The Vegan Italian Mother Sauces! Pesto, Alfredo, and Marinara

Last night I taught another successful class at Whole Foods at 3rd and Fairfax in Hollywood and there were so many people that weren’t able to get reservations, so I thought I’d share the recipes here ūüôā This cooking presentation was all about Italian sauces. My vegan Springtime Pesto, Cauliflower Alfredo, and Spicy Marinara. The base of these 3 sauces are what I call the Italian Mother Sauces. You can use them and combine them to make just about any kind of Italian food. So enjoy the recipes and let me know how you like them! Make sure you check my appearances page to find out about my next classes and festivals!

Lemon & Spinach Pesto

Serves 4

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 cloves of garlic

about 2 cups of basil leaves

about 2 cups of spinach

1 lemon

1/4- 1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

You’ll place the basil and spinach in the food processor topped with the garlic and nuts. ¬†Pulse a few times to break them down a bit. ¬†Add in the zest from the lemon and all the lemon juice. ¬†Pulse again and then drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto is smooth. ¬†Cook your pasta to al dente, drain and return to the pot. ¬†Add the pesto right on top and stir to coat the noodles. ¬†Serve immediately.

Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves 4

1 large head of cauliflower

3 cups vegetable broth

2 tbsp. vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 onion, sliced

6 cloves of garlic, sliced

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

Cut off any bottom leaves of the cauliflower and cut out the toughest part of the core.  Then break the cauliflower down into florets.  Boil them with the vegetable broth uncovered until the cauliflower is very soft and tender.  About 15 minutes.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a large frying pan and saute the onion and garlic with the Earth Balance and olive oil until soft.

When both are done, using a slotted spoon, remove all the cauliflower from the broth and place in a blender or food processor.  Add 1 cup of the cooking broth, all the contents of the frying pan, the nutmeg and salt.  Puree on high until very smooth, 3-4 minutes.  Add a little more broth at a time if it needs to be thinned.  Add pepper to taste.

Serve with fettuccine and serve warm.

OPTIONS: Drizzle the finished fettuccine alfredo with some truffle oil for something really special!  Add red chili flakes to kick up the heat on your pasta!  Or saute asparagus, mushrooms, squash, tomatoes, broccoli, or any other veggies you like and add on top! 

Tomato Sauce

Serves 6

What you’ll need:

1 medium onion, diced

olive oil

2 28oz. can of whole san marzano tomatoes

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

5 leaves of fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute the onion in some olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft.  Add in the cans of tomatoes, stir and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon break up the tomatoes.  Add the garlic and simmer another few minutes.  Stir in the basil and serve over pasta, polenta, quinoa, etc.

Leslie Durso Teaching at Whole Foods