As luck would have it, a few weeks ago, YouTube’s homepage introduced me to the world of Mukbangs. Videos in which their creators eat large amounts of (mostly very unhealthy) food in front of the camera. While I was still trapped in that state where you can not quite look away yet, but know you should, I noticed a clear trend. Pasta Alfredo. Tagliatelle with lots of butter and cheese and so incredibly creamy that I could suddenly think of nothing else.
I started to think about how I could possibly adjust this dish to my way of cooking, while achieving a similar consistency and taste. And then, a few days later, I received a request for a cooperation, which seemed to fit this idea perfectly.
Bonduelle is a brand that I’ve known since my childhood. When cooking was not yet an option for me, but I came home from school with a hungry stomach, I often grabbed a can of their yellow cooked corn. Many years have passed since then and it’s great to see that both my cooking and Bonduelles product range have grown a lot since then.
At a two-day event that Bonduelle launched as part of a Bonduelle Academy a few weeks ago, I was able to take a look behind the scenes. After all, not only canned vegetables, but also many different leaf salads are now part of Bonduelles range. So how exactly does the salad come from the field right on our plate? Fitted out with rubber boots we drove directly to the source – wide fields, on which rows of fresh salad were growing. Full and lush-looking lettuce plants sprouted from the ground, as far as the eye could see. A paradise for me and my camera, as everything shone in wonderful shades of green.
In safety clothes, hairnets, hats and gloves, we then went on to the factory, where we watched how the freshly harvested salad was washed and packed. We learned that for the cleaning process only about 2.4 liters of water were used per bag. When washing fresh salads at home, however, an average of 9 liters are used for the same amount. Something, I haven’t thought about before.
What fascinated me – in addition to all the fancy looking machines – was how Bonduelle continues to expand its organic product range. They are also intensively working on their packaging. In the next few years, they want to switch completely to corn starch-based packaging in order to minimize their footprint.
Back in my own kitchen, I started experimenting with the Pasta Alfredo recipe. The goal was to completely make it without butter, cream and cheese. So pretty much without any of the original ingredients. I knew that the sauce had to remain white – if already everything else had to be changed up – which is how I found the solution. Cauliflower! Yeah right. Cauliflower. Steamed and then paired with cashews and my favorite cheese substitute yeast flakes. And since solely sauce would be a bit boring, I decided to serve the dish with a good portion of greens.
Whether it really comes close to the original pasta Alfredo, I would not like to make any promises. But it turned out to be a damn delicious and balanced recipe, which I very much advise you to try out yourself!
Vegan & Healthy Pasta Alfredo
- Prep Time: 50 minutes
- Servings: 4 portions
for the sauce: (for about 4 servings, keeps fresh for 2-3 days in refrigerator)
1 cauliflower head
½ -1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of yeast flakes
2 teaspoons salt
100ml plant milk
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
5 tbsp water
for the topping:
1 red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons peas (frozen)
3-4 handfuls of green salad e.g. Bonduelle organic rocket salad
pasta of your choice (used here: spelt pasta)
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Roast cashews for 8-10 minutes.
2. Wash the cauliflower and generously remove the stalk. Cut off its florets.
3. Steam cauliflower for about 20 minutes or until tender. Alternatively, boil it.
4. Blend cauliflower florets together with cashews, yeast flakes, salt, pepper, cayenne, plant milk, lemon juice and water in a blender to a smooth sauce. Should it be too thick, add a little more water.
5. Now prepare the topping. Cut the onion into rings and sauté with olive oil in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes.
6. Add peas and let them thaw.
7. At last add arugula and let it soften for about 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat.
8. Cook the pasta. Drain the water and mix the boiled pasta with the sauce. Then serve with topping.