Dairy Free Cashew Alfredo Sauce (Vegan)

his easy Dairy-free & Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce gets its creamy texture from blended cashews in lieu of butter and cream— but no one will suspect it's not the real thing! The perfect plant-based sauce for all your pasta night needs. Vegan, Dairy-free, Low Carb and Whole30 approved! Can be frozen or stored in the fridge! #veganrecipes #dairyfree #alfredo #pastasauce #whole30recipes

This Dairy-free & Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce gets its creamy texture from blended cashews in lieu of butter and cream, and its cheesy taste thanks to nutritional yeast — no one will suspect it’s not the real thing! A plant-based sauce for all your pasta night needs.

side view of a small container with vegan cashew alfredo sauce

As a lover of all things creamy and pasta, I have searched high and low for a decent, easy to make, healthy, dairy-free and vegan alfredo sauce that I can have with all my favorite kinds of pasta, veggie noodles, you name it.

I have experimented with as many of the “best ever” recipes on the internet and this is my favorite version – a mix of the things I loved most about each recipe I have tried. And surprise – it uses cashew nuts!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’re familiar with my general love for all things cashews! I am seriously in awe of their amazing ability to morph into creamy, dreamy dairy substitutes and they are the foundation for many of my favorite dairy-free recipes!  Have you tried my cashew cream? Then you already understand why I am so obsessed. Or maybe you have made my amazing mini strawberry cheesecakes using cashew “cheese” and are hooked now, coming back in search for more cashew goodness?

This time around, my friends, I would like to talk about my newest creation. Cashew Alfredo Sauce. Be prepared to be blown away by how much it tastes like the “real thing.”

a spoon being dipped into a jar of vegan Alfredo sauce

In lieu of the heavy cream, butter, and cheese found in traditional Alfredo sauce, this vegan version gets its creaminess from blended cashews. Other than that, we only add a squeeze of lemon juice for freshness,  almond milk for that silky smoothness, a hint of garlic for kick, then nutritional yeast for cheesiness and salt for, well, saltiness.

There you have it:  creamy, cashew alfredo sauce in minutes! The perfect plant-based sauce for all your pasta night needs. Slather this dairy-free cream sauce onto a plate of piping hot penne or fettuccine for a vegan comfort food dinner within minutes!

On making Dairy-Free Alfredo Sauce 

There are several ways to make dairy-free Alfredo sauce. Here on the blog, I have this version using cashew nuts and then another nut-free version using cauliflower.

Not sure which one you want to go with? Here’s the low down.

picture collage of each a jar of vegan cashew alfredo sauce and cauliflower alfredo sauce

Cashew vs cauliflower alfredo:

Cashew Alfredo Sauce:

I find this version comes closest to a traditional Italian dairy-based Alfredo pasta sauce, both in terms of texture, taste, and color.

It is super quick to make taking only 10 minutes vs. 25 minutes for the cauliflower sauce.

Another bonus – there is no cooking involved if you remember to soak your cashews (but if you don’t, there’s a very quick fix).

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce:

This veggie-based vegan Alfredo is lower in calories. You can think of this sauce as a lightened up version as we are sneaking in some “hidden veggies” instead of relying on calorie-dense nuts as a base.  A great nut-free alternative in case of intolerance/allergies. It’s also more budget-friendly. Find the recipe here.

nutritional yeast flakes in a small white dish

What’s nutritional yeast

Meet my new BFF, nutritional yeast aka. the secret ingredient that gives this alfredo sauce that wonderfully cheesy flavor (without any cheese, obvi).

The yeast is actually deactivated so you don’t have to worry about bubbly alfredo sauce that doubles in size with time. Though, now that I think about it, that would actually be pretty awesome. Anywho,  if you’ve never cooked with nutritional yeast, think of them as small little flakes, maybe a bit larger sea salt flakes.

Nutritional yeast provides a nutty, cheese-like flavor and is therefore used to add some umami to vegan sauces, stews soups, dips, and cheeses. Apart from its ability to turn an otherwise bland sauce into a total cheese-fest, it is also a significant source of B Vitamins.

How to make Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce:

Moving on to the recipe, which starts with you remembering to soak your cashew nuts.

Soak the cashews:

Soaking cashews is the essential first step to creating cashew Alfredo Sauce. There are different ways to soak those cashews and if you are interested in the details, you can read up on the pros and cons of each in my blog post on cashew cream.

For now, let me just say that you can go with any of the following methods:

  • Soak them in cold water at room temperature for a minimum of 3 or 5 hours. You can leave them to soak in the fridge overnight.

overhead shot of cashew nuts soaking in a bowl with cold water

  • Alternatively, either boil them for 10 minutes or soak them in hot water. So easy and they only take about 30 minutes of soaking time.

cashew nuts in a metal pot with cold water

 

cooked cashew nuts in a saucepan

Regardless of the soaking method, you should ALWAYS discard the soaking liquid and rinse the nuts well before adding them to your recipe. 

cashew nuts draining in a fine mesh sieve

If you go a little bit over the recommended soaking time, you should be ok. But don’t overdo it too much. If cashews are soaked too long, they will start to smell and taste a bit off. If your soaking water becomes slimy and almost gel-like, you should throw them out and start again.

Make Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce within minutes using a blender:

a picture collage showing how to make vegan cashew alfredo sauce in a blender

Drain cashews and place them in your blender with the other sauce ingredients. Blend until completely smooth. Use straight away, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it (see details below).

vegan cashew alfredo sauce being poured into a small glass jar

Delicious ways to use cashew Alfredo Sauce:

So what do you do with this delicious sauce?  You can use it as a pasta sauce, or pour it on roasted vegetables or potatoes. So good. Here are some recipes from the blog that you can use this sauce for.

Try this Dairy-free Alfredo Pasta with Mushrooms:

cashew alfredo sauce served on pasta with mushrooms

Drizzle that Alfredo on top of my Perfect Roasted Sweet Potatoes 

overhead shot of the best roasted sweet potatoes drizzled with white alfredo sauce

Use it as a sauce for my Roasted Cauliflower Detox Bowl:

A detox bowl made with roasted cauliflower, quinoa, kale and tahini dressing - Recipe on NotEnoughCinnamon.com #vegan #glutenfree #cleaneating

 

Can I freeze Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce?

Yes, you can. To freeze this sauce, let it cool, then pour it into a Ziplock bag, seal it and flatten the sauce with your hand, leaving the air out. Lay the freezer bag flat in the freezer until frozen so it’s easy to stack. Thaw the sauce in the fridge overnight as needed.

Tips for making this Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce:

  • If you are short on time or forgot to soak the cashews, you can boil them instead. Place cashews in a pot, cover with water and boil for 10 minutes or so. Continue with the recipe as written.
  • The vegan cashew sauce tends to thicken in the fridge and sometimes when cooking. If it’s the case, simply add a bit more water to thin it out as needed.
  • If you already made my cashew cream, simply add it to the blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients (minus the cashews and milk and done).
  • For a dairy-free alfredo sauce using cauliflower instead of cashews, see this recipe.
  • You can add spices to change the flavor. Think curry powder, some smoked paprika or chipotle, maybe even some honey and a teaspoon of mustard if you want a dairy-free sauce to go with your grilled chicken.
side view of a small container with vegan cashew alfredo sauce
5 from 5 votes
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Dairy-Free Cashew Alfredo Sauce

This easy Dairy-free Vegan Cashew Alfredo Sauce gets its creamy texture from blended cashews in lieu of butter and cream— but no one will suspect it's not the real thing! The perfect plant-based sauce for all your pasta night needs. Vegan, Dairy-free, Low Carb and Whole30 approved! Can be frozen or stored in the fridge! 

Course Condiment, sauce, side
Cuisine American, Vegan
Keyword cashew alfredo sauce recipe, dairy-free alfredo, vegan alfredo sauce cashews
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 cups
Calories 543 kcal
Author Marie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight (or at least 6 hours) or boiled (see notes)
  • 1 cup almond milk or water
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled

Instructions

  1. Drain cashews and place them in your blender with the other ingredients.
  2. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. Use straight away, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it (see details below).

Recipe Notes

  • If you are short on time or forgot to soak the cashews, you can boil them instead. Place cashews in a pot, cover with water and boil for 10 minutes or so. Continue with the recipe as written.
  • The vegan cashew sauce tends to thicken in the fridge and sometimes when cooking. If it's the case, simply add a bit more water to thin it out as needed.
  • If you already made my cashew cream, simply add it to the blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients (minus the cashews and milk and done).
  • For a dairy-free alfredo sauce using cauliflower instead of cashews, see this recipe.
Nutrition Facts
Dairy-Free Cashew Alfredo Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1.5 cups)
Calories 543 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g 62%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Sodium 1778mg 74%
Potassium 767mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 5g
Protein 21g 42%
Vitamin C 3.9%
Calcium 23.9%
Iron 35.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you tried this Cashew Alfredo Sauce Recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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posted in
All Seasons Recipes Clean Eating Dairy Free Gluten free Low carb Meal Prep Paleo Paleo/Primal Pasta Quick & Easy Meals Recipes Refined Sugar Free Sauces Side dishes Vegan Vegetarian Whole30 Winter Recipes
9 Comments
  1. That is such a creamy and delicious vegan alfredo sauce. Love all the ingredients in it – sounds just perfect with pasta or just to eat by spoonfuls 🙂

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