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Friday, January 22, 2010

Lactose Intolerance and Fettuccini Alfredo


Lactose intolerance has been a major part of my life for the past few years. I went from having symptoms that seemed like minor annoyances to having horrifyingly painful symptoms that no amount of treatments seemed to be able to stop. My body was clearly trying to tell me something, and I was ignoring it by continuing to take enzymes and other things to work my way around the problem.

Cutting all dairy out of my diet was a difficult decision and one that I knew would change my eating habits forever. It was also one of the major reasons why I started cooking more frequently. If I want to eat something I like, I have to make it myself. Sure, I miss eating things like milk chocolate, penne vodka, lasagna; the list could go on forever. This is where substitutions come in. I’ve become pretty sufficient at adapting recipes to become non-dairy, as have many other lactose intolerant, vegan, or dairy-allergic people… the internet is full of these resources.

Plenty of things that I cook have nothing to do with dairy ingredients in the first place, but sometimes I just get that craving. I originally got the idea for this pasta sauce from this eggplant casserole from the now seemingly defunct digs magazine. Back in my dairy eating days, I remember thinking that the sauce from this recipe would make a great alfredo sauce for other pasta dishes.

Dairy-Free Fettuccini Alfredo with Peas and Bacon 

12 oz Fettuccini (I used spinach fettuccini in this instance)
1 package frozen peas, thawed/cooked
several strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups of plain soy milk
2-3 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 bay leaf
a pinch of nutmeg
3 tbsp earth balance buttery spread or other non-dairy margarine
2 tbsp flour
¼ to ½ cup non-dairy shredded or grated parmesan cheese – I use veggie shreds, but this contains casein which is not a vegan ingredient, so substitute accordingly
salt and pepper to taste


  • Bring salted water to a boil and cook fettuccini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan with a heavy bottom, combine soymilk and garlic with the herbs and spices on low heat.
  • Melt margarine, covered, in the microwave. Whisk the flour into the butter mixture with a fork and cook, covered, an additional 30 seconds in the microwave.
  • Whisk the butter mixture into the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10-15 minutes. Do not leave your sauce unattended, as this mixture tends to boil over easily.
  • Add “cheese” into sauce a little at a time, stirring after each addition until it has melted.
  • Place individual servings of fettuccini on plates. Ladle sauce over fettuccini, and top with peas and crumbled bacon.
Serves 4

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