I’m on a new kick where I no longer eat dairy and I am trying to cut meat out of my diet as much as I can (except for fish). So, I’ve been looking up a lot of vegan recipes, if only for the no dairy factor. Last night I got the cooking bug and wanted to make something delicious. I had been reading a food blog all day that I found called Bok Choy Bohemia and was really inspired to create my own dish, so that’s what I did.
I was in the mood for orzo pasta and I wanted a creamy sauce to go along with it. Normally, the way you make a creamy sauce is by adding, what else, cream! But since I am not eating dairy, I went in search of soy cream cheese. I know it’s out there; I’ve found recipes calling for it. Also, I’m trying to eat really healthy and was challenging myself to figure out how I could make a creamy sauce without all the calories that creamy products add to food.
I walked into Whole Foods for probably the third time in my life, thinking that surely they would have some soy cheese products. I found soy sour cream, but no soy cream cheese (I noted the sour cream in my head for a later concoction). This did not deter me. Instead I chose to use silken tofu, also known as soft tofu. Along with the tofu I picked up baby portabellas, sun dried tomatoes in oil, fresh spinach, white wine, vegetable stock, and basil. After sautéing the portabellas and sun dried tomatoes in the oil the sun dried tomatoes came in, I added the wine and vegetable stock. I used my handy dandy little bullet blender to blend the tofu with a little wine and stock till it was smooth. I added the tofu to the sauce and let it simmer till it thickened. After the orzo was done I tossed it with the basil and spinach to let the greens wilt a little, then I mixed in the sauce. Delicious!!! I ate it hot but had another bite later that night after it had been in the fridge and it was just as good cold.
Completely vegan and, although not exactly healthy, much healthier than a traditional creamy alternative you would find at any restaurant. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it for yourself. I’d say this serves 3-4 people.
I think I’ll use the leftover orzo to make a pasta frittata…I’ll let you know how that turns out.
One package baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chopped fresh spinach, chopped
½ cup basil, chiffonade (sliced into ribbons)
½ cup sun dried tomatoes drained of oil and chopped (more or less as desired)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
1 cup silken tofu
½ package orzo pasta
While the water for the pasta is boiling, sauté the mushrooms in the sun dried tomato oil until brown. Add sun dried tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add white wine and vegetable stock, simmering for 4-5 minutes to reduce. In a blender, add tofu and a splash each of wine and stock; blend until smooth. Add blended tofu to sauce and let simmer for another 4-5 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more stock to achieve your desired consistency. After orzo is done, drain and toss with the spinach and basil for a minute, just until the greens wilt a little. Mix in the sauce and let stand for a minute or two so that the orzo can absorb the flavors. Enjoy!