If you were to ask me to choose between a tomato-based sauce and a creamy sauce, I would vote for creamy every single time. Which makes this easy, 5-min Cashew Alfredo sauce the answer to my pasta dreams!
It’s so quick that you can have a crave-able meal in WAY less time than it takes to order takeout. And, if you serve it with a chickpea-based pasta (I love BANZA), it’s also packed with protein and fibre to keep you full.
Since I can’t leave well enough alone…blame my registered dietitian heart… I also like a little bit of green in my dinner. You could wilt a big handful of baby spinach while you toss the pasta and then, my friends, you have the ultimate union between healthy and delicious. Or, this pasta would also be delicious served with my Snap Pea Salad which comes dressed in – you guessed it – a creamy cashew dressing because #nevertoomanycashews.
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. It is the speed of the blender that whips those cashews up into a silky cream…and that means not having to plan ahead for your craving, so bonus. 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 the long soak…so go ahead and soak the cashews in the fridge before you go to work.
Five easy meals 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!
Easy 5-Min Cashew Alfredo Sauce with Roasted Mushroom Pasta
- 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
- 340 gram package of your favourite pasta I like chickpea-based Banza
- 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
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, while heating. I have a soup setting on my blender, so I use that.
- 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.