Keys. Door Opened. Shoes off. Finally. Home Sweet Home.
I watched as Zoe plopped on the couch – completely wiped out from hours of studying. My body ached; my legs cramped from sitting way too long and we were starving.
Growing up back at home, the kitchen and fridge would never be empty. Boxes of crackers, ice-cream, fruits of all kinds were always there. Somehow, the dinner table would be magically set with a delicious spread of steamed fish, rice, sautéed Bok Choy, pork ribs and chestnuts. I never wondered how it got there. I just ate till my heart’s content. But now being in college, I came to realize that food doesn’t just magically appear on the table whenever you want to eat.
I remember the first time we had to cook by ourselves in college, Zoe and I made fried rice with spam, egg and spring onions. It wasn’t difficult to put together, but somehow our first kitchen experiment was somehow more eventful and chaotic than expected.
“Zoe, where is the chopping knife again?”
The echoes of clanks, clatters could be heard throughout the small, enclosed kitchen as I searched desperately for a knife. I found a butter knife – I guess that will have to do. I remember watching my grandmother chop chicken with a large butcher knife like all traditional Chinese grandparents would do. I could just see her laughing as she watched me struggle to cut uniform squares of spam using the small, blunt knife. Another loud “Crash” rang out behind me. Startled, I turned to see a big pile of pots on the floor.
“Sorry, I was trying to find a small pan.” Zoe looking at me sheepishly. Somehow, our situation of cluttered pans, cutlery scattered everywhere reminded me of a scene from Disney’s Ratatouille movie.
Needless to say, it was an “eventful” hour consisting of MANY minor accidents and many “I’m so sorry’s”. My phone rang, I saw the caller ID – it was dad. Somehow my parents seem to know exactly when I’d in trouble. Before he could say anything, Zoe and I bombarded him with a list of questions: “So when do I put the spam? How much oil do I put? Should I use soy sauce instead of salt, if so how many tablespoons do I need? What about the eggs when do we add it in? Will the veggies cook in time?”
“Woah, Woah hang in there!” My dad chuckled. Amused by our frustration and panic, he patiently guided Zoe and I through the steps, “First of all heat the pan and cook your spam. Spam has a lot of grease in it so don’t add oil……” I felt a little relieved. Although, it took almost a whole hour just to make 1 simple pot of fried rice but it was well worth it. My first bite of the fried rice made me tear up a little. It was first time I had Asian food in a while and it tasted like home. I felt so homesick. I don’t think I’ve ever cried over food before, but its pretty amazing to realize the integral role that food and meals play in our memories of home and family.
Zoe’s tap on my shoulder broke off my train of thought.
She smiled at me and asked, “Do you want have Salmon Alfredo tonight?”. Wow, that sounded really good.
By the time we were finished, the kitchen smelt like heaven. I just knew this was going to so good-definitely several notches up from our burnt fried rice that we had made 2 years ago. It took only 20 minutes before we found ourselves snuggled on the couch with our laptops and our warm bowls of Salmon Alfredo Pasta. My favorite part was picking up my fork and twirling my spaghetti noodles in the creamy, thick sauce. I opened my mouth wide attempting to take the largest bite possible mm…creamy, gooey, delicious. The best part was the flaky, juicy salmon seasoned with black pepper.
I looked around at the kitchen. It was pretty incredible to see the contrast of the state of the kitchen from our first college meal to how it looked tonight. We had not broken anything in the 30 minutes we had spent cooking; we hadn’t dropped anything; we hadn’t spilled anything…that felt like an accomplishment worth celebrating.
I took another bite of my pasta. Yes, this definitely hit the spot. It definitely felt like home.
Alfredo Sauce is one of those comfort foods that we all love, unfortunately it is usually packed full of butter, cream and cheese. Why can’t comfort food be guilt-less too? Well this Skinny Salmon Alfredo Pasta is perfect for you! Using the traditional method of making a roux we decided to mix almond milk and cornstarch together with herbs, spices and miso (or nutritional use or vegan cheese) for that cheesy flavor. Allowing the spaghetti to cook and thicken in the sauce creates a light, creamy sauce that is packed full of umami flavor. A bowl of creamy pasta with salmon on a cold evening is a perfect fix for your grumbling stomach. We both LOVED this simple yet delicious meal. No doubt we will be making this often – maybe too often.
Ingredients – serves 2
- 1/3 box GF spaghetti (we use brown rice)
- 2 (4 oz ) salmon fillet
- 1/8 white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Garnish: Freshly Ground Black Pepper, Fresh Parsley
- 1 cup So Delicious Almond Milk/Coconut Milk*
- 1 tbsp cornstarch/tapioca starch
- 1.5 tbsp miso
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (this will make it awesome!)
How to Make:
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Lay your salmon fillet (s) on a lined baking tray. Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Bake for about 5 minutes (depending on how thick your fillet is ours was about 1/3″ thick). You want it slightly undercooked because you will be tossing this in the pasta sauce. Using a fork flake your salmon into 1″ bite-sized chunks.
- Boil a pot of water for your pasta. Season with salt and oil (to stop your pasta from sticking).
- Add your pasta. Slightly undercook your pasta (take off 1-2 minutes from the specified cooking time). Make sure you save at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Mix all the ingredients for the Alfredo sauce in a bowl with a fork.
- Heat up a non-stick skillet. Turn to medium heat and add your onion. Sauté till softened.
- Add your garlic, Alfredo sauce into the pan. Allow the sauce to come to a boil.
- Immediately add your cooked pasta noodles, salmon chunks.
- Once the sauce has thickened and every strand of pasta is coated with the white sauce taste and season with salt and pepper. If has become too dry or thick add your reserved pasta water to thin it out.
- Sprinkle fresh parsley on top (and vegan cheese).
*For a creamier Alfredo sauce: use a thicker/creamier choice of milk like cashew milk
Miso Paste Substitute: 1 tbsp nutritional yeast OR 2-4 tbsp vegan parmesan cheese
Old Bay Seasoning Substitute: this adds a really nice seafood flavor to the pasta, but if you don’t have this you can always use 1 tsp any dried herb of choice (basil, oregano, mixed herbs, thyme). Old Bay Seasoning has salt in it so definitely make sure to taste and season your pasta before serving.
Parsley Substitute: if you don’t have fresh parsley, fresh basil or dill would be amazing too.
Spaghetti Substitute: Use whatever kind of pasta you like. We personally would prefer a thicker pasta like fettuccine which is more traditional! But we didn’t have any on hand.