The vegan alfredo sauce is made with cauliflower, cashews and nutritional yeast for a simple dairy-free pasta topping that comes together in 20-minutes or less!
When I was a kid, I hated tomatoes and refused to eat any sort of marinara sauce. The only sauce I would eat on pasta was either butter and cheese or alfredo sauce.
As an adult, I’m still not a huge fan of tomatoes, but I would never go near an alfredo sauce because it’s so incredibly HEAVY! Yes, a few bites of the buttery, creamy alfredo sauce may taste really good, but anything more than 2 or 3 bites is sure to result in a stomach ache.
That’s why I’m really excited about this non-dairy alfredo sauce made with whole foods, like cauliflower, cashews and nutritional yeast. This sauce has absolutely no butter or cream, making it light, yet creamy.
Since I’m a vegetarian (not a vegan) and I’m down with dairy, I will admit that I added parmesan cheese when I made it (see note in the recipe). But this recipe tastes great as a dairy free option, with all plant-based ingredients.
Is Vegan Alfredo Sauce healthy?
You may be thinking that any sort of “cream sauce” can’t be healthy. But let me assure you that this vegan cream sauce is a nutritious topping for your pasta.
The main ingredient in this vegan alfredo sauce is cauliflower. This cruciferous veggie is easy to cook and turns into a velvety and smooth texture when blended.
Plus, cauliflower is loaded with fiber to help with digestion and hunger control, and it’s also rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants [Related: 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Athletes]
How to make Vegan Alfredo Sauce
I don’t what’s better about this sauce– the taste of the ease of preparation. Although it seems like there are a few moving parts here, let me assure you that this all comes together in about twenty minutes.
First, boil the cashews in water for about twenty minutes. If you think ahead, you can soak them in water overnight and skip this step. While the cashews boil, you’ll cook the cauliflower, onions and garlic.
In a separate pot, boil the cauliflower until it’s soft. Drain the water and set the cauliflower aside aside. You’ll add it to the food processor later.
In a sauté pan, cook the garlic and onion in olive oil until they are both translucent and fragrant,
Now that you have all your cooked items– cashews, cauliflower, onions and garlic– add them to the food processor with nutritional yeast, almond milk, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
Can I make substitutions?
There are a few substitutions you can definitely make, especially if you eat dairy products. Here are some suggestions:
- Instead of nutritional yeast, use parmesan cheese
- Instead of almond milk, use any type of neutral flavored milk (like cow’s milk or soy milk)
- You may also want to add a squeeze of lemon juice to the sauce for a little bit of acid
Can I freeze Vegan Alfredo Sauce?
This recipe makes about 3 cups of sauce or about 6 servings. I put about 1/2 cup of sauce on my bowl of pasta.
When I made it, I doubled the batch and made about 6 cups or about 12 servings and froze it. To freeze it, store the sauce in a freezer safe container. One of the best options is a freezer bag (Stasher bag makes wonderful reusable freezer bags).
When you’re ready to eat the sauce, run it under hot water until it starts to defrost. Place it in pot and bring heat to medium until it thoroughly defrosts. Stir occasionally.
Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 head of cauliflower cut into florets
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- ½ small white onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Salt + pepper
Add the cashews to a pot and cover with water. Boil for 20 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.*
While the cashews boil, boil about 4 cups of water in a large pot. Add cauliflower to pot, cook for 7 minutes or until tender.
While cauliflower cooks, heat a medium sized pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place onion and garlic cloves in a heated pan, saute until translucent.
Place cooked cauliflower, soaked cashews, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, cheese of choice, almond milk, salt and pepper in a food processor. Puree until smooth.
Serve over pasta or rice.
*Instead of boiling the cashews, you can soak them in water overnight.