Vegan Alfredo Sauce

published Jan 17, 2022
Vegan Alfredo Sauce Recipe

Vegan Alfredo sauce is just as rich and creamy as the original.

Makes2 cups

Prep15 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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a bowl of vegan fettuccine alfredo with a fork in it, close-up
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Traditional Roman Alfredo sauce is the embodiment of Italian minimalist cooking. Although its complex flavor may suggest otherwise, it’s really just an emulsion of starchy pasta water, butter, and Parmesan cheese. When twirled into hot pasta, the humble mixture coats each strand with a rich, cheesy veil. The result: a buttery, intensely savory, slightly nutty pasta that’s nearly impossible to resist.

Unless you’re vegan, of course. Or lactose-intolerant.

But fear not! Vegan Alfredo sauce is almost as easy to make — and just as rich and creamy — as the original. The secret ingredient? Cashews! Raw cashews are a staple ingredient of the plant-based kitchen. With a cup of water and a blender or food processor, you can use cashews to create a number of creamy vegan things, including lasagna, mac and cheese, Caesar dressing, and, yes, even Alfredo sauce.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

How Do You Make Vegan Alfredo Sauce from Scratch? 

Vegan Alfredo sauce starts with a base of soaked raw cashews, which get blended up into a creamy sauce along with sautéed onions and garlic and a handful of aromatics. Miso and nutritional yeast are the power duo that lends an unmistakable “cheesy” flavor to the sauce; the miso is savory, salty, and a bit sweet, while the nutritional yeast has the vibe of dehydrated, unsalted cheese, if you can imagine it. Don’t skip either of them!

3 Ways to Soften Cashews for Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Soaking cashews allows you to blend them up into any creamy dairy substitute. Otherwise, you might end up with a gritty sauce. There are several ways to do it, and the results are identical. Depending on how much lead time you have, you can do any of the following:

  • Soak them in cold water for at least four or up to 24 hours.
  • Soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes.
  • Soak them in actively simmering water on the stovetop for 10 minutes.

How Long Can I Keep Vegan Alfredo Sauce?

You can store leftover Alfredo sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Vegan Alfredo Sauce Recipe

Vegan Alfredo sauce is just as rich and creamy as the original.

Prep time 15 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Makes 2 cups

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    raw cashews

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1

    small or 1/2 medium yellow onion

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 1 cup

    water, preferably filtered

  • 3 tablespoons

    nutritional yeast

  • 2 tablespoons

    white miso paste

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup raw cashews in a blender and add enough boiling water to cover. Set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the onions and garlic.

  2. Dice 1 small or 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 1 cup). Mince 1 garlic clove. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes, being careful not to let the onions brown. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Remove the pan from the heat.

  3. When the cashews are ready, drain and return to the blender. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 medium lemon until you have 1 tablespoon. Add the juice, onion mixture, 1 cup water, 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons white miso paste, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Blend until completely smooth and creamy.

Recipe Notes

Quick soaking the cashews: If you’re in a rush, soften the cashews by boiling them instead: place in a small pot, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, drain, and proceed to step 2.

Storage: The Alfredo sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.