You only need 15 minutes, simple pantry ingredients, and a blender to make this super creamy, rich, and buttery vegan alfredo sauce! Add your favorite noodles for a delicious and comforting meal that the whole family will enjoy!
Pasta with alfredo sauce was always one of my favorite meals when I was a kid, and it still is to this day! The recipe has changed quite a bit since then, but it's so much better now! This dairy-free alfredo sauce is super creamy, flavorful, and ready in just 15 minutes. If you want a satisfying and delicious dinner on the table super quick, you're going to love this creamy cashew alfredo recipe!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cashews - The cashews make the sauce so creamy! You can also make the vegan alfredo sauce with 1:1 soaked raw sunflower seeds or 1 small head of cooked cauliflower instead of cashews.
- Plant Milk - Unsweetened coconut milk from a carton (not a can) is my favorite creamy plant milk to use, but you could also use unsweetened almond, oat, or cashew milk. Do not use unsweetened soy milk, it tastes too sweet. You could also use water in a pinch.
- Dried Seasonings - Garlic powder, onion powder, chili flakes, Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper add so much flavor! If you have extra time, you could use sauteed onions and garlic instead of dried.
- Nutritional Yeast - This makes the cashew sauce taste so cheesy! If you don't have it, I would try adding a few teaspoons of miso paste for more flavor.
- Lemon - Fresh lemon juice adds acidity and brightens the flavor of the cashew sauce. If you don't have a lemon, white wine vinegar can be substituted.
How To Make It
Soak the raw cashews using one of these methods:
- Soak the cashews in cold water in a bowl on the counter for 2 hours. Drain the water.
- Put the cashews in a sauce pan and cover them with water by two inches. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium high and let it cook for 10 minutes. Drain the water.
It's important to soak the cashews first because it makes them softer and easier to blend + it's easier for your body to digest.
While the cashews are boiling, get a separate large pot with water going to cook the pasta in. I like to cook the pasta while I'm making the sauce so everything is ready at the same time.
After you boil the cashews, drain the water and put the cashews into a blender. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, Italian seasonings, chili flakes, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and unsweetened coconut milk to the blender with the cashews.
Blend all the ingredients together until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
You can pour the garlicky vegan cashew alfredo sauce from the blender directly over the hot noodles (I usually do this because I don't want to dirty another pan and the noodles are hot enough to warm the sauce) or you can pour the sauce into a skillet and warm it up and then add the cooked pasta.
What Goes With It?
I usually serve this vegan alfredo sauce over whatever noodles I have on hand with a side salad tossed in vegan ranch dressing. A side of veggies would be perfect to go with it and round out the meal.
- Lemon Turmeric Cauliflower
- Tahini Zucchini Artichoke Salad
- Arugula Tomato Salad
- Vegan Cauliflower Steaks
- Lemon Garlic Asparagus
- Add Veggies - Roast broccoli, mushrooms, or zucchini and mix it into the pasta for extra fiber.
- Without Cashews - You can use raw sunflower seeds 1:1 instead of cashews to make an equally as creamy and delicious alfredo sauce.
- Plant-Based Protein - Stir in chickpeas, great northern beans, or green peas for extra protein. You could also top it with cubes of crispy baked tofu.
- Fettuccine Alfredo - Toss the creamy cashew sauce with fettuccine noodles to make this classic dish.
- Pizza Topping - Drizzle the Alfredo over flatbread pizza for a super rich and creamy topping.
How To Store It
Store leftover alfredo pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or you can freeze it for 2-3 months. When you're ready to eat it, remove it from the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge for 24 hours. Then you can heat it up in a large pan. You might need to add additional coconut milk or water to the sauce if it's too thick.
Frequently Asked Questions
The blended cashew nuts are what makes the alfredo sauce so buttery, thick, and creamy!
Unsweetened plain (not vanilla) plant milk is the best substitute, but you can also use water to blend with the cashews to make the alfredo.
Yes, you can make the alfredo a couple days before and store it in the fridge. When you're ready for it, warm it up in a skillet and stir in the freshly cooked pasta.
You can make a delicious vegan fettuccine using this vegan alfredo sauce recipe. Just make sure to use vegan noodles.
This alfredo sauce is gluten-free, but make sure that you use gluten-free noodles. Also, if you are sensitive to gluten, make sure to check your package of nutritional yeast to make sure that it doesn't have any wheat allergy warnings on it in case it was processed in a factory that has wheat present.
- Whatever type of plant milk that you use to make the alfredo, make sure it's unsweetened and not vanilla-flavored.
- If possible, use raw cashews instead of roasted and salted cashews. Roasted and salted nuts can be used but it will change the flavor of the Alfredo sauce a little bit. If you use salted nuts, reduce the amount of salt that you add.
- Reserve 1 cup of the water that the noodles are cooked in case you want to thin the alfredo a little bit.
Want More Vegan Cashew Recipes?
Cashew Alfredo Sauce
- Sauce Pan
- Large Pot
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 tsp Italian seasonings
- 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 cups unsweetened plain coconut milk (I used the kind in a refrigerated carton)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp dried parsley (or fresh)
- Put the cashews in a sauce pan and cover them with water by two inches. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium high and let it cook for 10 minutes. Carefully, drain the water.
- While the cashews are boiling, boil water in a large pot for the pasta. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Before you drain the noodles, reserve one cup of the salted water.
- Put the soaked cashews, garlic powder, onion powder, chili flakes, Italian seasonings, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, unsweetened coconut milk, and lemon juice in a blender and blend it on high until it's smooth and creamy.
- You can warm the sauce up in a skillet or you can pour the sauce directly over the hot noodles and stir to combine. The noodles should be hot enough to warm the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a 1 tbsp at a time of the reserved pasta water. Garnish with parsley.
- Whatever type of plant milk you use, make sure it's unsweetened and not vanilla-flavored.
- Store the leftover alfredo pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze it for a future meal.
Hot chocolatey milk
So good! And so simple, too. I only used half of the nutritional yeast because I'm still a bit of a wimp about it and it came out great. This is definitely my new go-to vegan alfredo. Thank you for sharing it!
You're welcome! I'm so thrilled you like the recipe! Thank you for the feedback.
This is my favorite dairy free alfredo sauce, it's SO creamy! Even my kids love it! I added the leftover sauce to homemade tomato soup and it made it so rich and creamy! Love, love, love....thank you for the recipe!
Thank you, Danielle! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
What can I substitute for cashews as my daughter is allergic to cashews
Hi Allison. No, I'm sorry but I don't have a substitute for the cashews.
Ive used boiled ( 10 minutes) sunflower seeds to replace cashews in many plant based cheese recipes, they tend to work well.
One of the photos with blender looks like you added just water, not the coconut milk. Is that a mistake?
Hey, Veronika! No, it's not water, it's unsweetened coconut milk (from a carton). It just looks weird because I squeezed the lemon juice on top of the coconut milk and it separated a little bit. You could make it with water instead of coconut milk but it won't be as creamy. Enjoy!