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Fettuccine Faux-Fredo

As I have shown on my site, I try to lead the way on experimenting in the kitchen, trying to figure out new ways to make healthy versions of not-so-healthy classics. Sometimes we get stuck on milk and cheese and butter as the only ways to make something velvety and creamy. But cannellini beans are a surprisingly buttery and creamy substitute! Without the fat and cholesterol of heavy dairy, they’re also loaded with fiber and nutrients. Ummm… perfecto!  

This fettucine faux-fredo uses cannellini beans (or you can use white beans) as the base of the sauce, and I also added tons of extra flavor with nutritional yeast, a little parmesan, garlic, and herbs. Cannellini beans are full of antioxidants, they're rich in fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins. They're a great vegetarian protein option, and they have a buttery mild flavor. How about the fact that almost everyone has a can hiding in their pantry? Easy peasy my friends!

This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make and is a great go-to weeknight meal when you're busy but still want something healthy and yummy to eat. Making extra is a must, as pureed beans can last a few days in the fridge. Just be sure to add more water if the sauce gets too thick the following day. Heat up with a fresh batch of pasta and you're all set!

FETTUCCINE FAUX-FREDO
Serves 4

  • 1 lb. gluten free brown rice fettuccine, or your favorite type of fettucine
  • 2 cans low sodium cannellini beans (or white beans)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender, bout 10-11 minutes, or as directed on the package. Once cooked, reserve a few cups of the water the pasta has cooked in, then drain the pasta and set aside.

To make the sauce, rinse and drain 2 cans of low sodium cannellini beans. Peel 4 cloves of garlic.

Once your ingredients are prepped, to a high-powered blender or food processor, add the drained beans, 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock, 4 cloves of garlic, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Puree the mixture until a smooth sauce forms.

Pour the sauce into a large pan over medium heat. Make sure the pan is big enough to hold the pasta and the sauce, as you will add the pasta to the pan. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the sauce. Heat the sauce until it is bubbly and thick, and the flavors come together, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce. Toss well and make sure all of the pasta is covered. If you need to thin the sauce, you can add more of the reserved pasta water.

Plate the pasta and generously garnish with flat leaf parsley. 

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Polenta Tots

Tots served with baked crusted fish. You can find the full recipe  here .   Photo by   Vanessa Stump .

Tots served with baked crusted fish. You can find the full recipe herePhoto by Vanessa Stump.

I know most of you reading this post are above the age of 7, but come on! Who doesn't love a tot? Anything mini and bite-sized is somehow always satisfying. They may be tasty, but traditional tater tots have way too much sodium and oil and definitely don't have much nutritional value. I was trying to think of fun twists on the classic tater tot, and I came up with these polenta tots. Polenta is an inexpensive product, and contains B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin E. While it is starchy and should be eaten in moderation, it's a great alternative to heavy potato-based side dishes. 

These polenta tots are easy to make, and they are always a crowd pleaser... especially for little guys. You can serve them along with breaded and baked fish or chicken, or on their own with a fun dip (how about warm marinara?) for a fun afternoon snack or party appetizer!  

POLENTA TOTS

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 18-ounce sleeve organic polenta, cut into 1-inch rounds, and then diced into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup liquid egg whites
  • ¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Lightly spray the foil with olive oil spray.

Cut the polenta into 1-inch thick rounds, and then cut each round into bite-sized squares, roughly the size of tater tots.

Add the cut polenta tots to a bowl. Add ¼ cup of liquid egg whites to the tots, and toss until the polenta is well coated. Add ¾ of a cup of finely grated Parmesan and a pinch of black pepper to the polenta, and gently toss until the polenta is coated in cheese.  

Place the coated polenta bites onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the polenta for 12 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.

Evette and I try out the polenta tots on set!

Evette and I try out the polenta tots on set!

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