This Vegan Alfredo features a delicious dairy-free sauce, made with a handful of simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. You won’t believe how creamy and decadent it tastes!
Ingredients You’ll Need
How do you make a Vegan Alfredo sauce from scratch? This dairy-free Alfredo sauce gets its creaminess from cashews!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cashews (look for ones that are NOT roasted or salted)
- Lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Salt & pepper
I also like to add a bit of sautéed onion in there for extra flavor, but it’s amazing how the tart combination of lemon juice + vinegar, plus the salt and pepper really bring out the classic flavor of Alfredo.
You’ll just have to trust me and try it!
How to Make It
This recipe comes together fast, so start by cooking the noodles. You can use regular fettuccine noodles, or try chickpea or brown rice noodles to keep this recipe gluten-free.
While the noodles are cooking, sauté the onion in a separate skillet. When it looks tender, stir in the garlic briefly, just until fragrant.
In a blender, combine the cashews, water, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then add in the sautéed onions and garlic, too.
Blend until the sauce is very smooth. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you might want to try grinding the cashews into a powder first, before you add in everything else.
When the pasta is done cooking, drain the noodles, then return them to the large pot. Pour the creamy Alfredo sauce over the top, and toss well.
At this point, you can taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
I usually add more salt and black pepper, to really make the flavor pop! If it doesn’t taste like Alfredo yet, you probably haven’t used enough salt.
Remember, Parmesan cheese is very salty, so we’re trying to mimic that here.
How else can you make food creamy without dairy? If you need to avoid cashews, try my Cauliflower Alfredo sauce as a nut-free alternative. It’s ultra-creamy, and is a great way to sneak more veggies into your day!
My Butternut Squash Pasta is also very creamy, without using dairy, if you’d like to try that version.
I’ve had readers report swapping macadamia nuts for cashews in my Vegan Mac n’ Cheese recipe, so that’s a possibility, too. But, I haven’t tested that myself. It would definitely be more expensive than this cashew-based sauce.
Toppings to Try
If you’d like to add some extra veggies to this pasta dish, you can replace up to half of the pasta in this recipe with cooked spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini.
Want more of a Vegan Carbonara? Try topping this creamy pasta with my crispy Mushroom Bacon. It’s life-changing.
Best Vegan Alfredo
- 1 pound fettuccine noodles (use chickpea or brown rice to keep it gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (11 grams)
- 1/2 yellow onion , chopped (118 grams; ~1 cup)
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves , minced (16 grams; about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup whole cashews (145 grams; not roasted or salted)
- 1 cup water (8 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (17 grams)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (6 grams)
- 1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt (8 grams; I use Real Salt brand)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper , plus more to taste
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- While the noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion until it's soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Remove from the heat.
- In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, water, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add in the sauteed onions and garlic, then blend until very smooth. The sauce should look creamy, without any visible chunks of cashews.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the large pot. Pour the creamy cashew sauce over the top, and toss well to make sure the noodles are coated. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm, with fresh parsley on top, if desired.
More Pasta Recipes
Need more vegan pasta ideas? Try one of these!
- Lentil Bolognese
- Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce (from fresh tomatoes)
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Creamy Vegan Pasta
- Kale Pesto Pasta
- Avocado Pesto
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
If you try this Vegan Alfredo recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from your experience!
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite pasta topping?