Saturday, July 13, 2013

cheesy vegan pasta bake

loving all the tiny attention to detail at my sister-in-law's house, so bali

I made my first vegan alfredo sauce last week, didn't perfect it, so didn't post it. It was amazing, but there were a few things I would have changed. I also didn't keep very good track of how much of everything I was putting in there! Thats how I usually cook, just throw it all together without a recipe, so keeping track of my own recipes is a new challenge!

I really wanted to cook something in the oven tonight because we are housesitting for my sister-in-law and I get to use a full size oven! So I thought I would perfect my cheesy vegan sauce, and then bake it. I'm not going to lie though, I did search for some guidance. I found an awesome recipe that used almost exactly the same ingredients that I used in my alfredo sauce before, but in a bake! So, I've adjusted a few things, added a few things, and just for kicks, because I'm almost vegan, I'm putting parmesan cheese on top! Ha! The original recipe can be found at

  • 8 oz of brown rice penne pasta, cooked al dente and drained
  • 1 zucchini (1/2 grated and 1/2 thinly sliced)
  • 4-6 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • handful fresh herbs (basil and parsley) 
for the sauce
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut milk, unsweetened*
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta and set aside. Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt butter and coconut oil in pan, add onion and garlic. Cook until soft. Add flour and cook just two minutes, it should be pretty pasty. Stir in milk and keep on stirring until thickened and boiling. Stir in yeast, nutmeg, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Sauce is at its thickest point when it comes to a boil, so if its too thick for you, add some more milk!

Fold together pasta, sauce, grated zucchini, chopped fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and chopped herbs. Transfer into glass baking dish and topped with the thin slices of zucchini. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, top with parmesan cheese (optional) and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

This first photo is before it went in the oven. That's about the time when our dinner guests arrived with this beautiful salad,

and lets just say, when the wine was flowing and the bake was on the table, there was no time for a photo. I suddenly remembered to take one just before Tom ate the last helping! It was the perfect amount for four people, that is, if your husband eats like mine does.

* this coconut milk I'm talking about isn't the coconut cream found in a can that tastes strongly of coconut. Just another kind of non-dairy milk, found in the same kind of carton as soy or almond milk, and usually in the same section. Its super creamy, great for this recipe, but doesn't taste like coconuts. 

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