I have to admit even 4 months into a mostly vegan diet, I REALLY miss cheese.
I went casein free last January because my nose and sinuses completely stop up whenever I eat or drink any type of dairy. I also wanted to change my eating habits and become more healthy in my diet. So it worked well transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. Yet, despite not eating cheese on a regular basis in the past year, I still miss it a lot. And there are times when it accidentally sneaks onto my plate.
I've learned how to make several cheddar-tasting "cheese" sauces that are vegan in the past year, but sometimes I just want a very light tasting sauce for a quick pasta meal.
Earlier this week I made a very simple white sauce and added fresh herbs and spices. I wanted an easy pasta dish like macaroni and cheese, but with a more adult twist.
I also decided to use a combination of a homemade cashew milk and hemp milk to create the base of the sauce. I love using raw cashews in vegan sauces because they tend to create a velvety smooth and creamy texture. Perfect for a sauce to accompany brown rice pasta.
I also decided to use simple brown rice flour as my thickening agent to create the white sauce. In doing so, I felt like the sauce had more of a traditional "mac and cheese" texture. I don't know why exactly, but it created a more smooth-tasting sauce than the cornstarch I've used in the past for thickening.
To add a bold punch of flavor at the end of the sauce, I threw in about 1/4 cup of diced sundried tomatoes. It was perfect. A smooth, creamy sauce with a hint of garlic & lemon, followed by the sweet-tart taste that only sundried tomatoes can lend.
My husband had 2 servings of this lovely sauce ladled over brown rice pasta and smiled as he ate. I'll take that as a sign this is one delicious vegan "cheese" sauce.
Sundried Tomato Alfredo Sauce
(Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan)
Created by Carrie @ www.gingerlemongirl.com
1 1/2 cups Hemp Milk (or other unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1 cup water
2/3 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic granules)
1-2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
In a large blender add first all Alfredo sauce ingredients. Pulse on high speed (or liquefy) until mixture is very smooth and creamy. Set aside. In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk in brown rice flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, whisking consistently. Turn down to medium heat and slowly whisk in Alfredo sauce. Heat, stirring/whisking constantly for 5-8 minutes until mixture becomes thick and smooth. If mixture becomes too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time until sauce is the consistency you desire. Stir in chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Serve hot immediately over freshly cooked pasta, brown rice, potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, etc...