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.
I also love it with roasted broccoli or roasted cauliflower stirred in!
Or try adding in some shredded cabbage, like I do in my Vegan Pad Thai or Peanut Noodles! You really can’t tell it’s there, after you add a delicious sauce.
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?
Questions and Reviews
Yasha actually does look a bit like a cartoon character! So adorable though. 🙂
I had my first real green juice today.. and I loved it! At first I was kind of wary but the taste was totally fine and it was extremely refreshing. Definitely need to start having them more.
Yay for green juice! So glad you liked it! It took a while for them to grow on me… but now I’m hooked. 😉
That Alfredo Sauce is a must try for me. I never liked “real” alfredo sauce but with these ingredients I think I would. Thanks for sharing your “adult” version. 🙂 That’s wild about the flush you experienced with the Niacin. Glad it past! Hope you enjoyed the rest of your Sunday…glad Yasha was there to assist you with a lazy day attitude. 🙂 So cute!
My Dad and I love to watch Dexter. It is dark and twister, but it’s so interesting!
Every time I hear about colon cleansing I shudder a little. Not for me!
I used to feel that way about colon cleansing when I first read about it– but that was nearly 8 years ago, so you never know what may change! 😉
I’m totally hooked on Dexter now! I dove straight into Season 2!!
omg that sauce sounds so good! Ever since I’ve reduced dairy and have been thinking about going vegan, I remember all the things I would be missing, like alfredo sauce. But I can’t wait to try this recipe!
If you think the show Dexter is dark, don’t read the books – they’re really, REALLY dark and gory. Your “pasta” looks delicious!
ha! funny today I was just saying I wanted fettucine alfredo but of course something healthy and vegan…you heard my thought. 🙂
I love Dexter! I started watching it last summer and it took me a few days to get through the first season. I was hooked!
J’adore. Especially the green juice – Lisa just gave me a juicer!:)
Ahem. My zucchini noodles look nothing like yours. What attachment are you using? Mine look like mushy slaw!
Are you using the Joyce Chen spiralizer? I used to own that one and got kinda mushy noodles… I ended up replacing mine with the Paderno Spiral Slicer— it makes the best noodles!!
OH wow- just had this over steamed kale. Soooo good 🙂
Does this make just 1 serving?
I ended up using this sauce for a couple nights in a row– it just depends on how much sauce you like to use on your noodles!
What could i use instead of cashews for this recipe? I am very allergic to cashews.
This recipe may work better for you: https://detoxinista.com/2013/05/creamy-cauliflower-alfredo-dairy-free-nut-free/
What if you accidentally got roasted cashews? Will they work?
This Alfredo recipe is absolutely delicious!!
Megan, <3<3<3 the raw Alfredo sauce! I've been making it for few years. It is absolutely delicious, super healthy and you're right "the options are endless"!! I prefer subbing 1/2 sm-med (peeled) zucchini for 1/2 the cashews, gives more neutral base and less cashewy taste. (Adding zucchini replaces most of the water for mixing.)
Here are other yummy options: unsweetened homemade almond milk instead of water for mixing adds incredible creaminess, 1teaspoon Herbes de Provence, 1-2T nutritional yeast, and raw apple cider vinegar can easily replace the lemon if wanted for different tang. Oh and sprinkle on raw almond or Brazil nut Parmesan. Love<3<3<3 this raw alfredo sauce<3 OMG delicious 🙂
This was amazingly delicious. Surprised that hubby cleaned his plate.
I have to try this. You’ve made me want to invest in a vitamix. Is there a particular model you recommend- I live alone. Thank you again for your wonderful accessible recipes.
My favorite is the 5200 model, which I bought refurbished to save a little money. Here’s an affiliate link to the one I have: https://amzn.to/2LLXcbR
Delicious! Easy and definitely filled the craving I’ve had for Alfredo without the heavy dairy.
This was SO good! We added a basic chicken to the top of it (instant pot) and asparagus. This was quick and easy to make. We will make this again and again!
This is amazing! Thank you! Can I freeze the sauce!?
I read this and was skeptical. The cashews weren’t soaked and there was no nutritional yeast. But you said it’s been one of your go-tos, so I tried it. And wow, it is AMAZING! And could not be easier to make. Looking forward to making it again soon.
This Alfredo sauce is so delicious and so easy. Yum! Yum! Yum! I tossed in some pea shoots right before serving, and placed some walnut Parmesan on the table for each person to use as desired. Next time I want to try it with mushroom bacon, as you suggest. We love mushroom bacon, and I’m sure it will be wonderful with this sauce. Thank you for another amazing recipe.
Delicious Megan! Your recipes never disappoint including this one! My non vegan husband said it was the best Alfredo he ever had! Adding it to our favorite recipe list along with many other of your recipes! Made it brown rice noodles! Added chicken as well.
Yay!! I’m so happy to hear that!! Glad you both enjoyed it, and thank you for letting me know. 🙂
Megan does it again! A few simple ingredients and it tastes like real Alfredo. My kids had no complaints.
Delicious recipe I make this for my mom
She can’t have
Milk products. We add broccoli or zucchini or whatever vegetables is in the fridge and I leave
Out the black pepper because of my own dietary restrictions. It’s a fast and simple recipe everyone loves it. Thank you Melissa
I made this for the first time last week… not gong to lie, I wasn’t sure if we would like it…. boy oh boy… we didn’t like it…. WE LOVED IT!!!! I will NEVER buy or make any other alfredo sauce again in my life…. seriously, my husband and I thought it was the best thing ever… making it for Easter dinner… ITS THAT GOOD!!!! We used it over veggies the next day…. DELISH!!!!
Can’t wait to try! I love all your recipes! Can the sauce be made in advance?
This was really good! I”m in phase 2 of a food sensitivity elimination diet, so am looking for recipes with ingredients I can eat. I had to leave out the onion and lemon juice and subbed white wine vinegar and rice vinegar, but it still was delicious. Everyone liked the sauce, even my husband. Unfortunately, the rice noodles I cooked to go with it didn’t turn out right, which means I’ll just have to make this again!
My family and I are not vegan but very much enjoyed this vegan Alfredo. It was just a tad too lemony, but we added more salt, which balanced it out. Next time, I will back off the lemon a bit, but it’s definitely a keeper. Thanks for another yummy recipe, Megan!
Love this recipe! Tastes great! Can the sauce be frozen?
Tasty! We added some fresh oregano.
Wow! This is an easy, simple and delicious recipe, this sauce makes me happy. 🙂
How long it’s good for in refrigerator? Can it go in freezer?
I just made this with short yellow pea pasta. Wow. Amazing. Definitely a favourite!
Loved it! So rich and creamy. Next I’m going to try your cauliflower alfredo recipe 🙂
I’ve never reviewed an online recipe before but this was phenomenal. Simple, easy to make and delicious. My bf said it was the best Alfredo sauce he’s ever had. Thank you, it’ll be a staple!!
I’m so glad it was a hit! Thanks for leaving the review; I appreciate it.
Delicious 😋 I’ve tried a lot of dairy free Alfredo and this is my favorite. I used a quarter cup of cashews with close to 1 cup of water still and almost the full amount of onions and garlic. It was the perfect consistency, not too thick like I’m use to and not too rich, just delicious. Thank you for sharing. My adjustment made plenty for 2 people.
Thank you for sharing this recipe! We haven’t had Alfredo in a very long time. I did add 1TBSP of nutrional yeast and the roasted broccoli. Next time I will cut the pasta in half. I used the Jovial brand cassava pasta.
Excellent alfredo sauce.. My 12 yr old son loved it. I made it specially for him because I want to reduce his dairy intake and make it healthier. The recipe was very easy and it came out just as you described it. This is the second recipe that I got from you. I also made your avocado brownies and they turned out very good too. Thank you!