Growing up in a half-Italian household, there was no shortage of ricotta stuffed shells, eggplant parmesan, and creamy pasta dishes at family gatherings. You’d think I’d be naturally endowed with the ability to digest all that deliciousness. Sadly, like so many others, over the years I have lost the ability to properly digest lactose (a.k.a. I am dairy defunct). According to the NIH, “approximately 65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.” So what’s an Italiana to do?
Thanks to creative cooks across the web and world, there are thousands of recipe alternatives out there for some of your favorite cheese and cream-heavy dishes. Ever since noshing on an amazing dish of dairy-free Fettuccine “Alfredo” in Austin, TX back in February I’ve been angling to make my own version that was both vegan and gluten-free. After reading countless recipes and making several attempts to fuse what I saw as the best elements of each, this is what I came up with…and it’s super tasty if I do say so myself!
Zucchini “Fettuccine Alfredo”
What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 8 oz boiling water
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 small or 2 large zucchinis
How to Make It:
- Soak cashews in water overnight.
- Drain cashews and add to a blender or food processor. Add 8-oz of boiling water and blend until mostly smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Let cool and store in the fridge for up to a week or use immediately (continuing to steps 5 and 6).
- Using a vegetable peeler, shave long slivers of raw zucchini into a bowl until you’ve used up the entire veggie. The strips should look like thin ribbons (see below).
- Toss zucchini with “Alfredo” sauce until well coated.
- Let marinate for at least 30 min so the sauce seeps into the “fettuccine.”
This can be served hot or cold. It makes for the perfect summer meal: very light, very healthy and, to top it off, very satisfying!