Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce will amaze you. Rich and creamy and loaded with flavor, but no cream.
I decided to cut out almost all dairy when I switched to my clean eating anti inflammatory diet. It wasn’t so much the lactose in dairy that caused issues. It was casein. A protein in dairy that can cause inflammation. (Check out my Top 10 Anti Inflammatory Foods List here!)
But whatever your own personal reason for trying this dairy free alfredo sauce recipe, you won’t be disappointed! It has the same flavorful, rich, satisfying taste and texture as alfredo sauce made with cream.
Learning how to make “dairy” products with cashews was a revelation for me. I cannot believe that the humble little cashew can turn into amazingly decadent foods like cream, butter, cashew parmesan, and yes, alfredo sauce! It still amazes me!
What Can I Use Instead of Cream in Alfredo Sauce?
This is where the magic happens. Cashew alfredo sauce is loaded with the same deep, rich flavor of traditional alfredo sauce, but without cream.
So how does it work? The magic is in the cashews. You just blend cashews that have been soaked in water with all of the other fabulous ingredients found in creamy alfredo sauce. (see full recipe below)
The soaked cashews blended with a bit of water turns into “cream.” This cashew cream does the same thing for vegan alfredo sauce that dairy cream does for traditional alfredo.
A quick note about soaking the cashews – there are two ways to get perfectly soaked cashews. The most traditional method is to soak them overnight.
Put a cup of raw cashews into a large bowl and cover with water so there’s at least an inch of water above the cashew level. Let them sit covered overnight then drain and rinse well.
But for faster results, just boil 3 cups of water. Remove the water from the heat when it reaches a boil then add a cup of cashews. Cover and let sit 15-20 minutes. Then drain and rinse.
The fast method works as well as the overnight method, so take your pick.
Watch Me Make it Here on The Spicy Apron Cooking Show
What Does Cashew Sauce Taste Like?
Cashew sauce can be made to taste like almost any creamy sauce you want. In this case, we’re going for vegan cashew alfredo sauce. And it tastes exactly like cream-filled, dairy alfredo sauce. But no cream!
It has the same creamy, smooth texture and cream. And it is a neutral flavor, so you will only taste the flavors you add. This cashew alfredo sauce has all the flavors of garlic, lemon, and a hint of cheese. It honestly tastes just like dairy alfredo.
What is Vegan Alfredo Sauce Made Of?
The star of vegan alfredo sauce is the cashew! This is what creates the silky creaminess.
The soaked cashews are blended with garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, a thickening mixture made with water and flour, and some salt and pepper. (see full recipe below)
The nutritional yeast is key! It is an inactive form of yeast that gives the vegan cashew alfredo sauce a nice tangy, cheesy flavor. These simple and basic ingredients are available at most grocery stores!
Ingredients in This Recipe
- Raw Cashews – soaked either overnight or by the faster method described above. (See full recipe with instructions below.)
- Flour and water mixture – You can use all purpose flour or cashew flour to thicken the sauce.
- Garlic – a must for alfredo!
- Olive oil – this will bring the entire sauce together.
- Lemon juice – fresh is always best.
- Cashew parmesan – you can use traditional parm, but it will not be vegan if you do.
- Salt and pepper – to taste
How to Make Cashew Alfredo Sauce
- Soak cashews either overnight or by boiling water then soaking for 15-20 minutes (see full recipe below)
- Whisk together some water and flour over medium high heat until thick.
- In a high speed blender, combine soaked cashews, water/flour mix, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, vegan parmesan, salt and pepper. Blend on high speed for 5 minutes
- Pour over your favorite pasta and enjoy
It is important to use a high-powered high-speed blender or food processor to make this vegan alfredo sauce. I absolutely love my CookingPal Multo!
I use my Multo All. The. Time! Not only does it do a wonderful job with all my chopping, blending, whipping, and emulsifying. It also cooks! This smart cooking machine sautees, steams, simmers, and has stackable trays so I can cook multiple things at once.
The Multo also has a ton of recipes. Recipes like broccoli leek soup, tomatillo garbanzo salad, sweet potato mash and many many more!)
I highly recommend you check out the CookingPal Multo if you’re looking to get a kitchen cooking machine (or even just a high end blender),
This entire cashew alfredo sauce comes together in about 15 minutes. It has been an incredible addition to my clean-eating routine. It’s a real family favorite!
Tools Used in This Recipe:
- 1 cups raw cashews, soaked (see below)
- 1 ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- Juice from 1 small lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon vegan parmesan cheese (or regular if not vegan)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Soak cashews - you can either soak them overnight by putting them in a large bowl and covering the cashews with water at least an inch above the cashew line. Then drain and rinse well. OR quick soak by boiling 3 cups of water, then remove from heat. Add cashews and cover the pot. Let sit 15 minutes then drain and rinse.
- Add soaked cashews and all remaining ingredients to a high powered blender. Blend on high speed for 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
- If you used the quick soak cashews, then they will be warm and your sauce won't need heating. If you used overnight soaked, then your sauce will be room temperature and you may want to heat it for a couple of minutes over medium heat before adding to the pasta.
- Pour on top of cooked pasta and serve immediately.
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