Super Easy Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce
This vegan cashew alfredo sauce is creamy and oh-so delicious. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make — it comes together in just 5 minutes! Nutritious and healthy, this is a great go-to pasta sauce.
This dietitian is a sauce girl, BIG TIME. Eat More Plants Cookbook is filled with yummy sauces. In fact, if you were to ask me to choose between a tomato-based sauce and a creamy sauce, I would vote for a creamy sauce every single time. So, figuring out how to recreate creamy or cheesy textures in my plant-based recipes is one of my favourite things to do. Which makes this easy, vegan 5-min cashew alfredo sauce the answer to my pasta dreams! It’s vegan and dairy free, contains no oil and is made with whole foods.
This sauce is one of my favourite plant-based dinner recipes because it’s so quick that you can have a crave-able meal in WAY less time than it takes to order takeout. It’s only got 4 pantry ingredients so I can whip it up without a trip to the store. And, if you serve it with a whole wheat or chickpea-based pasta (I love BANZA), it’s a super filling meal packed with plant-based protein and high in fibre to keep you full.
How to make vegan alfredo sauce, step by step
I love that it is actually EASIER to make a vegan alfredo sauce than a traditional version. All you need is 4 ingredients (plus water) and 5 minutes to make the best alfredo sauce of your life!!!
Step One: Gather your ingredients
- Raw cashews: create a creamy base, packed with plant-based nutrition
- Fresh garlic (raw, or roasted if you have it on hand): adds zip + umami
- Nutritional yeast: the original umami bomb, loaded with B vitamins
- Salt: my forever love
Step Two: Throw all of your ingredients into a high speed blender, with water
- If you don’t have a high speed blender, you’ll want to soak your cashews before you blend for a creamier sauce. Soak for four hours, or up to overnight (in the fridge). Need a quick fix? Pour boiling water over the cashews and they’ll hydrate in 30 minutes no problem!
Step Three: Blend for one minute, until silky smooth!
- Yep, that’s it! Taste, adjust salt and pepper to your liking and then toss that dreamy vegan alfredo sauce with your favourite pasta.
The secret to a creamy vegan alfredo?
Cashews are probably the #1 reason why I find it easy to go dairy free. Cashews are a nutritious, whole food option for creating creams and cheese alternatives. Most recipes will ask you to soak your cashews for at least four hours but in all honesty, if you have a high-speed blender, you really don’t need to. Just keep blending until it looks silky smooth… maybe a minute or two.
If you don’t have a high-speed blender, I definitely recommend either a soak in the fridge overnight, or cover them with boiling hot water and soak for at least 30 minutes while you prep your meal.
How to make a low FODMAP alfredo
Cashews are high in FODMAPS, so if you’re on a low FODMAP elimination diet for irritable bowel syndrome, this recipe won’t work for you right now. BUT, I have a couple of options for you.
The first, is to pick up a copy of my new gut health cookbook, Good for your Gut, dropping May 3, which contains a ton of low FODMAP vegan recipes, including a creamy, dreamy cacio e pepe sauce that should make alfredo fans verrrrry happy.
But until that book comes out, here’s the dupe: make a traditional cream sauce with non-traditional ingredients!
- warm 2 tbsp garlic-infused low FODMAP oil (like FODY foods) in a nonstick skillet over medium heat
- whisk in 2 tbsp of gluten free flour and let it cook for a minute to cook off the rawness
- Then SLOWLY whisk 2 cups of gluten free oat milk, whisking the whole time until it reaches desired thickness
- season well with salt and pepper and a bit of nutritional yeast and toss with your favourite gluten free pasta
It’s not exactly the same but it’s a good dupe in a pinch!
Vegan alfredo sauce tips + storage + substitutions
- Allergic to cashews? You can make this sauce with sunflower seeds! You’ll want to soak them for at least 4 hours or overnight because they will not blend up creamy without it. You make also like to add a bit of extra garlic or nutritional yeast to lift the slightly earthier taste of sunflower seeds.
- Out of garlic? You can absolutely use garlic powder. Start with a 1/2 teaspoon, mix, taste and add more if desired.
- This sauce keeps really well in the fridge for 2-3 days so it’s great for weekend meal prep.
What to make with cashew alfredo sauce!
In addition to this lovely little mushroom pasta number, here are a few other ways to enjoy your cashew alfredo sauce:
- With macaroni and peas…so good for the kiddos!
- Drizzled over chili fries
- As the base for a white queso-style dip, try stirring in a bit of fire-roasted tomato and green chiles!
- Stir into cooked rice to create a creamy risotto-like rice side dish
- Use as the base for a creamy soup, by blending in roasted veggies and thinning with vegetable stock!
- As a white sauce base for pizza
More yummy vegan sauces and salad dressings to try
- Easy Creamy Balsamic Dressing (Vegan)
- Healthy Vegan Caesar Dressing Recipe
- Vegan Cilantro and Parsley Pesto Recipe
Super Easy Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce with Roasted Mushroom Pasta
Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce
- 1 ¼ cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 4 cloves roasted garlic, or 1/2 – 1 clove raw garlic, crushed
Roasted Mushroom Pasta
- 12 ounce package of your favourite pasta, I like chickpea-based Banza or Rummo whole wheat
- 1 pound mixed mushrooms (crimini, oyster, shiitake), cleaned, trimmed and halved if necessary
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic, skin on, optional, if no roasted garlic on hand
- ½ cup curly parsley, minced, optional
- High Speed Blender
Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce
- If making just the alfredo sauce, place the cashews, water, salt, nutritional yeast and garlic in a high-speed blender and blend until silky smooth, 1-2 minutes. If you have a soup setting on your blender, you can heat and blend at the same time!
- Use immediately, or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days. Reheat over medium-low on stove.
Cashew Alfredo Sauce with Roasted Mushroom Pasta
- Preheat oven to 450° Fahrenheit and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, place cashews, water, salt and nutritional yeast in the blender and set aside while you roast the garlic with the mushrooms.
- Toss the mushrooms and garlic with salt and olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Add thyme sprigs and ensure that the mushrooms aren't crowded so they don't steam. Place in oven, close to heat source.
- Let roast for 15-20 minutes, or until thinner edged mushrooms are crispy at edges, stirring once halfway through cooking process. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Carefully lift garlic cloves out of skins (they're hot!) and place in blender. Blend cashew alfredo sauce on high speed until silky smooth, about 1-2 minutes, to let sauce heat up.
- Drain pasta and rinse quickly. Place back in pasta pot, off of the heat and toss with cashew alfredo sauce and divide among bowls, topping with roasted mushrooms and parsley if you wish.