With just five pantry staple ingredients, you make a rich and creamy dairy-free alfredo sauce that’s perfect for tossing with your favorite pasta or pouring over steamed vegetables.
No Dairy, No Kidding
If we said you can turn five pantry staples (plus a little fresh lemon juice) into a naturally gluten-free sauce that you’ll want to pour over everything, you might not believe us. That’s why we’re showing you how to make vegan alfredo sauce, so you can taste it to believe it!
If alfredo sauce has been off the table for you because of a dairy restriction or because it doesn’t seem like a healthful choice, we’re about to change your opinion on that. Soon you’ll be tossing, twisting, and twirling your way to healthy comfort-food bliss without the dairy. You’ll never know there isn’t a lick of butter or cream in this Vegan Alfredo Sauce, and neither will your guests.
What you’ll need to make vegan alfredo sauce
Grab a bowl, your blender, and these everyday staple ingredients:
- Raw cashews – whole, halves, or pieces will do
- Boiling water – for soaking the cashews to make a silky smooth sauce
- Nutritional yeast – this ingredient gives this vegan alfredo sauce a tangy cheese-y flavor
- Garlic – start with one garlic clove, then decide if you want more garlic flavor. If so, add another clove and blend until smooth
- Lemon juice
- Unsweetened almond milk – or you can use another unsweetened/unflavored non-dairy milk, such as oat milk or cashew milk
- A high-speed blender – we love a high power blender like Vitamix, Blendtec, or KitchenAid for making creamy sauces, but a food processor will also work; it just may require more blending and scraping to get that perfectly smooth texture
How to make vegan alfredo sauce
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see just how little effort and minimal hands-on time it takes to make this insanely rich and silky sauce that’s perfect for tossing with your favorite pasta or tender strands of spaghetti squash.
- Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with 3 cups (24 ounces) of boiling water. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside for 30 minutes (this softens the cashews).
- Drain the soaked cashews and transfer them to a high-power blender.
- Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and almond milk.
- Blend on high for 1-2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed, until the sauce is very smooth. Taste and adjust salt and/or garlic as desired.
Frequently Asked Questions: Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Can Vegan Alfredo Sauce Recipe be prepped ahead?
Yes! You can prepare the sauce according the recipe directions, then store the non-dairy alfredo sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze vegan alfredo sauce?
If you can’t enjoy all of the sauce within 5 days, leftovers can be frozen up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container. To thaw, place the container in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then, gently reheat the sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to re-emulsify the sauce.
Can I make vegan alfredo sauce without cashews?
You sure can! If you are allergic to cashews or just don’t want to use them, you can substitute macadamia nuts, blanched almonds, pine nuts, or raw sunflower seeds with good results. Should you use sunflower seeds, keep in mind the taste won’t be exactly the same and the color of the sauce will be darker. If you can only find roasted, salted macadamia nuts you may want to reduce the salt slightly before blending. Then, taste and add salt as desired.
Ways to Enjoy Vegan Alfredo Sauce
While this sauce is good enough to eat right off the spoon, we recommend serving it in these ways:
- Toss with your favorite cooked pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine
- Stir into oven-baked spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for a Whole30-compatible and grain-free take on vegan fettuccine alfredo. Try adding a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese for extra savory flavor
- Want to add some protein? Top with tofu (baked, sautéed, or fried). Or, if you don’t need the dish to be 100% plant-based, try adding chicken, salmon, or shrimp
- Pour over steamed or roasted broccoli or cauliflower. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper and/or fresh cracked black pepper
- Use as a base for creamy casseroles, such as Dairy-Free Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole, or another recipe that calls for cream sauce
How To Make Vegan Alfredo Sauce (Easy!)
Pour this vegan alfredo sauce over your favorite pasta, serve it with steamed veggies, or toss it with strands of spaghetti squash for the ultimate comfort food dish that’s dairy-free and requires minimal time to make!
- 1 cup raw cashews (whole, halves, or pieces – 4 1/2 to 5 oz total)*
- 3 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon fine salt + more to taste
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk**
- Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside for 30 minutes (this softens the cashews).
- Drain the cashews and transfer them to a high-power blender.
- Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and almond milk to the blender with the cashews.
- Blend on high for 1-2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the sauce is very smooth. Taste and adjust salt and/or garlic, as desired.
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* You can substitute macadamia nuts, blanched almonds, pine nuts, or raw sunflower seeds for the cashews with good results. Should you use sunflower seeds, keep in mind the taste won’t be exactly the same and the color of the sauce will be darker.
** You can substitute any unsweetened non-dairy milk for the almond milk, such as cashew milk or oat milk.
- Serving Size: 1/4 cup
- Calories: 110
- Fat: 8 g
- (Sat Fat: 1 g)
- Sodium: 183 mg
- Carbohydrate: 7 g
- (Fiber: 1 g
- Sugar: 1 g)
- Protein: 4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House.
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