High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta
A new month, a new hospital.
Yesterday I was (slightly) complaining about my upcoming commute from our new home. After today, a 10-12 km one-way commute seems like peanuts.
A last minute change in scheduling has me rotating at a hospital outside the downtown core for April. My total commute yesterday was 37 km. Almost 2 hours on the bike. The day’s schedule was a bit more erratic than normal, but basically my cycling looked like this:
8 km from home to downtown gym (0700 spinning class!)
10 km from downtown gym to uptown hospital (UPHILL!)
10 km from uptown hospital to downtown hospital
8 km from downtown hospital to home
Thank goodness it was broken up over the course of the day, but it was likely the spinning class that had me sore by lunch.
Considering I just started cycling to work last week, this is quite the lengthy commute. While I have been going to the gym ~5x week throughout the winter, I always find new muscles when I hop back on my bike in the spring. I made sure to wear my padded cycling shorts.
I decided to make Sunday my rest day from the gym to give me a fresh start on Monday. While Rob went to a spinning class, I was in the kitchen making this high-protein alfredo sauce with white beans, soy milk and roasted cauliflower. I bookmarked the original recipe from Jess but finally made it after Johanna also had success. My changes were roasting the cauliflower, onion and garlic with some hazelnut oil and combining that with the beans and soy milk. The lemon juice, miso, nutritional yeast and smoked paprika added extra flavour that worked well with the simple additions of baby spinach and sun-dried tomatoes to the sauce. This is a nice, comforting creamy dish. Creamy in the non-oily, non-heavy, guiltless sense, though. Perfecto! I tossed this with kelp noodles, but feel free to use your favourite pasta.
Why do I call this high-protein? Assuming you use the entire batch of sauce for 4 people (it makes a ton of sauce!), each serving has: 245 calories, 33g carbs (11g fiber), 14g protein and 8g fat. Gotta love the 2:1 carb:protein ratio! Perfect following all this cycling.
Two years ago, I never would have thought I would be doing commutes like this. When I started biking to work, my (one-way) commute was 4 km. Because I was essentially sedentary, I thought that was far. When I switched to a downtown hospital, my commute was 7 km, at most. When I moved out East with Rob, my commute was 8 km. When I move out West, it will be 10-12 km depending on the hospital. Having the gradual increase in distance has made this become second nature, instead of daunting. It is definitely my preferred way of traversing the city – a fun way to exercise, a great way to de-stress, faster than transit, and better for the environment. Jen recently shared this fun pic about commuting with me, which definitely reinforces why I don’t drive a car to work.
With all this cycling, I imagine I will be ready for our cycle to Niagara Falls in no time, although I am trying to figure out a better way to combine my time at the gym and commuting to work so I am not on my bike 2 hours every day!
This is my submission to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Ruth, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, to this week’s Potluck Party with high-protein vegan meals, and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.
1/2 head cauliflower, roughly chopped (5 cups)
1 yellow onion, sliced (1.5 cups)
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1 tbsp hazelnut oil
1 cup cooked white beans (I used Marrow beans), rinsed and drained (reserve bean cooking liquid)
1/3 cup reserved bean broth or water
1.25 cups original nondairy milk (soy milk has higher protein)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp white miso
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper, lots!
8 cups baby spinach
12 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
16-32 oz kelp noodles, rinsed and drained (or cook up your favourite noodles)
1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, mix together the chopped cauliflower, onion and garlic. Toss with hazelnut oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in a single layer on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Roast at 400F for 45-60 minutes, until tender.
2. Once the cauliflower is cooked, transfer to a blender along with the cooked white beans, broth, almond milk, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, miso, smoked paprika and freshly ground black pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency by adding more milk or broth. Season to taste. Set aside until needed.
3. Meanwhile, cook your pasta and then drain. For kelp noodles, just rinse and drain. Set aside until needed.
4. In a large frypan, place 1/4 cup water. Bring up to medium-heat. Once boiling, add your spinach and stir until it is wilted, around 1-2 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir. If anything sticks, add more water. You are basically steaming the greens. Add your cauliflower sauce (you might not need the entire recipe) and heat mixture if it has cooled too much. Toss with pasta, season to taste and serve. Store extra sauce in the fridge.