Immunity-Boosting Mushroom & Pasta Alfredo

by Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD and Jim Perko Sr. CEC, AACIf I asked you to imagine one of the most decadent foods, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, fettuccini alfredo is probably at the top of your list. Consider this: An average fettucini alfredo frozen dinner contains between 500 and 900 calories (most of those calories coming from fat) and up to 800 mg of sodium. Order this dish at a restaurant and it can contain nearly 1200 calories, 60 grams of fat and 2300 mg of sodium. It’s safe to say that this dish may surely contribute to weight gain and increase your risk for chronic disease. And – if you’re lactose intolerant, this dish isn’t even an option!

But, what if you could have fettuccini alfredo that tasted amazing, was low in calories and fat, and was completely vegan? If it sounds too good to be true, think again. The Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute has created the secret sauce to turn this dish from unhealthy to healthy! It’s chock full of shitake mushrooms, too, which are high in B vitamins and may help to support a healthy immune system. What better comfort food could you imagine?
Mushroom Alfredo
Makes 4 Servings –  Serving Size: 1 ¼ cups
Ingredients for Sauce base
2 cups soy milk – unsweetened
4 ounces Idaho potato – peeled, fine grated using box grater (about 1 small potato)
¾ teaspoon salt
1/8  teaspoon black pepper – coarse grind
In small sauce pan, add soy milk, grate the peeled potato into soy milk, add salt and pepper, heat on low flame and whisk frequently until milk begins to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside.
Ingredients for Pasta, Mushrooms and Onions
6 ounces dry 100% whole wheat farfalle pasta – half of 12 ounce package
16 ounces shitake mushrooms – de-stemmed, fine julienne
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper – coarse grind
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces or 1 ½ cups onion – fine dice
1 tablespoon fresh garlic – fine chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley – chopped (optional as garnish)
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook farfalle pasta until al dente; remove, strain, rinse and set aside in bowl covered with plastic wrap. While pasta is cooking, in a 12″ sauté pan on low flame, heat oil, add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Sauté slowly about 5 minutes until mushrooms are tender – remove and set aside.
Using the same skillet, add 1 teaspoon of oil and sauté onions on medium heat until golden. To cook garlic,  make a well in the middle of the pan add the other teaspoon of oil, add garlic, cook until fragrant, and mix together.
Add mushrooms, sauce and heat until hot. Stir in pasta, heat through and serve with parsley on top as garnish.
Chef’s Notes:

  • One (12 ounce) package of dry farfalle pasta will make 2 recipes
  • Use any combination of mushrooms
  • Shitake mushrooms de-stemmed weight about 1/3 less

Nutritional Information per Serving
Calories: 390
Sodium: 580mg
Sugars: 8g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Saturated Fat: 2g
Fiber: 7g
Protein: 14g
Carbohydrate: 55g


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