Saturday, February 4, 2012

Nothing Too Weird

Last night, my parents arrived for a weekend visit. When I offered to have dinner ready when they arrived, my mom hesitantly responded "That would be good, but don't make anything too weird." Well, I like a challenge, so I set out to make a plant-based, healthy meal that was strictly in their comfort zone. The solution? My dad loves fettuccine alfredo, so I made a recipe out of the Happy Herbivore cookbook. The base of the sauce is silken tofu, soymilk and nutritional yeast. I forgot that our soymilk is slightly sweetened, so I had to up the garlic and onion powder and cayenne to cover the sweet. I also decided to skip adding peas or other veggies (the cookbook has a great suggestion of adding spinach and tomato) because we roasted up some broccoli and brussel sprouts as a side.  With black pepper, fresh parsley and vegan parmesan on the table to season the food, it was time for dinner. I also quickly made a pitcher of water with half a lemon and blood orange juiced in and slices of both for presentation.

Everyone liked the alfredo, and we were remarking that the calories and fat were more than cut in half in this version (and no cholesterol.) A 2 cup serving of Happy Herbivore's fettuccine alfredo has about 400 calories, whereas the lunch portion of fettuccine alfredo at Olive Garden has 800 calories. The fat, saturated fat and cholesterol in that Olive Garden lunch was more than I had in all my meals yesterday. There is more protein in the plant-based version of the dish as well.

The Happy Herbivore cookbook has been a great resource for inspiration as I adopt more plant-based, no oil healthy meals into my diet. Her blog is a great resource as well.

So, I don't think there is anything too weird about making one of my dad's favorite dishes much healthier.

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