This dairy-free alfredo is the perfect spring pasta, with a cauliflower base and a delicious twist of fresh basil, lemon, and cherry tomatoes!
It’s been rather silent over here, but for good reason—I’ve been crazy busy. I’ve finished my newest cookbook, Healthier Together, and am launching the Healthier Together podcast soon, which will feature some amazing guests, so be sure you’re signed up for the newsletter or following me on Instagram to hear about the launch. I’ll also be doing a few weeks of giveaways to celebrate, so stay tuned for that! I’ve also been doing my, you know, day job, as Food Director at mindbodygreen—you can always check in on the site to see the articles (often 10 a week!) I’m writing over there!
All of this which is to say: I’m often in the need of a quick, healthy dinner. Spring has been teasing us here in New York, with 80 degree days followed by gusting wind and rain. I stash my jacket in storage and begrudgingly pull it out again, and that in limbo vibe has translated to my food desires: I want something fresh and bright after a season of heavy food, with the comfort necessary for cold days (it ain’t salad weather yet).
This pasta splits the difference perfectly. It uses an easy cauliflower and onion sauté to make a creamy alfredo base, which I spike and turn a beautiful green with a handful of fresh basil leaves. Tossed with any pasta you like and studded with cherry tomatoes (or really, any spring-type vegetables or fruits—yes, tomatoes are fruits—you have lying around), it’s the perfect hearty spring dinner. Plus, it takes less than 20 minutes from top to bottom to make.Print
- Drizzle of avocado oil (about a tablespoon), enough to lightly coat bottom of pan
- 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk (can use any dairy-free milk of choice)
- 5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves (I just use however much is in those clamshells you can buy at the grocery store)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 servings pasta of choice
- Sea salt or mineral salt
- 4 – 5 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half or quarters (can sub any veg or fruit of choice!)
- Red pepper flakes, to serve
- Boil water for pasta. Salt it liberally—if you don’t salt the water (more than you think!) your pasta will never taste good.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. BEFORE draining, reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta without rinsing and return to pan.
- Meanwhile, warm oil in a heavy bottom large shallow pot or braising pan with a lid over medium high. Add onion and cauliflower and a generous pinch of salt, and saute uncovered until onion and cauliflower are beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Add almond milk and garlic and cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, until cauliflower is fork tender (about 5 – 10 minutes).
- Transfer milk and cauliflower mixture to blender. Add basil and lemon and blend until very smooth. Add salt to taste.
- Over low heat, toss pasta with alfredo sauce and a bit of reserved pasta water at a time until a creamy sauce forms.
- To serve, top with tomatoes and a generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes.