I started adding more vegetarian meals into my diet recently, which is when this vegetable Alfredo bowl happened. I made this change for a few reasons but in order of priority they are as follows:
- It’s cheaper.
- IF I buy meat it’s usually not great quality because I can’t afford the good stuff (see #1). Therefore I wanted to rid my diet of harmful things.
I went completely meat free for a week just as a detox/experiment. Then one week turned into two weeks. Now we’re going into week 3 with just 1 out of my 3 meal preps containing meat.
I like the more plant-based diet for several reasons.
- Easier to prep: meat is usually the more time consuming task and you have to get it cooked just right to ensure it’s not going to poison you. To be on the safer side my chicken tends to get overcooked and dry and it’s not really that enjoyable at that point.
- I feel less weighed down and bloated. I’m able to keep my macros to a really good balance now even though it took a little bit of fiddling with to get them right.
- Obvious one it’s cheaper.
- Other than physically feeling good it kind of makes me feel mentally good knowing I’m putting good, natural foods into my body (most of the time), and not worrying about where my meat came from and what it might contain.
Thus this vegetarian Alfredo bowl recipe was born. It’s basically identical to my Dairy Free Chicken Alfredo Casserole, but I took the chicken out and beefed it up with more of the other ingredients, all of which are great plant protein sources: broccoli, quinoa, mushrooms and spinach.
The dairy-free cauliflower Alfredo sauce is great but I think the dairy free version still lacks in texture. It’s grainy rather than creamy. BUT I’m giving a vegan cashew cheese sauce a try today so fingers crossed that one turns out better. Though, I wish cashews were as cheap as cauliflower in that case…
Vegetarian Alfredo Bowls
For the Sauce (adapted from The Endless Meal)
- 3 cups cauliflower 1 medium head
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup water or broth
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast more to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1 bag frozen broccoli florets can use fresh
- 8oz sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup quinoa, dried
- 2 cups raw spinach
Cut cauliflower into florets, place in microwave safe bowl and cover. Steam for 5-7 minutes.
Pulse caulilfower in the blender until a cauliflower rice consistency is reached. Add remaining sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed. Set sauce aside
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium heat with a little oil. Sautee the mushrooms with a little salt/pepper or italian seasoning if desired until they are about halfway cooked.
Add the raw spinach to the pan and keep stirring in with the mushrooms until it has wilted
If using fresh broccoli, steam or roast it however you wish. (I love roasted broccoli - oil, salt, and pepper it, lay it out on a foil lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, checking on it periodically). Frozen makes this dish even easier so if you're all for the convenience factor go for the frozen.
For each bowl, use 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, and about a cup or 2 of the vegetables. Stir in desired amount of cauliflower Alfredo sauce (2-4 tbsp is sufficient).