Italian food is one of my favorites! I don’t care if it’s spaghetti, lasagna, or Chef Boyardee ravioli (ok, that’s taking it a bit too far). There are so many delicious Italian dishes, but many of them are made with meat and if you are vegan, that might turn you off a bit. Don’t worry, though. I have a great vegan-friendly recipe that you and your sweetheart are sure to enjoy!
First, Let’s Set The Mood (And The Table)
Eating Italian food automatically means you have to light some candles and put on some romantic noise like soft music (or an episode of The Bachelor if you’re just celebrating with friends). Set the table just how you like it, maybe a single rose in a vase for some color, and a bottle of your favorite wine. I would suggest one, but honestly, my idea of a romantic dinner is a plate of hot wings and a cold beer in a more upbeat setting.
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And Now, For The Main Event
Tonight’s dinner is Pumpkin Seed Alfredo Fusilli and boy does it look amazing, filling, and perfect for warming up in the cold weather. Though I am a meat eater, I do have weeks where I omit meat altogether and love to enjoy a dish like this!
Delicious Vegan Pumpkin Seed Alfredo Fusilli
- 1 tsp oil
- ½ cup chopped onion or shallots
- 3 fat cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup water, divided
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp or more dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried basil or oregano
- ¾ tsp or more salt
- 1.5 to 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp flour (I use whole wheat. Use rice flour to make GF)
- A generous dash of black pepper
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
- Black pepper, red pepper flakes and vegan pepita parm for garnish
- 1 cup baby spinach and ½ cup thawed peas (optional)
1) Cook pasta according to instructions and keep aside.
2) Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic then cook until soft.
3) Add pumpkin seeds and ¼ cup water, then bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, then let cool.
4) Add all the ingredients from nutritional yeast through nondairy milk to the blender (nutritional yeast, herbs, salt, lemon, vinegar, flour, pepper, olive oil, on dairy milk). Add the onion pumpkin seed mixture to the blender and blend until smooth.
5) Return the mixture to the skillet over medium heat. Add a ¼ cup water and bring to a boil and stir to keep it smooth. The mixture will eventually thicken. Continue to cook for 1 minute.
6) You can taste the mixture and adjust salt and herbs to your liking.
7) Add the cooked pasta, spinach, peas and other veggies if desired and toss together. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a few tbsp of water to thin it out. Cover turn off the heat. Let the pasta sit for 2-3 minutes before serving.
8) Garnish with pepper flakes and nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan of choice.
You can serve this dish with a salad of your choice. Enjoy!