Creamy Potato Alfredo Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms

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Now we all need some comfort in the form of food every now and then (or more now than then). One thing I have learnt, as an avid comfort eater, is that comfort food doesn’t automatically have to equate to bad food. It’s about making choices, just like everything in life, especially when it comes to what is beneficial or harmful to our minds and bodies.

I have comfort eaten for as long as I can remember. My childhood was unsettled, I moved around a lot, moved from parent to parent, friend to friend, boyfriend to boyfriend all before I was even 15. The one constant in my life was food.

Then, I was blessed, I was very slim, probably from days of hunger versus binge days when food was there. I was stressed. I walked miles every day, hanging around the streets so as not to be home. I could eat what I wanted, to no consequence. My friends were jealous that I’d stuff my face and have a big, bloated tummy, go to bed and wake up with my flat, beach ready belly again!

My mum was a foodie and a comfort eater too and she has struggled with her weight her whole life. I learnt a lot from her, as we do our ‘role models’. I watched my mum go from a slender size 8 (US 4) to a size 22 (US 18) and back again many times. As I write she has maintained a healthy weight for the longest I’ve ever seen. My mum’s yo-yo weight was something I would soon experience as I reached 16.

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Thankfully, I always got a grip before I got dangerously overweight, my biggest being a size 14 (US 10), before I started to count calories and lose the pounds. Last time I did this, I became so obsessed, I became tiny, a size 6 (US 2), I was clinically depressed, and generally frail, probably deficient in many things and too scared to stop counting calories in fear I’d put all the weight back on.

Somewhere in this process, I saw sense, saw that I now had to increase my calories and find my body’s balance and exercise more to keep a healthy weight and balanced mind. This soon, turned on it’s head and the comfort eating then took over, a year later I was back up to a size 12 (US 8) and wondering how I got there. Despite my blog full of cakes and sweet treats, it wasn’t that that was my downfall, it was huge servings of macaroni and cheese (pre-vegan) and pizza and enough mashed potato to serve 2 hungry adults.

After the events of my last weight loss journey which a. wasn’t long-lasting and b. was not healthy, I took some time to understand my body, my mind and my relationship with food before I took any steps to get back to my healthy weight. I learnt that I can indulge, but healthily; I can have my treats, but in a controlled fashion; I can eat normal, delicious meals without any crazy food or calorie restrictions and lose the weight slower but without the added negatives of short lived skinniness, raging depression and black eyes.

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What I love to do when I feel in need of comfort food, is make dishes that satisfy the desire (creamy, filling, warm, spicy, soft etc) but without the fat, excess or empty calories. This dish I share with you today is a prime example, my most calorie laden temptation is creamy pastas. Even vegan versions can be loaded – margarine, soya creams, large servings of pasta.

This version gets its creaminess from white beans, soy milk and potato flakes. It is rich and soothing and flavourful and all the things I need from an alfredo pasta but it’s actually nourishing my body. I don’t even need to fool my taste buds that they are eating a fat and cream burdened meal, they are more than satisfied knowing there is not a trace of added fat in sight.

Cupboard to plate in 20 minutes, 2 pans and 1 blender or food processor. No need to reach for the take away menu.

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Ingredients: Serves 4

Mushrooms:

  • 1 tsp olive oil, optional
  • 250g/3 cups chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch (30g) flat leaf parsley
  • 400g/14oz tagliatelle or other pasta

Sauce:

  • 1 x 400g/14oz can butter beans in plain water, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp plain, unsweetened soya yoghurt
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 35g/2/3 cup dehydrated potato flakes (plain instant mashed potatoes, make sure they are vegan, some contain milk!)
  • 325ml/1 1/3 cups plain, unsweetened soya milk
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, when at a fast boil add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add the teaspoon of oil if using. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute over a high heat, stirring occasionally until they are golden and fragrant and have reabsorbed any of their juices, off the heat stir in the lemon zest.
  3. Whilst the mushrooms are frying, add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy then add half of the parsley and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Add enough of the sauce to coat the drained pasta to your liking, serve in bowls topped with the mushrooms and the remaining chopped parsley scattered over.

Store any remaining sauce in the fridge for a few days and use as a sauce for vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower or add different flavourings for a different take on alfredo pasta sauce.

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Inspired and adapted from Lunch Box Bunch

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This entry was posted in Egg-free, Gluten-free, Mains, Pasta, vegan, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to Creamy Potato Alfredo Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms

  1. While the recipe is lovely in itself, I quite identified with the “battle of the bulge” description… I so identify with and am practising ” I can eat normal, delicious meals without any crazy food or calorie restrictions and lose the weight slower…” I am so much happier now that I do this!

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Aruna, thank you for your appreciation and I am so pleased to hear that you are coming to terms with ‘normal’ eating and I really hope you continue to feel confident in this and continue to grow even happier. 😀

      • Thank you. And yes, I am happier! And I guess that shows. So many people tell me I look slimmer while my scale does not reflect it. More importantly I am not bothered by the scale.

      • Poppy says:

        Some weeks the scale remains the same for me but I have lost inches from my waist and hips so I know it doesn’t always boil down to weight. You are beautiful whatever and the fact you are not stressed about diets and scale results will make you more beautiful.

  2. jmsabbagh says:

    My wife loved the recipe.Thank you .cheers.jalal

  3. Butterbeans and potato, what an awesome idea! I am definitely going to try this – looks great!

  4. beautycalyptique says:

    hm, delish. and so true! comfort food can be uberhealthy, and that thought alone gives you even more, well, comfort 😀
    my comfort food is very similar, too 🙂 I love a vegan Shepard’s Pie, or potatoe wedges with a homemade “sour cream”, and a vegan “Boeuf stroganoff” (vegan red wine, black salsifies, mushrooms, rosemary) and my honey is all for pasta and pizza when stressed (spelt tho – wheat was actually wreaking havoc – not being trendy-ly hysteric here)

    • Poppy says:

      I agree about the added comfort from knowing your comfort food is healthy, it’s almost a smugness! Vegan “Boeuf stroganoff” sounds wonderful with red wine and salsify!

      Yes, I know many people who struggle with modern wheat but manage spelt fine. I’m fine with wheat but love using different grains regardless, not only are they healthier and in need of revival but they are so much more interesting and exciting! 😀

      • beautycalyptique says:

        exactly! so much more flavours 🙂 I’ve discovered other wheat varieties as well. one is called kamut in germany. the kamut spaghetti have the finest wheat taste ever and you don’t have usual wheat-related probs with it (unless one is gluten-intolerant of course).
        BTW I recently stumbled upon a wafle recipe with almond flour which I definitely want to try 🙂

      • Poppy says:

        Yes I’ve heard of kamut but it’s one I am yet to try! Einkorn is one great for baking that like spelt, has been known to be safe for those who normally suffer from modern wheat. I also love using buckwheat flour and gram flour. Almond flour waffles sound interesting! 😀

      • beautycalyptique says:

        that’s a point: since wheat flour kicked the bucket in our home, the flour variety has grown largely!
        apart form those you named (and einkorn, haven’t tried yet) I also use chestnut flour (you can sub up to 1/4 in chocolate recipes – like they do @ Corsica, to add a very rich earthiness to chocolate cakes) and coconut flour.

      • Poppy says:

        Chestnut flour I’ve wanted to try for ages but I’ve yet to find it at a reasonable price as its still very rare here! Coconut flour I adore and now keep in the freezer as my first lot went rancid very quickly!
        I should probably have a go at making my own chestnut flour, I bet it’s wonderful in chocolate cakes!

      • beautycalyptique says:

        chestnut flour makes chocolate cakes “earthy” and they can take a whole lot of spices and probably even mediterranean herbs. ooooh, why not make a rosemary-chestnut-flour-red-wine chocolate cake? *makes notes*

        freezer you say?
        *rushes into kitch*
        *waving from there*
        great tip, thank you 🙂

      • Poppy says:

        Wow that sounds an incredibly interesting chocolate cake! Yes freezer is the best home for it!! It doesn’t freeze solid or anything so you can use it straight from the freezer but the cold temperature preserves it! I’ve never had any go rancid on me since! 😀

      • beautycalyptique says:

        I will start experimenting with vegan choc mini cupcakes since those always turned out great (I’m baking challenged), and will report! 😀

      • Poppy says:

        I look forward to it 😀

  5. priya7011 says:

    That looks so inviting!!

  6. Love your pic, your recipe, and the fact you shared your story! Thanks so much for this post, Poppy! Here’s to healthy, tasty, comfort food! 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing your history. I think there are probably very few women out there who’ve never had an uneasy relationship with food! So pleased you’re finding a healthy balance now. This looks very tasty. Are potato flakes available from the supermarket? I’ve never seen (or looked) for them before.

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you and I absolutely agree about most women having had some journey with food!
      Yes, I find potato flakes in every supermarket in the UK.
      Poppy 😀

  8. sophiazerg says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Poppy. I can definitely relate, in my own way. Your recipe looks really creamy and comforting!
    Sophia

  9. Sophie33 says:

    A divine plate of great tasty food! MMMMMMM! you make it neerleggen the same way as I!😀

  10. mrsveg says:

    Wow, I’ve made loads of pasta sauces from blended nuts, never thought of using beans. And instant mash is a genius touch!

  11. This looks awesome! I wish it would magically appear on my dinner table tonight 😉

  12. Comfort food is a definite necessity now and again – – and the wonderful thing about plant-based eating is that it can be delicious and healthy. I also identify with the ups-and-downs of your dieting. What a crazy, destructive cycle we women can get into. Phew! for finally finding balance in our lives!

    • Poppy says:

      Thanks Annie. I absolutely agree with you! It’s scary how we become consumed by the diet monster when all we need to do is find a ‘life diet’. I hope this helps others to find their balance as it is so necessary for happiness and health. 😀

  13. This recipe looks light and refreshing, perfect for the hot summer days! Who doesn’t love food, but it’s just takes some effort to eat healthy foods like this one 🙂 I’m definitely gonna give this recipe a try some day soon!

    • Poppy says:

      I try to make healthier foods more inviting and easy to make to keep me on the straight and narrow! I hope you enjoy it when if you get to try it!

  14. Looks delicious. I’ve never thought of using potato flakes in my dishes (vegan here as well). Thanks for the idea!

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you! Since I got the inspiration for this recipe, I have used the potato flakes in a few things to get a creamy effect, great in a pie filling or to make a creamy soup! 😀

  15. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. My mmmmmm will go on forever! I love creamy potato-ish dishes! Mushrooms look great! I bet chanterelles look amazing in this dish. x

  16. omg those mushrooms… ❤

  17. This looks so good! Any idea where you can buy potato flakes not containing dairy? (I’m in the UK too)

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you Emily. In Tesco, the value instant mash and Oak Lane brand are vegan. Mr Mash brand is vegan (sold in Asda and other places). Asda and Sainsbury’s own brands contain milk. Hope that helps! Poppy 😀

      • Thank you! I’ll have to get to Tesco. I am lazy and tend to order on Ocado and they only seem to have Smash! I NEED to make this 🙂

      • Poppy says:

        Oh I understand, I hate the hustle and bustle of supermarkets so rarely venture there and just get a veg box and a few extras delivered each week! Now Smash doesn’t explicitly state any dairy in the ingredients but I can’t find any source that it is dairy free or vegan as I have with the others. It doesn’t state it’s dairy free in the allergies section either so I would probably avoid the risk! You never know what ‘natural flavourings’ etc consist of! I hope you manage to find some soon!

  18. Mmmm, I love anything with mushrooms. this sounds so good!

  19. Yum! This looks so delicious! 🙂

  20. Emily says:

    Stopping over from SITS, happy feature day! This looks delicious 🙂

  21. Frances says:

    This sounds delish! Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my recent post!

  22. This looks delicious and quick enough that I could make it with my girls!! Pinning and following your other accounts!

  23. Really looks delicious!

  24. Hi Poppy! I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award, if you choose to accept!
    http://wholeandhappyfood.com/2013/08/17/the-versatile-blogger-award/
    Johanna

  25. meech1996 says:

    This looks lovely, great photography and I am sure an even better dinner!

  26. beangoesgreen says:

    Hey, thanks for liking my post on banana pancakes! Your blog looks awesome as well 🙂 Happy to hear that your attitude to eating is as healthy as the recipe itself. Keep it up!

  27. Pingback: Comfort Food: Pongal | Sugarfree Sweetheart

  28. vinthea says:

    I just wanted to tell me how much I enjoy your bog, your recipes and your honesty. Thank you 🙂

  29. Flavorphilia says:

    Reading this is a solace for my current struggle. Thank you so much for sharing this piece of your life and creating a healthy lifestyle for someone who needs the inspiration. I can’t thank you enough!!

  30. nikibakes says:

    This is so tasty, Poppy! Thank you for sharing your story with us too.

  31. elizmb says:

    Hey, I saw that you liked my post and decided to check out your blog! My goodness, you make some seriously beautiful food! I’m definitely going to have to try some of your recipes soon! Perhaps I’ll find the strength to go vegan…http://adventurefaceliz.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/roasted-potato-with-creole-mustardgreek-yogurt-sauce-served-with-cornmeal-encrusted-heirloom-tomato-steaks/

  32. WheelsUpMama says:

    I will have to try this one! I miss the creamy sauces so much!

  33. Wow this looks great, I’m definitely going to try this next time I’m craving comfort food!

  34. I love that you put so much of yourself in this post. Thanks for sharing :).

  35. lydiatoson says:

    Thanks for liking my post Poppy. Looks like you have lots of tasty recipes too! Keep in touch 🙂 http://www.lydiatoson.com

  36. That pasta looks like my kind of dish!

  37. Wow. This looks SO TOTALLY YUMMY! I’ll make this soon, for sure! Thank you for the healthy take on comfort food–alfredo is one thing that I’ve been missing since going vegan. 🙂

  38. This looks fabulous!! I love the way you transform the ingredients in this recipe to become a healthy indulgence. Thanks much – very inspiring story as well.

  39. That looks really good!

  40. Pingback: Thai Yellow Noodle Soup | Bunny Kitchen

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