Julie Anne Rhodes
I have the happiest cleaning lady on the planet. Not wanting to violate my detox, I asked her to do the taste testing for me when I cooked for a client yesterday. I made it through without a slip. Why torture myself cooking delicious food I can’t have (apart from the obvious – I have a mortgage to pay)? After just one week the benefits of the combination vegan, anti-inflammatory and hypo-allergenic cleanse have been massive.

Rocking the stilettos

As many of you already know, I broke my ankle a few months ago. I’ve tried not to whinge, but it has been a tedious recovery with substantial loss of flexibility in my left ankle. The few times that I’ve cooked professionally since, have rendered me useless for the next couple days with swelling and pain – until yesterday. After just one week of detoxing the pain has decreased by at least 50%, and the flexibility is returning. My physio agrees that the eliminations from my diet have helped immensely. I’ll be cooking up a storm, and rocking those stilettos again in no time!

Day two of the cleanse, feeling downright giddy

Plus I have energy I haven’t had in years, my skin is positively luminous, I no longer want to nibble between meals; and contrary to my friends concern that it would reduce me to a growling female dog, my mood has been consistently elevated. I’ve even lost a few pounds. Hmmmm, a piece of cake, or feeling the best I’ve felt in twenty years? I’ll take the cleanse please! My own little lab experiment (or kitchen in this instance) has taught me to never underestimate the influence of food on my health again – we truly “are what we eat.”

As promised, here is a recipe that’s kept that smile on my face, and my belly full. It’s the faux “Alfredo” sauce I’ve been tweeting about. Since it was dreamt up on the fly for the cleanse, I have not had time to test it repeatedly, so your feedback is much appreciated – just click on “comments” after the recipe.

Faux “Alfredo” Sauce with Mushrooms & Cannellini Beans

Okay, so it is not the real thing, but it is creamy, tasty, vegan, cleanse legal and hits the spot for me at least! It does require forethought, and there will be a few pans to clean, but the good news is you can make a big batch and live off it for a few days. Just heat to eat when you need it.

Servings: 4

  • 1 cup cashew cream (see notes below)
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms (I used a combination of different mushrooms)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, cooked, divided
  • 1 tablespoon yeast flakes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

1). Slice the spaghetti Squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon, and place cut side up in the microwave. Cook on high for eight minutes. Remove and repeat with the other half. Allow squash to cool. Using a fork, scrape the “spaghetti” strands free from the shell into a large bowl.

2). Heat oil in a large saute pan for one minute over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until softened, about five minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute before adding the mushrooms, rosemary, and thyme. Season to taste, and cook another five minutes or until mushrooms have browned, then turn heat down to low.

3). Meanwhile, add 1/2 cup of the cannellini beans, cup of cashew cream, and yeast flakes to a blender. Puree until smooth and creamy, adjusting consistency with vegetable broth if needed (the beans can soak up a lot of liquid, thickening the sauce).

4). Add cream mixture to the mushrooms, scraping up any gooey bits of flavor in the pan. Add the reserved cannellini beans, stirring gently until heated through. Stir in more vegetable broth if sauce thickens too much, seasoning to taste.

5). Pour sauce over the spaghetti Squash, toss and serve.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with any steamed green vegetable of your choice, or at the risk of sounding like a broken record, my balsamic marinated vegetables for extra zing. If you are not doing a gluten free or low carb diet, then serve over real spaghetti or Fettuccine.

Variation: Add an extra boost of flavor and nutrients by pureeing steamed broccoli into the sauce.

Notes: I make a lot of cashew cream at once, and freeze what I don’t need right away in one cup containers, so I have it when I need it for other recipes. To make cashew cream just soak four cups of raw cashews, covered with water overnight. Drain, rinse, and add to a Vitamix or regular blender with enough water to cover by a half to one inch (depending on how thick you want your cream), then blend until smooth and creamy.

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