Weeknight Pasta Alfredo

The 2013 Vegan Month of Food may be over, but the blogging momentum it gave me remains!

In the aftermath of the MoFo, I have over 100 new recipes from my favorite bloggers bookmarked to make, plus a ton of my own recipe ideas in the works.  So even though I have been relieved of the pressure to post nearly every single day, I definitely want and expect to post more regularly than I have in the past.

Today I have a new recipe to share!  It’s for an easy pasta alfredo sauce that can be thrown together with minimal effort for a yummy weeknight dinner.

The prologue to this is that it can be damned hard to fit everything into each day that I want to.  I am fortunate enough to have a job that takes up only 8 hours of my day (this is not the case for pretty much everyone else in my profession, including H) and my total commute time per day is 40-50 minutes.  Outside of those hours, I still want to find time to exercise, spend time with my husband and fur-babies, enjoy my cooking/blogging hobby, and maybe even unwind with a little TV.

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Marty and me watching some baseball.  And yes, I am wearing Miller Lite PJ pants. 

And, as old-fashioned as it sounds, I like the idea of having dinner waiting for H when he gets home, which is typically a couple of hours after I do.  Most of the time, though, I just don’t have the energy to do something super-involved.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this!

Last night, I noticed that I had a ton of assorted veggies and leftovers in the fridge, all of which were perfect for me (I am content to eat a dinner consisting solely of kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts any night) but not so much for H.  I realized there actually was pretty much nothing that he would want for dinner, and I didn’t want him to have to stop on his way home to pick something up (waste of time and money, my friends!).  So I improvised, and this quick-fire alfredo dish was born!

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Weeknight Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli
Yield: 2/3 cup sauce portioned between 2 generous bowls of pasta
Time: 20 minutes
Dairy-free, can also be soy-free (depending on choice of milk and margarine) and gluten-free (depending on choice of pasta)

4 oz. pasta of choice (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
1 crown of broccoli, chopped into small florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
(optional) fresh parsley for garnish
(optional) red pepper flakes and/or freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fill a medium saucepan with about 3/4 inch of water and bring to a boil.  Add broccoli florets, cover, lower heat slightly, and steam for 2-3 minutes, until bright green.  Drain broccoli and set aside.  (If you want, you can reserve the broccoli water to cook the pasta, like I did. Obviously you will also need to add more water to the saucepan to cook the pasta.)

In the same saucepan, bring salted water to a boil and add your pasta.  Cook according to package directions.  (My whole wheat spaghetti took 11 minutes.)

While the pasta is cooking, warm olive oil in a separate small-medium saucepan.  Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown lightly.  Add vegan margarine and stir until melted completely.  Add soy milk and cornstarch, raise heat and bring to a boil.  (Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t bubble over!)

Once the soy milk mixture is boiling, immediately lower the heat, add the garlic powder and salt, and simmer 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until it thickens and reduces down slightly.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Drain pasta, return to saucepan, then add broccoli and sauce and use tongs to toss it all together.  Separate it out into two bowls and add parsley and red pepper flakes, if using.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary (you may need to add more salt; adding the sauce to the pasta significantly dilutes its salty notes).  Enjoy!

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This recipe turned out really satisfying, comforting, and filling.  Obviously with more time/energy one can produce more impressive alfredo sauce, perhaps with a cashew base, but this one really works well in a pinch.

What are your go-to weeknight recipes? Let me know in the comments!

Also, let me know what you think of the new theme! I think it’s a little more grown up than the bright turquoise. 🙂

Coming soon: fall baked goods (because you know you can’t get enough) and a surprise product review and giveaway!!!

4 thoughts on “Weeknight Pasta Alfredo

  1. That sounds like a very tasty and filling weeknight meal! On weeknights I often make tacos (because they always sound good), a pizza with a frozen cornmeal crust and any toppings I have on hand, baked tofu with roasted vegetables, or a kale salad with grilled sourdough garlic bread.

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