sucker for creamy pasta sauces but it’s tricky to find a way to make them without using cream. Although there are some vegan cream alternatives, the supermarket here doesn’t stock any of them. So I had to get a bit creative when substituting cream from my recipes.
Last week I was craving something delicious and filling. What I really wanted was my mother’s mushroom and spinach pasta sauce. So I put on my thinking cap, had a bit of a tinker in the kitchen and came up with this dairy-free version. It’s lower in fat than the traditional recipe, and it’s perfect for vegans and lactose intolerant folk.
- 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 100g mushrooms, chopped
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 200g block silken tofu
- 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken style stock
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 cups pasta
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water until al dente
- Heat the oil in the pan and fry the onion until soft.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan with the onion and fry until soft.
- Chop the tofu into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until it is the consistency of pouring cream. If the tofu is too thick, add water in small increments until the consistency is right. Add a the turmeric to the tofu cream.
- Reduce the heat on the mushrooms and onions. Add the tofu, the nutritional yeast flakes and the stock and stir to combine.
- Add the spinach and herbs to the sauce. Stir on a medium heat until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
- Drain pasta and stir through sauce.
You can very easily adjust this recipe to your personal tastes. I like adding a little more nutritional yeast because it gives the sauce a cheesier flavour. You may also like to experiment with adding other herbs as well.
I love this technique of using blended silken tofu to replace cream in pasta sauces and casseroles. It works a treat, producing a rich creamy texture without any animal content.