We eat a lot of pasta in this house, at least once or twice a week. It’s a quick dinner fix that can always be thrown together with whatever’s on hand, and as a bonus it’s one of my toddler’s favourites. And if you live with, or have raised a little one, you’ll know what I mean when I say that sometimes it’s just that much more relaxing to sit down to the table and know that that little person is going to fill up their tummy without a fight. (And frankly, Mark and I are always content with it too.)
It’s always nice to have a bit of variety and so although we tend to stick with red sauces, I love having a go-to Alfredo sauce too. This version is a lighted up from my High Protein Cauliflower Alfredo, which by the way, continues to be my most popular recipe ever on Cupcakes and Kale! With spring in the air, I left beans out of the sauce, reduced the almond milk, added just a little lemon, and instead went with a some tempeh bacon crumbled on top. So there’s still no shortage of protein here, but it just feels a bit lighter somehow.
This sauce is uber rich and creamy, with just the perfect amount of “cheesiness” from the added nutritional yeast. It makes quite a lot of sauce (over 4 cups), so if you don’t use it all on pasta, it’s amazing on just about everything else too – especially roasted Brussels sprouts. I’m also thinking it would be fabulous as a base for scalloped potatoes…. Mmmmmm.
Lightened Up Cauliflower Alfredo + Tempeh Bacon Crumbles
makes 4 cups of sauce (enough sauce + tempeh to serve 8)
For the Alfredo Sauce
1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Tempeh Bacon Crumbles
1 240g package tempeh
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp sesame oil
pinch sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Begin with the tempeh crumbles. Start by steaming the entire block of tempeh for 15 minutes. Remove and crumble into a medium bowl. Top with the tamari, maple syrup, sesame oil and salt. Stir well to combine and cover the crumbles. Let rest to marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add then entire contents of the tempeh, marinade and all. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The goal is to brown and crisp the tempeh crumbles as much as possible. Once cooked, remove lower the heat to keep them warm while the sauce is prepared.
3. Chop the cauliflower into large pieces and steam or boil them until soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
4. Meanwhile, peel and chop the garlic and sauté it in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until fragrant and just as it begins to brown. Remove from the heat.
5. Combine the cooked cauliflower, sautéed garlic, remaining olive oil, almond milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and reserved cooking water in a blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a high powered blender, this may take several minutes and you may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the blender as you go. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and return to the pot along with as much of the sauce as you need. If serving a crowd, and making 1 pound of pasta, use it all. Fold the sauce into the pasta and heat thoroughly before serving, topped with tempeh bacon crumbles. If you’re not using all of the sauce, place any unused portions in a sealed container in the fridge and use within a few days.
Is pasta a staple in your kitchen too? What’s your go-to sauce fix? If you make this yourself, I’d love to see and hear about your results! Make sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram tagging with #cupcakesandkale.
And I already shared this on Instagram, but I thought I’d add this cute out-take from these photos. Sometimes life with a little one is full of surprises – such as shorter naps that result in having an extra “stylist” on hand!