the taste space

High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on April 3, 2012

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.

High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta
Adapted from Cupcakes and Kale via Green Gourmet Giraffe

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.

Serves 4.

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36 Responses

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  1. Flavors of the Sun said, on April 3, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    You must be incredibly fit. I admire that, but don’t envy those commutes! Finally–a healthy alfredo sauce recipe. Lovely.

  2. Erica said, on April 3, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Wow, this looks and sounds delicious!

  3. Jenny H said, on April 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I love using miso paste, never thought about making a creamy alfredo sauce! This sounds great, thanks for the recipe!

  4. Maggie Muggins said, on April 3, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    You cycle on your way to cycling? Wow, I’m impressed. I would love to own a bike, it would definitely increase my fitness level and decrease my use of public transportation. Something I need to look into.
    This is a beautiful spin on alfredo sauce, it sounds and looks divine!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 3, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      Biking was definitely my way to freedom, if that makes any sense… I did like zero exercise before and cycling is one of those spors that are easy to pick up. You just need a bike. :)

  5. Eileen said, on April 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Go you, biking to work! I used to have an 11-mile round trip bike commute, with occasional 25-mile round trips to another office. Everyone thought I was insane (hopefully in a good way) to take on the 25 miles–and I certainly went through far more food those weeks! High protein & exercise for the win!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 3, 2012 at 7:57 PM

      I hope I can keep it up! I was pretty tired today after cycling home from work.. I think it is the gym in addition to the cycling commute that is killing me! ;)

      • Eileen said, on April 4, 2012 at 8:18 PM

        You can do it! It does take a lot of energy to do both a bike commute and the gym, though. Maybe ease into it by doing one or two days per week of both commute & gym?

  6. Johanna GGG said, on April 3, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    you did all that cycling and still did a spin class! that’s crazy – but I just love my bike for getting about – have got back into riding to work a couple of days a week (which is as much as I can do with child care drop offs factored into my week) and I love it so much – so fewer idiots encountered on my bike than when driving the car! You must sleep very soundly at the end of the day. Glad you enjoyed this sauce – I found it amazing just how creamy it was

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 3, 2012 at 7:58 PM

      Hey Johanna, Thank you so much for the recipe and inspiration! I was pretty tired after cycling home so I hope I sleep like a baby tonight.. definitely a perk! And so helpful that I made this on the weekend so I don’t have to cook when I get home. ;)

  7. Natalie said, on April 3, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Wow, that is quite the commute! I’m quite sure my legs would have fallen off after only the first section (if I even made it that far). I don’t own a bike because riding on the roads scares me, but I’m always jealous of the people that do commute that way! This pasta sauce looks so good – I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a healthy alfredo sauce!

  8. Joanne said, on April 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Whoa that is a LOT of biking! If I were you, I’d be exhausted all the time! I’ve been craving a creamy pasta sauce but don’t want to give in…this is healthy and tasty enough to make it worth my while.

    PS – I totally ate at a restaurant this weekend and could tell within about five minutes just how much oil the dish of roasted veggies I ate had. BLOAT CENTRAL. It reminded me of you. :P

  9. jess said, on April 3, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    looks amazing janet, i LOVE the thought of tossing it with kelp noodles! what a great spin on it for the spring and summer too! i’ve got to remember to stock up on them myself when i’m down in t.o. this weekend…

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 4, 2012 at 7:45 AM

      Nice! If it were any other weekend (ie not Easter), I would have suggested getting together! Next time! Enjoy Toronto! :)

  10. Richa@HobbyandMore said, on April 5, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    i remembered jess’s alfredo when i read the post title.. loved jess’s version and this with the kelp is definitely perfect for anytime.

  11. Ruth said, on April 6, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    Wow! That’s some bike riding! I’m tired just thinking of it. But what a great reward… the pasta looks awesome. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  12. crispycook said, on April 6, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Awesome pasta dish. Love all the layering of flavors.

  13. [...] for all the encouragement about my long cycling commute. Last week was a short week, but I thought I’d update you on my commute. I am still working [...]

  14. [...] others with easy, healthy cooking and connect with other like-minded people. I also post about my cycling adventures because cycling was a big positive change in my life two years ago. I went from walking 30 minutes [...]

  15. [...] Choice, Savory: High Protein Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta from The Taste Space.  This recipe set a record, by being the FIRST savory recipe to score more [...]

  16. [...] the summer alternative to my High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta, I went totally raw with a light and fresh raw alfredo sauce with basil and sun-dried and cherry [...]

  17. librarianlaura said, on April 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Hopefully the commute will grow on you as you get used to it. I’ve biked to work nearly every day for 5 years, about 10 km each way, and my commute is often the highlight of my day. So much more pleasant than sitting in a car in traffic.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 18, 2012 at 5:21 PM

      Hey Laura, I completely agree! I get antsy in the winter when I can’t commute by bike. It is a great way to destress to/from work but sometimes I feel like it is best to ease into such a long commute. My Dad bikes a 20km one-way commute each day and I don’t know how he does it! (and he just turned 60!) I love that biking should be a life-long activity I can enjoy. :)

  18. Rainbow Prams said, on April 30, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Wow this defo looks great, my eldest hates anything green but the creamy sauce may just wing it!

  19. Chef Mireille said, on May 8, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    this looks so yummy!

  20. Mom. Me. Three. said, on May 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    This is totally going on my list of things to make. Looks so yummy!

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  23. [...] Parmesan. I am already imagining how I will use it for a risotto. It would have been lovely with my High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta, [...]

  24. [...] I’ve stopped cycling my crazy commute, my energy levels have improved, my mood is better and my eating is under control. Sounds like I [...]

  25. [...] time, I may try blending in white beans, like in my High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta or add in more [...]

  26. [...] High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta [...]

  27. [...] should listen to myself more often. I dug up another old post, when I first started my cycling commute in the spring last year. Talk about deja vu. I was [...]

  28. [...] focusing on our freezer fruits. Vegetables are commonly added to sauce to make them smooth (cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato and roasted tomatoes come to mind), and I have even added carrots to [...]

  29. […] Choice, Savory: High Protein Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta from The Taste Space.  This recipe set a record, by being the FIRST savory recipe to score more […]

  30. […] Adapted from Cupcakes and Kale via The Taste Space […]


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