The thing about alfredo that plagues me is the same thing that might be said about cacio e pepe, or macaroni & cheese, or carbonara — they’re dishes that I adore with all my soul, all cheesy, carb-y deliciousness, but that I eat woefully infrequently, because I somehow always talk myself into something with a little more greenery or a little more protein (and then I wish I went for the alfredo). Imagine my delight when a recipe came into my life that offered both the satisfaction and bliss of a rich alfredo and the substance of a more protein-packed alternative — instead of cream and cheese, it turns out that soaked cashews (protein!) and chickpea flour (more protein!) can combine with a little nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt and pepper to form, pretty simply, magic. A chickpea alfredo is practically no-cook and all-blender, comes together in a matter of minutes, but is silky-smooth, every bit as creamy as a traditional alfredo, yet simultaneously lighter and more filling. Add in a little watercress and chives for brightness, and even B2, who usually has eyes only for pizza, was so into this rendition of a restaurant classic. Who knew?
As it turns out, Lindsey did! Lindsey from Dolly & Oatmeal is one of the loveliest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and she dreamed up this alfredo, plus about ninety or so more recipes using chickpea flour in the same ingenious, delicious ways for a brand-new cookbook, out in this world as of today. It’s called Chickpea Flour Does It All, and, just like this alfredo of hers, it’s wonderful. Lindsey’s book is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and, like the title suggests, entirely devoted to chickpea flour, but the magic of it is that the book takes you through a full year of beautiful, seasonal recipes without once making you (or more precisely me, the gluten glutton) think that it was tied to any one ingredient, or any one diet. Instead, it’s two hundred pages of diverse recipes for meals, desserts, snacks, and other goodies that, quite simply, I can’t wait to cook and eat — and when I have, it’s the kind of meal that leaves me feeling better, and more nourished. In that way, it reminds me of Lindsey’s blog and Lindsey herself, in that every visit to her space or visit with her inevitably leaves me feeling brighter, happier, and more content. It’s a quality I find truly special, and a book imbued with that same light and sunshine is a real treat indeed.
(P.S. You can hop on over to Lindsey’s blog to win one of two copies in a giveaway starting today!)
Chickpea alfredo with watercress and chives
Recipe from Chickpea Flour Does It All: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian Recipes for Every Taste and Season © Lindsey S. Love, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. http://theexperimentpublishing.com
- Prep Time: 12 hours
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: serves 4 1x
- 16 ounces (454 g) pasta of choice
- 1/4 cup (40 g) plus 1 tablespoon cashews, soaked overnight and drained
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup (240 ml) water
- 1/4 cup (30 g) chickpea flour
- 2 tbsp chopped chives, plus chive flowers for garnish
- 1 cup (34 g) packed watercress
- freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
- Begin cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the bag. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
- Place the soaked cashews in an upright high-speed blender; add the oil, yeast, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste; set aside.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the water and flour, turn the heat to medium and continue to whisk for 6 to 7 minutes, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a roux. Gently and carefully pour the mixture into the blender. Blend on high for 1 minute, until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust any seasonings, if needed. Add 1 tablespoon of chives and blend on medium for about 30 seconds.
- In the last 30 seconds of cooking the pasta to al dente, add the watercress and cook until wilted. Drain the pasta and watercress and quickly rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking.
- Transfer the pasta and watercress to a serving bowl; pour the sauce over the pasta and mix. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Serve hot with remaining 1 tablespoon of chives, chive flowers, and nutmeg.