Monday, August 13, 2012

Vegan Penne A La Vodka

He's obsessed with wearing glasses.
Penne a la vodka is one of my absolute favorite meals, and is one of my go to comfort foods. It was also one of the first meals I learned to make. It was the beginning of my kitchen adventures, transitioning me from someone who hated cooking, to someone who realized how fun and satisfying it could be.

I've often shelved my craving for the pasta dish because I didn't want to make a separate meal for my son with the dairy allergy. While strolling down the beach recently, thinking about food (shocking), I had a stroke of culinary genius. I've used coconut milk in place of heavy cream before, like in chocolate mousse and whipped cream, so why not use it in penne a la vodka? The dish came out wonderful. I served it to Logan, Andrew, and my brother who was here for dinner. They said they could barely tell the heavy cream was missing, and they all loved it. I also added nutritional yeast and arrowroot powder to thicken the sauce and make a creamy texture.

I never realized how essential coconut milk is in vegan cooking. Using it has allowed me to make things that I thought would have to be given up in a dairy free diet. My favorite brand is the Thai Kitchen, but it's not available at my local supermarket, so Goya is the next best. But seriously, go stock up on cans of this stuff. They'll come in handy. I promise.

Vegan Penne A La Vodka
Serves 6

  • One 24oz. jar of marinara sauce or canned tomatoes.
  • One 13.5oz. can of full fat coconut milk.
  • 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast.
  • 3 Tbsp. arrowroot powder.
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced.
  • 1 garlic clove, minced.
  • 1 Tbsp. each of dried or fresh basil, oregano and parsley.

  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.
  2. Simmer over a low flame for about 30 minutes, or until onions are soft and the sauce is warmed.
  3. Serve immediately over whole wheat pasta.

I also roasted squash from my garden to serve with the penne. It made for a quick and delicious side dish. Just cut in half, rub with oil, salt and pepper, and roast in 400ยบ oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.

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