Garlic & White Wine Pasta with Brussels Sprouts
The flavors are always so on point. I added extra parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, delicious!!! My husband does not like nutritional yeast. Fresh milk was overall less common than other dairy products because of the lack of technology to keep it from spoiling. Would be great with mushrooms too. Beef was not as common as today because raising cattle was labor-intensive, requiring pastures and feed, and oxen and cows were much more valuable as draught animals and for producing milk. Made this for dinner tonight after a full day of work.
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Can anyone recommend a good dry vegan white wine that I can keep stocked for cooking? I always come across recipes like this for sauces or risottos that call for white wine. Anyone have a go-to kind that works in most recipes? Do you have a favorite vegan cheese brand? Or could it be left out and substituted with more nutritional yeast? I make my own vegan parmesan cheese cashews, salt, garlic powder, nutritional yeast.
But I do think you could leave it and just sub more nutritional yeast. Just so impressed with this delicious recipe! Brussels for the win! Just made this for a quick dinner and it was amazing. Really great recipe for vegans and non-vegans alike! I just made this and I HAD to comment.
It was soooo freaking good and easy to make though I went a bit wild with the number of dishes I created.. I made mine with broccoli and topped it with red pepper flakes — and served with a side of wine ; will definitely make this again!!
This looks like such an amazing meal! So many people think that sprouts are just one for one or two days of the year and end up not making the most of this seasonal and healthy produce! Great recipe to include sprouts in a quick and easy meal! I like the concept, but the sauce was bland and flavorless. Also made for a lot of dishes, between roasting the sprouts, cooking the pasta and sauce, and blending the sauce. Not worth the effort in my humble opinion.
I also cook a lot with white wine and it always adds a great flavor. Salt improves the flavor too. I like the white wine addition in this sauce. I made this last night and it was soooooo yummy. I do not have dairy intolerance so I used whole milk and cheese in place of the non-dairy alternatives. I did not transfer the sauce to a blender, but instead used my immersion blender directly in the saucepan.
I was concerned because my sauce frothed up likely because of the milk , but after warming it back up on the stove, it incorporated just fine. I suspect mine was thicker because of the use of dairy, so I had to add more white wine fine by me! I absolutely loved the consistency of the sauce! The roasted sprouts pair perfectly with the flavorful white sauce, especially the crispy bits! Thank you for concocting hearty and satisfying meat-free recipes!
So, I made this tonight, but I had to make some adjustments, Dana. But the splattering of the wine to oil was a huge mess! My pan was probably too hot-my fault. I started over and subbed for flour after sautéing the garlic, then I added the wine. I also switched from olive oil to vegan butter.
Thank you for the delicious recipe!! Just made this and loved it. We made a couple changes — 12 oz pasta, real parmesan cheese, and we only had 12 oz brussel sprouts on hand.
But still, it came out amazing! Definitely going in my recipe binder. Added some simple sautéed chicken for my husband and nephew. RAVE reviews and totally clean plates from everyone! Will try adding some roasted mushrooms to the mix next time.
Made this last night and it was SO good! I think my only mistake was letting the sauce get a bit too thick, and maybe overcooking the pasta because it became a little sticky.
I used a food processor instead of a blender to blend the sauce which worked perfectly. Mine had more than enough flavor! Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. The only sub I made was cashew milk instead of almond- I think that made the sauce a bit goopier; but it was very tasty. My 6 year old liked it and even ate some brussels sprouts—score! Thanks for this recipe—Your site is making my health-related dairy and egg free existence tolerable!
This recipe turned out so well, and my non-vegan husband liked it very much, despite having no exposure to nutrition yeast, and he even helped prepare the sauce. All of his former skepticism disappeared when he tasted it!
So much healthier than the fettuccine Alfredo that he had eaten and felt rather sluggish after the week before. Thanks so much for all your recipes — your website is great! I just made this. It was really goood. There was just enough for our family and it was cheesy and yummy. However, because of not being vegan I did change it slightly so I will post what I did here in case someone else wants to do it as well.
I sauteed some garlic and then instead of wine I used chicken broth. Then I added half n half instead of milk because I had it on hand. Then I added colby jack cheese about a cup.
It came out very tasty. When all was done I mixed it up and ate it up. Of course my picky son did not eat the spouts part of it, but like I stated in the beginning-the pasta was devoured! Another Hit… I am no chef… But the minimalist baker is my first stop when I am looking to cook something new and delicious… I have never been let down by a recipe and this one is no exception. So I do not eat pasta often, but when I do this is an amazing recipe with lots of flavor.
I add sautéed mushroom and zucchini and sprinkle feta on top. Like next level good. I had this tonight with sweet potato noodles! Not necessarily bad, but unfortunately will not keep well. We both loved it! I look forward to making this again. Especially as I hope that the coordination of the roasting, sauce and pasta boiling will be easier next time I get flustered with multiple things due at the same time: I used fresh vegan pasta, which only needs to cook a few minutes, so I switch the pasta pan on when the sprouts go in the oven and work on the sauce in the meantime.
I have read over a few of your recipes- amazing! I love-love your approach to food! You have such a passion for what you do! Even the timing for the Brussels sprouts ensured that they were perfectly caramelized and golden brown. I used a full package of pasta 16oz , which ended up making around large servings total.
I made this with rice and OMG. I have shared the recipe with a few people so far. I made it twice this week. First time with rice, second time I made just the sauce but thickened it up and used it on pizza. I never comment on anything but I had to for this. I just made this sauce and it was so amazingly delicious!
Hands down the best vegan alfredo Ive ever had. I have been vegan for 6 months now and your site is a go to for quick delicious recipes! Thank you for all you do: It was creamy, full of flavor, and perfect for a frigid night. I added extra pepper and red pepper flakes. I love how decadent the sauce tasted after blending in my Vitamix. My husband asked to put this recipe in the winter rotation. And, my daughter wanted to tell you that your recipes are her favorites.
She has been vegan for almost a year and she always asks me to make something from your blog or cookbook. Speaking of cookbook, congratulations on winning best cookbook in the veggie awards from Veg News magazine! What a well deserved honor. I made this and it was so good!
I could not find the same pasta though. I made it with spirals. Wanted to add a photo. I just made this for lunch…its amazing!
I did not have almond milk so used canned coconut milk. I used an immersion blender for blending it eliminates the messy transfer to blender and it turned out so creamy and delicious. We made this tonight, it was amazing!! Added sautéed mushrooms and roasted red peppers.
Want to make this but am I able to sub all purpose flour instead of arrowroot etc? Thanks and keep up the great vegan work! Made this last night for myself and my husband. It turned out nicely: We had the perfect amount of wine leftover to use in the sauce, and it imparted a wonderful depth of flavor.
And the sprouts were perfection in this meal. We will definitely have this over and over again during the long winter months. We are vegans, and often crave a comforting, satisfying but versatile dish to add to our repertoire. I can imagine using different kinds of pasta, asparagus, etc to change up the flavor combinations.
Used pappardelle egg noodles…your vegan parm has been my money-saving go-to for almost 3 years…red pepper flakes were an excellent touch…the few glasses of the leftover sav blanc to have with it was the ultimate pairing…omnivore hubs had seconds…looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Red pepper flakes is I great idea. It looks so good. Ever since this arrived in my email not too long ago, I have been dreaming of making this dish. I added approx 9 instead of 12 tbsp of rice flour, and I found this made my sauce quite thick. I had to after ad approximately another cup of almond milk and spices to thin it out. Could have added even more but I got lazy.
I very rarely comment but must tell you how delicious this recipe turned out!! I used a good quality Pinot Grigio and we had the rest with dinner!! A non vegan friend who was visiting loved it and preferred it to the original finding that too rich tasting and caloric. She insisted on a copy the recipe and I sent her off with a baggie of nutritional yeast and your blog url!
Would be great with mushrooms too. Thanks for a great recipe!! I am sooo fortunate to have seen this recipe! I only like them roasted so to me this was great! As others have suggested, I can easily see this sauce with mushrooms, asparagus, or broccoli and even as a white pizza sauce perhaps then with additional roasted garlic.
Thank you for your great recipes and culinary inspiration! Made this tonight and loved it! My husband does not like nutritional yeast. That makes vegan cooking a challenge. I usually just omit it then add it to only my dish after it is cooked. So for this recipe I just omitted the nutritional yeast and vegan parm. For those saying the sauce is bland, like others have said, just added more salt and pepper. I topped my portion only with vegan parm. Also my father in law got 3 containers of vegan sour cream on sale, so I used less milk and added sour cream.
The flavor was amazing! Any suggestions on a vegetable to replace the Brussels sprouts with? Love your blog btw, we use your blog to make dinner at least times a week: D My husband is obsessed with your stir fries lol. Made this for dinner tonight after a full day of work. SUPER simple, quick, hearty, and delicious! I finished off my meal tonight with one of my final pumpkin spice mini vegan cheesecakes your recipe topped with warmed blueberries.
Yesterday I made two loaves of your whole wheat bread posted a vid on instagram lol , and a pot of the Peanut Butter Pad Thai from Everyday Cooking. Thank you so much for the recipes girl, you are a wonder! I made this tonight! Instead of vegan cheese, I used parmesan but still used almond milk.
I also used some kale in place of some of the brussels because I only had a handful or so left. It would be great with roasted tomatoes and basil, lemon and tempeh… the possibilities are endless! I love the way you combinate it with the brussels sprouts. Your vegan garlic mac n cheese is a favorite in our household but this one might surpass it.
I love that hint of white wine and the addition of Brussels sprouts just knocks this right out of the park. I left out the vegan parm and it was still delicious. I made this yesterday a couple hours before going to a Christmas potluck and it was a hit. The only thing I would recommend is making extra sauce to add when dish is re-heated, since it did get a little dry after cooling. I added extra parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, delicious!!!
Fantastic consistency and texture. Works really well with some rotelli pasta and a nice bit of lemon zest to finish it off. This is all I want to eat anymore. Follow your recipes to a T and they never fail me. Perhaps veggie broth instead? Hmm, did you use vanilla or sweetened almond milk? Try rice milk next time!
Veggie broth will make it too salty…. I am newly vegan and your site has helped me so much…especially around the holidays! I wanted to know if you think it would be okay to use frozen brussel sprouts in this recipe.
Or can we roast them frozen? I want to make this for Christmas Eve dinner in a few days but I have an eater at the table who is allergic to almonds. Does anybody think regular milk or cashew milk would be an okay substitute or would it not work in the recipe for any reason? My Daughter and I just made this for our Christmas dinner tonight. It was not only easy to make , but delicious!
My husband loved it and so did we! I was so glad we had some left over so we can have it for lunch tomorrow! Thanks for putting up and maintaining such a great website. We did sautéed shrimp with broccoli instead of Brussel sprouts and my 6 year old daughter had two helpings! You definitely nailed the alfredo sauce. So, so, so good! Have the other half of the packet of sprouts left, will be making it again!
This is a mixed of all of my likes, thank you for making it. I will try to serve it tonight with my friends. I made this pasta for a crowd a few days ago and it was a total hit! I subbed roasted broccoli for the Brussels sprouts and stirred in a bit of lactose-free mozzarella at the end to up the cheesiness. Comfort food at its finest! This was my first time cooking with arrowroot powder.
I normally use it as dry shampoo! It added a really strange texture to the sauce. Before blending, it was very clumpy as was mentioned in the recipe, but after blending, the sauce became gelatinous and slimy.
I discovered nutritional yeast in the meantime — yummy!! We just found out my husband has a allergy to yeast of all things and so my question is is there a way to make this without it? This sauce is delicious. My non vegan husband actually requested that I make it again the very next day. Your website is a gold mine. Easy and super satisfying. Tastes like rich, creamy, comfort food. I will definitely make this again. Too good for words. Your parmesan cheese is also the BOMB. Just wolfed this down for dinner — so delicious and super simple to make!
I subbed roasted broccoli and cauliflower and it was amazing. Perfect for a cold January night in New England! Thanks for being awesome, Dana! This alfredo has taken a spot in our regular rotation from here on. This was really good! My significant other omnivore ate it and no complaints! I am not sure if I made the wrong amount of pasta or just because I used a different kind, but I could have used a little more sauce especially for leftovers but others than that it was amazing and will make again!
Wow, this recipe is divine! My non-vegan mother went back for seconds. I dissolved the cornstarch into the milk and stirred constantly to prevent lumps [easier to prevent lumps than to take them out]. Adding this to my favorites. Looking forward to making it! I have tried many of your recipes and there are very few that I tweek. This is my favorite recipe of yours and one of my top favorite meals to make. I would make it every day if my spouse let me. I make almost exclusively vegan meals and this was not good.
Nothing to do with the the vegan aspect, more the putrid nutritional yeast overload. I made this dish tonight for my husband and I exactly as the recipe was written. Dana, your recipes are THE best. Keep up the awesome work. Are there any good substitutes for the wine? I think the idea of using it sounds wonderful — so does the recipe!
I just dont keep any around the house. Makes it much easier to work with what I have and adjust for personal preference. You are by far my favorite food blog and Ive been following you for years now!
Yum yum superior deliciousness! I doubled the garlic and subbed the almond milk with plain soy milk and it tasted amazing! Leftovers will be cherished for lunch tomorrow? Even my lb, iron-pumping, carnivore of a husband loved it! Is there any way to sub the vegan parmesan? But of course he does not have any nooch or vegan cheese here… Any ideas?
Recipe sounds amazing by the way! You could just try subbing the nutritional yeast only? Or if you are not vegan, you could just use parmesan cheese? I made this last night and it was absolutely lovely. However, the sauce turned out more bitter than anything else. Could it be because I subbed the olive oil for coconut and accidentally burned the garlic a bit? Or did I not simmer down the wine enough? It was wonderful and we devoured it anyway, but I am just curious if the bitterness is a part of it or if it was a mistake on my end.
Thank you for another wonderful recipe to add to our dinners! All of the reasons listed may have contributed to the reason your sauce turned out more bitter than it should be! Better luck next time though! I made this on the weekend, and again during the week. I have been searching for a ages for a go-to vegan white sauce. I tried this recipe using cornstarch the first time, and arrowroot starch the second time. Both worked out very well. Thank you, Dana for never letting me down with your recipes!
I love this receipe! And equally as much, I love your page. Everything is amazing, easy and beyond delicious. Thanks for the inspiration! I made this for the fam last night and it was a massive hit! I loved how simple it was and the fact that I had most of the ingredients on hand. Amazing, stick to your ribs, eat seconds and thirds comfort food!!
A recipe so easy that even after a long day I would rather make this than reach for my phone to order delivery. Thank you for saving my nught!! Last night I made eggplant roll-ups and tonight this Garlic Alfredo recipe! However, rarely have I ventured into recipes involving vegan cheeses.
These two recipes have proven how absolutely delicious a vegan lifestyle can be and my stomach feels much better compared to eating regular Alfredo. I feel so inspired and excited by your recipes. So far I like it best paired with asparagus and mushrooms! This is one of my favorite pasta recipes ever!
One note, I always add more wine than the recipe calls for, ha. I am a meat eater, but omgosh. This was SO good! Thank you for your amazing recipes. The flavors are always so on point. Flavourful is fantastic and I swirled a tablespoon of pesto through it for my 3 picky boys one who does not like anything cream-based at all including mayo but really liked this sauce!
I roasted green beans, drained cannellini beans and sliced mushrooms instead of Brussel sprouts and the textures were fab! We are not vegan, so I used dairy.
The result was still fantastic. Also, thanks for including nutrition information. We will definitely repeat! And I really enjoyed this one as well. I used plain soymilk instead of almond, and also Daiya vegan cheese and it was great. Plus I love Brussels sprouts! Very filling and delicious. This is super tasty! Extremely straightforward and very tasty. This recipe was so easy and delicious.
I never had brussels sprouts in pasta before, and it was a perfect addition. I was concerned it would not be enough sauce, but it was more than enough. Whipped up in less than thirty minutes, perfect for a busy mom like myself. I just made this and it was delicious! This meal was quick and easy had vegan parmesan already made.
But as for the recipe, amazing. Thank you honey for all the amazing recipes. You are helping me to transition to a meat and dairy-free life as well as getting me acquainted with GF cooking! Now I have hope that she will become a vegan also…. Thank you Minimalist Baker! I made this the other night for my non-vegan daughter and son-in-law. I showed her the recipe beforehand, and she was on the fence but they were both willing to try.
A good tip is to use the Barnivore app to see which white wine brands are vegan red wine is almost always vegan. All the flavours were there… OH SO delicious…but….. I am confident it was something I did wrong and not the recipe but not quite sure what — maybe too much yeast?
I am going to attempt making it again but this time — perfect it!!! Oh no — We are sorry to hear that! Did you change the recipe at all?
If the sauce was left too long and reduced, that definitely could have been the problem. Better luck next time! Now that I look back at the recipe — I did use cornflour instead of cornstarch — could the be the reason? And I probably left it too reduce too long. Also, what other veggies would best suit with this recipe?
As for other veggies, asparagus would be a good addition! I just sent it to all my friends and told them they need to make it ASAP. I have been looking for a nutritional yeast recipe to try and have to say that this one is amazing! The white wine and garlic flavor really come through and the texture of the sauce is fantastic. I did have to watch my sauce very closely when heating after blending, it went from very liquid to much thicker swiftly so take that into account while cooking.
This recipe is absolutely delicious! A great way to get a little B12 and super tasty! Shared drinking cups were common even at lavish banquets for all but those who sat at the high table , as was the standard etiquette of breaking bread and carving meat for one's fellow diners. Food was mostly served on plates or in stew pots, and diners would take their share from the dishes and place it on trenchers of stale bread, wood or pewter with the help of spoons or bare hands. In lower-class households it was common to eat food straight off the table.
Knives were used at the table, but most people were expected to bring their own, and only highly favored guests would be given a personal knife. A knife was usually shared with at least one other dinner guest, unless one was of very high rank or well-acquainted with the host.
Forks for eating were not in widespread usage in Europe until the early modern period , and early on were limited to Italy. Even there it was not until the 14th century that the fork became common among Italians of all social classes. The change in attitudes can be illustrated by the reactions to the table manners of the Byzantine princess Theodora Doukaina in the late 11th century. She was the wife of Domenico Selvo , the Doge of Venice , and caused considerable dismay among upstanding Venetians.
The foreign consort's insistence on having her food cut up by her eunuch servants and then eating the pieces with a golden fork shocked and upset the diners so much that there was a claim that Peter Damian , Cardinal Bishop of Ostia , later interpreted her refined foreign manners as pride and referred to her as " All types of cooking involved the direct use of fire.
Kitchen stoves did not appear until the 18th century, and cooks had to know how to cook directly over an open fire. Ovens were used, but they were expensive to construct and only existed in fairly large households and bakeries. It was common for a community to have shared ownership of an oven to ensure that the bread baking essential to everyone was made communal rather than private.
There were also portable ovens designed to be filled with food and then buried in hot coals, and even larger ones on wheels that were used to sell pies in the streets of medieval towns. But for most people, almost all cooking was done in simple stewpots, since this was the most efficient use of firewood and did not waste precious cooking juices, making potages and stews the most common dishes.
This was considered less of a problem in a time of back-breaking toil, famine, and a greater acceptance—even desirability—of plumpness; only the poor or sick, and devout ascetics , were thin. Fruit was readily combined with meat, fish and eggs.
The recipe for Tart de brymlent , a fish pie from the recipe collection Forme of Cury , includes a mix of figs , raisins , apples and pears with fish salmon , codling or haddock and pitted damson plums under the top crust. This meant that food had to be "tempered" according to its nature by an appropriate combination of preparation and mixing certain ingredients, condiments and spices; fish was seen as being cold and moist, and best cooked in a way that heated and dried it, such as frying or oven baking, and seasoned with hot and dry spices; beef was dry and hot and should therefore be boiled ; pork was hot and moist and should therefore always be roasted.
In a recipe for quince pie, cabbage is said to work equally well, and in another turnips could be replaced by pears. The completely edible shortcrust pie did not appear in recipes until the 15th century. Before that the pastry was primarily used as a cooking container in a technique known as ' huff paste '. Extant recipe collections show that gastronomy in the Late Middle Ages developed significantly. New techniques, like the shortcrust pie and the clarification of jelly with egg whites began to appear in recipes in the late 14th century and recipes began to include detailed instructions instead of being mere memory aids to an already skilled cook.
In most households, cooking was done on an open hearth in the middle of the main living area, to make efficient use of the heat.
This was the most common arrangement, even in wealthy households, for most of the Middle Ages, where the kitchen was combined with the dining hall. Towards the Late Middle Ages a separate kitchen area began to evolve.
The first step was to move the fireplaces towards the walls of the main hall, and later to build a separate building or wing that contained a dedicated kitchen area, often separated from the main building by a covered arcade.
This way, the smoke, odors and bustle of the kitchen could be kept out of sight of guests, and the fire risk lessened. Many basic variations of cooking utensils available today, such as frying pans , pots , kettles , and waffle irons , already existed, although they were often too expensive for poorer households. Other tools more specific to cooking over an open fire were spits of various sizes, and material for skewering anything from delicate quails to whole oxen.
Utensils were often held directly over the fire or placed into embers on tripods. To assist the cook there were also assorted knives, stirring spoons, ladles and graters. In wealthy households one of the most common tools was the mortar and sieve cloth, since many medieval recipes called for food to be finely chopped, mashed, strained and seasoned either before or after cooking.
This was based on a belief among physicians that the finer the consistency of food, the more effectively the body would absorb the nourishment. It also gave skilled cooks the opportunity to elaborately shape the results. Fine-textured food was also associated with wealth; for example, finely milled flour was expensive, while the bread of commoners was typically brown and coarse. A typical procedure was farcing from the Latin farcio , "to cram" , to skin and dress an animal, grind up the meat and mix it with spices and other ingredients and then return it into its own skin, or mold it into the shape of a completely different animal.
The kitchen staff of huge noble or royal courts occasionally numbered in the hundreds: While an average peasant household often made do with firewood collected from the surrounding woodlands, the major kitchens of households had to cope with the logistics of daily providing at least two meals for several hundred people. Guidelines on how to prepare for a two-day banquet can be found in the cookbook Du fait de cuisine "On cookery" written in in part to compete with the court of Burgundy  by Maistre Chiquart, master chef of Amadeus VIII, Duke of Savoy.
Food preservation methods were basically the same as had been used since antiquity, and did not change much until the invention of canning in the early 19th century.
The most common and simplest method was to expose foodstuffs to heat or wind to remove moisture , thereby prolonging the durability if not the flavor of almost any type of food from cereals to meats; the drying of food worked by drastically reducing the activity of various water-dependent microorganisms that cause decay. In warm climates this was mostly achieved by leaving food out in the sun, and in the cooler northern climates by exposure to strong winds especially common for the preparation of stockfish , or in warm ovens, cellars, attics, and at times even in living quarters.
Subjecting food to a number of chemical processes such as smoking , salting , brining , conserving or fermenting also made it keep longer. Most of these methods had the advantage of shorter preparation times and of introducing new flavors.
Smoking or salting meat of livestock butchered in autumn was a common household strategy to avoid having to feed more animals than necessary during the lean winter months. Vegetables, eggs or fish were also often pickled in tightly packed jars, containing brine and acidic liquids lemon juice , verjuice or vinegar. Another method was to seal the food by cooking it in sugar or honey or fat, in which it was then stored. Microbial modification was also encouraged, however, by a number of methods; grains, fruit and grapes were turned into alcoholic drinks thus killing any pathogens, and milk was fermented and curdled into a multitude of cheeses or buttermilk.
The majority of the European population before industrialization lived in rural communities or isolated farms and households. The norm was self-sufficiency with only a small percentage of production being exported or sold in markets. Large towns were exceptions and required their surrounding hinterlands to support them with food and fuel.
The dense urban population could support a wide variety of food establishments that catered to various social groups. Many of the poor city dwellers had to live in cramped conditions without access to a kitchen or even a hearth, and many did not own the equipment for basic cooking. Food from vendors was in such cases the only option. Cookshops could either sell ready-made hot food, an early form of fast food , or offer cooking services while the customers supplied some or all of the ingredients.
Travellers, such as pilgrims en route to a holy site, made use of professional cooks to avoid having to carry their provisions with them.
For the more affluent, there were many types of specialist that could supply various foods and condiments: Well-off citizens who had the means to cook at home could on special occasions hire professionals when their own kitchen or staff could not handle the burden of throwing a major banquet.
Urban cookshops that catered to workers or the destitute were regarded as unsavory and disreputable places by the well-to-do and professional cooks tended to have a bad reputation. Geoffrey Chaucer 's Hodge of Ware, the London cook from the Canterbury Tales , is described as a sleazy purveyor of unpalatable food.
French cardinal Jacques de Vitry 's sermons from the early 13th century describe sellers of cooked meat as an outright health hazard. The stereotypical cook in art and literature was male, hot-tempered, prone to drunkenness, and often depicted guarding his stewpot from being pilfered by both humans and animals.
In the early 15th century, the English monk John Lydgate articulated the beliefs of many of his contemporaries by proclaiming that "Hoot ffir [fire] and smoke makith many an angry cook. The period between c. More intense agriculture on an ever-increasing acreage resulted in a shift from animal products, like meat and dairy, to various grains and vegetables as the staple of the majority population.
A bread-based diet became gradually more common during the 15th century and replaced warm intermediate meals that were porridge- or gruel-based. Leavened bread was more common in wheat-growing regions in the south, while unleavened flatbread of barley, rye or oats remained more common in northern and highland regions, and unleavened flatbread was also common as provisions for troops.
The most common grains were rye , barley , buckwheat , millet and oats. Rice remained a fairly expensive import for most of the Middle Ages and was grown in northern Italy only towards the end of the period. Wheat was common all over Europe and was considered to be the most nutritious of all grains, but was more prestigious and thus more expensive.
The finely sifted white flour that modern Europeans are most familiar with was reserved for the bread of the upper classes. As one descended the social ladder, bread became coarser, darker, and its bran content increased. In times of grain shortages or outright famine, grains could be supplemented with cheaper and less desirable substitutes like chestnuts , dried legumes , acorns , ferns , and a wide variety of more or less nutritious vegetable matter.
One of the most common constituents of a medieval meal, either as part of a banquet or as a small snack, were sops , pieces of bread with which a liquid like wine , soup , broth , or sauce could be soaked up and eaten. Another common sight at the medieval dinner table was the frumenty , a thick wheat porridge often boiled in a meat broth and seasoned with spices. Porridges were also made of every type of grain and could be served as desserts or dishes for the sick, if boiled in milk or almond milk and sweetened with sugar.
Pies filled with meats, eggs, vegetables, or fruit were common throughout Europe, as were turnovers , fritters , doughnuts , and many similar pastries. By the Late Middle Ages biscuits cookies in the U. Grain, either as bread crumbs or flour, was also the most common thickener of soups and stews, alone or in combination with almond milk. The importance of bread as a daily staple meant that bakers played a crucial role in any medieval community.
Bread consumption was high in most of Western Europe by the 14th century. Estimates of bread consumption from different regions are fairly similar: Among the first town guilds to be organized were the bakers', and laws and regulations were passed to keep bread prices stable.
The English Assize of Bread and Ale of listed extensive tables where the size, weight, and price of a loaf of bread were regulated in relation to grain prices. The baker's profit margin stipulated in the tables was later increased through successful lobbying from the London Baker's Company by adding the cost of everything from firewood and salt to the baker's wife, house, and dog. Since bread was such a central part of the medieval diet, swindling by those who were trusted with supplying the precious commodity to the community was considered a serious offense.
Bakers who were caught tampering with weights or adulterating dough with less expensive ingredients could receive severe penalties. This gave rise to the " baker's dozen ": While grains were the primary constituent of most meals, vegetables such as cabbage , chard , onions , garlic and carrots were common foodstuffs.
Many of these were eaten daily by peasants and workers and were less prestigious than meat. The cookbooks, which appeared in the late Middle Ages and were intended mostly for those who could afford such luxuries, contained only a small number of recipes using vegetables as the main ingredient. The lack of recipes for many basic vegetable dishes, such as potages , has been interpreted not to mean that they were absent from the meals of the nobility, but rather that they were considered so basic that they did not require recording.
Various legumes , like chickpeas , fava beans and field peas were also common and important sources of protein , especially among the lower classes. With the exception of peas, legumes were often viewed with some suspicion by the dietitians advising the upper class, partly because of their tendency to cause flatulence but also because they were associated with the coarse food of peasants. The importance of vegetables to the common people is illustrated by accounts from 16th-century Germany stating that many peasants ate sauerkraut from three to four times a day.
Fruit was popular and could be served fresh, dried, or preserved, and was a common ingredient in many cooked dishes. The fruits of choice in the south were lemons , citrons , bitter oranges the sweet type was not introduced until several hundred years later , pomegranates , quinces , and, of course, grapes. Farther north, apples , pears , plums , and strawberries were more common. Figs and dates were eaten all over Europe, but remained rather expensive imports in the north.
Common and often basic ingredients in many modern European cuisines like potatoes , kidney beans , cacao , vanilla , tomatoes , chili peppers and maize were not available to Europeans until after , after European contact with the Americas, and even then it often took considerable time, sometimes several centuries, for the new foodstuffs to be accepted by society at large.
Milk was an important source of animal protein for those who could not afford meat. It would mostly come from cows, but milk from goats and sheep was also common. Plain fresh milk was not consumed by adults except the poor or sick, and was usually reserved for the very young or elderly. Poor adults would sometimes drink buttermilk or whey or milk that was soured or watered down.
On occasion it was used in upper-class kitchens in stews, but it was difficult to keep fresh in bulk and almond milk was generally used in its stead. Cheese was far more important as a foodstuff, especially for common people, and it has been suggested that it was, during many periods, the chief supplier of animal protein among the lower classes.
There were also whey cheeses , like ricotta , made from by-products of the production of harder cheeses. Cheese was used in cooking for pies and soups, the latter being common fare in German-speaking areas. Butter , another important dairy product, was in popular use in the regions of Northern Europe that specialized in cattle production in the latter half of the Middle Ages, the Low Countries and Southern Scandinavia.
While most other regions used oil or lard as cooking fats, butter was the dominant cooking medium in these areas. Its production also allowed for a lucrative butter export from the 12th century onward. While all forms of wild game were popular among those who could obtain it, most meat came from domestic animals. Domestic working animals that were no longer able to work were slaughtered but not particularly appetizing and therefore were less valued as meat. Beef was not as common as today because raising cattle was labor-intensive, requiring pastures and feed, and oxen and cows were much more valuable as draught animals and for producing milk.
Mutton and lamb were fairly common, especially in areas with a sizeable wool industry, as was veal. Domestic pigs often ran freely even in towns and could be fed on just about any organic waste, and suckling pig was a sought-after delicacy. Just about every part of the pig was eaten, including ears, snout, tail, tongue , and womb.
Intestines, bladder and stomach could be used as casings for sausage or even illusion food such as giant eggs. Among the meats that today are rare or even considered inappropriate for human consumption are the hedgehog and porcupine , occasionally mentioned in late medieval recipe collections.
In England, they were deliberately introduced by the 13th century and their colonies were carefully protected. They were of particular value for monasteries, because newborn rabbits were allegedly declared fish or, at least, not-meat by the church and therefore they could be eaten during Lent.
A wide range of birds were eaten, including swans , peafowl , quail , partridge , storks , cranes , larks , linnets and other songbirds that could be trapped in nets, and just about any other wild bird that could be hunted. Swans and peafowl were domesticated to some extent, but were only eaten by the social elite, and more praised for their fine appearance as stunning entertainment dishes, entremets , than for their meat.
As today, geese and ducks had been domesticated but were not as popular as the chicken , the fowl equivalent of the pig. But at the Fourth Council of the Lateran , Pope Innocent III explicitly prohibited the eating of barnacle geese during Lent, arguing that they lived and fed like ducks and so were of the same nature as other birds. Meats were more expensive than plant foods. Though rich in protein , the calorie -to-weight ratio of meat was less than that of plant food.
Meat could be up to four times as expensive as bread. Fish was up to 16 times as costly, and was expensive even for coastal populations. This meant that fasts could mean an especially meager diet for those who could not afford alternatives to meat and animal products like milk and eggs. It was only after the Black Death had eradicated up to half of the European population that meat became more common even for poorer people.
The drastic reduction in many populated areas resulted in a labor shortage, meaning that wages dramatically increased. It also left vast areas of farmland untended, making them available for pasture and putting more meat on the market. Although less prestigious than other animal meats, and often seen as merely an alternative to meat on fast days, seafood was the mainstay of many coastal populations.
Also included were the beaver , due to its scaly tail and considerable time spent in water, and barnacle geese , due to the belief that they developed underwater in the form of barnacles. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II examined barnacles and noted no evidence of any bird-like embryo in them, and the secretary of Leo of Rozmital wrote a very skeptical account of his reaction to being served barnacle goose at a fish-day dinner in Especially important was the fishing and trade in herring and cod in the Atlantic and the Baltic Sea.
The herring was of unprecedented significance to the economy of much of Northern Europe, and it was one of the most common commodities traded by the Hanseatic League , a powerful north German alliance of trading guilds. Kippers made from herring caught in the North Sea could be found in markets as far away as Constantinople.
Stockfish , cod that was split down the middle, fixed to a pole and dried, was very common, though preparation could be time-consuming, and meant beating the dried fish with a mallet before soaking it in water. A wide range of mollusks including oysters , mussels and scallops were eaten by coastal and river-dwelling populations, and freshwater crayfish were seen as a desirable alternative to meat during fish days. Compared to meat, fish was much more expensive for inland populations, especially in Central Europe, and therefore not an option for most.
Freshwater fish such as pike , carp , bream , perch , lamprey and trout were common. While in modern times, water is often drunk with a meal, in the Middle Ages, however, concerns over purity, medical recommendations and its low prestige value made it less favored, and alcoholic beverages were preferred. They were seen as more nutritious and beneficial to digestion than water, with the invaluable bonus of being less prone to putrefaction due to the alcohol content.
Wine was consumed on a daily basis in most of France and all over the Western Mediterranean wherever grapes were cultivated. Further north it remained the preferred drink of the bourgeoisie and the nobility who could afford it, and far less common among peasants and workers.
The drink of commoners in the northern parts of the continent was primarily beer or ale. Juices , as well as wines, of a multitude of fruits and berries had been known at least since Roman antiquity and were still consumed in the Middle Ages: Medieval drinks that have survived to this day include prunellé from wild plums modern-day slivovitz , mulberry gin and blackberry wine.
Many variants of mead have been found in medieval recipes, with or without alcoholic content. However, the honey -based drink became less common as a table beverage towards the end of the period and was eventually relegated to medicinal use.
This is partially true since mead bore great symbolic value at important occasions. When agreeing on treaties and other important affairs of state, mead was often presented as a ceremonial gift. It was also common at weddings and baptismal parties, though in limited quantity due to its high price. In medieval Poland , mead had a status equivalent to that of imported luxuries, such as spices and wines.
Plain milk was not consumed by adults except the poor or sick, being reserved for the very young or elderly, and then usually as buttermilk or whey. Fresh milk was overall less common than other dairy products because of the lack of technology to keep it from spoiling. However, neither of these non-alcoholic social drinks were consumed in Europe before the late 16th and early 17th century.
Wine was commonly drunk and was also regarded as the most prestigious and healthy choice. According to Galen 's dietetics it was considered hot and dry but these qualities were moderated when wine was watered down.
Unlike water or beer, which were considered cold and moist, consumption of wine in moderation especially red wine was, among other things, believed to aid digestion, generate good blood and brighten the mood. The first pressing was made into the finest and most expensive wines which were reserved for the upper classes.
The second and third pressings were subsequently of lower quality and alcohol content. Common folk usually had to settle for a cheap white or rosé from a second or even third pressing, meaning that it could be consumed in quite generous amounts without leading to heavy intoxication. For the poorest or the most pious , watered-down vinegar similar to Ancient Roman posca would often be the only available choice.
The aging of high quality red wine required specialized knowledge as well as expensive storage and equipment, and resulted in an even more expensive end product.
Judging from the advice given in many medieval documents on how to salvage wine that bore signs of going bad, preservation must have been a widespread problem. Even if vinegar was a common ingredient, there was only so much of it that could be used.
In the 14th century cookbook Le Viandier there are several methods for salvaging spoiling wine; making sure that the wine barrels are always topped up or adding a mixture of dried and boiled white grape seeds with the ash of dried and burnt lees of white wine were both effective bactericides , even if the chemical processes were not understood at the time.
Wine was believed to act as a kind of vaporizer and conduit of other foodstuffs to every part of the body, and the addition of fragrant and exotic spices would make it even more wholesome. Spiced wines were usually made by mixing an ordinary red wine with an assortment of spices such as ginger , cardamom , pepper , grains of paradise , nutmeg , cloves and sugar.
These would be contained in small bags which were either steeped in wine or had liquid poured over them to produce hypocras and claré. By the 14th century, bagged spice mixes could be bought ready-made from spice merchants.
While wine was the most common table beverage in much of Europe, this was not the case in the northern regions where grapes were not cultivated. Those who could afford it drank imported wine, but even for nobility in these areas it was common to drink beer or ale , particularly towards the end of the Middle Ages. In England , the Low Countries , northern Germany , Poland and Scandinavia , beer was consumed on a daily basis by people of all social classes and age groups.
For most medieval Europeans, it was a humble brew compared with common southern drinks and cooking ingredients, such as wine, lemons and olive oil.
Even comparatively exotic products like camel 's milk and gazelle meat generally received more positive attention in medical texts. Beer was just an acceptable alternative and was assigned various negative qualities.
In , the Sienese physician Aldobrandino described beer in the following way:. But from whichever it is made, whether from oats, barley or wheat, it harms the head and the stomach, it causes bad breath and ruins the teeth , it fills the stomach with bad fumes, and as a result anyone who drinks it along with wine becomes drunk quickly; but it does have the property of facilitating urination and makes one's flesh white and smooth. The intoxicating effect of beer was believed to last longer than that of wine, but it was also admitted that it did not create the "false thirst" associated with wine.
Though less prominent than in the north, beer was consumed in northern France and the Italian mainland. Perhaps as a consequence of the Norman conquest and the travelling of nobles between France and England, one French variant described in the 14th century cookbook Le Menagier de Paris was called godale most likely a direct borrowing from the English "good ale" and was made from barley and spelt , but without hops.
In England there were also the variants poset ale , made from hot milk and cold ale, and brakot or braggot , a spiced ale prepared much like hypocras. That hops could be used for flavoring beer had been known at least since Carolingian times, but was adopted gradually due to difficulties in establishing the appropriate proportions. Before the widespread use of hops, gruit , a mix of various herbs , had been used.
Gruit had the same preserving properties as hops, though less reliable depending on what herbs were in it, and the end result was much more variable. Another flavoring method was to increase the alcohol content, but this was more expensive and lent the beer the undesired characteristic of being a quick and heavy intoxicant.
Hops may have been widely used in England in the tenth century; they were grown in Austria by and in Finland by , and possibly much earlier. Before hops became popular as an ingredient, it was difficult to preserve this beverage for any time, and so, it was mostly consumed fresh. Quantities of beer consumed by medieval residents of Europe, as recorded in contemporary literature, far exceed intakes in the modern world.
For example, sailors in 16th century England and Denmark received a ration of 1 imperial gallon 4. Polish peasants consumed up to 3 litres 0. In the Early Middle Ages beer was primarily brewed in monasteries , and on a smaller scale in individual households. By the High Middle Ages breweries in the fledgling medieval towns of northern Germany began to take over production. Though most of the breweries were small family businesses that employed at most eight to ten people, regular production allowed for investment in better equipment and increased experimentation with new recipes and brewing techniques.
These operations later spread to the Netherlands in the 14th century, then to Flanders and Brabant , and reached England by the 15th century. Hopped beer became very popular in the last decades of the Late Middle Ages. When perfected as an ingredient, hops could make beer keep for six months or more, and facilitated extensive exports. In turn, ale or beer was classified into "strong" and "small", the latter less intoxicating, regarded as a drink of temperate people, and suitable for consumption by children.
As late as , John Locke stated that the only drink he considered suitable for children of all ages was small beer, while criticizing the apparently common practice among Englishmen of the time to give their children wine and strong alcohol. By modern standards, the brewing process was relatively inefficient, but capable of producing quite strong alcohol when that was desired.
One recent attempt to recreate medieval English "strong ale" using recipes and techniques of the era albeit with the use of modern yeast strains yielded a strongly alcoholic brew with original gravity of 1. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew of the technique of distillation , but it was not practiced on a major scale in Europe until some time around the 12th century, when Arabic innovations in the field combined with water-cooled glass alembics were introduced.
Distillation was believed by medieval scholars to produce the essence of the liquid being purified, and the term aqua vitae "water of life" was used as a generic term for all kinds of distillates. Alcoholic distillates were also occasionally used to create dazzling, fire-breathing entremets a type of entertainment dish after a course by soaking a piece of cotton in spirits.
It would then be placed in the mouth of the stuffed, cooked and occasionally redressed animals, and lit just before presenting the creation. Aqua vitae in its alcoholic forms was highly praised by medieval physicians. In Arnaldus of Villanova wrote that "[i]t prolongs good health, dissipates superfluous humours, reanimates the heart and maintains youth. By the 13th century, Hausbrand literally "home-burnt" from gebrannter wein, brandwein ; "burnt [distilled] wine" was commonplace, marking the origin of brandy.
Towards the end of the Late Middle Ages, the consumption of spirits became so ingrained even among the general population that restrictions on sales and production began to appear in the late 15th century. In the city of Nuremberg issued restrictions on the selling of aquavit on Sundays and official holidays.