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Creamy Vegan Alfredo Sauce made with Cashews and Cauliflower, Oil-Free

5 from 19 votes

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Rich, creamy, and dairy-free, this oil-free vegan Alfredo sauce made with cashews and cauliflower is lightly cheesy and flavorful. Pour it on pasta, potatoes, vegetables, or use it as a pizza sauce – anywhere you’d use Alfredo!

jar with vegan alfredo with ladle

In my pre-vegan days I used to love nothing more than making a big pot of pasta and pouring on rich and creamy Alfredo sauce. And by that, I literally mean “opening a jar and pouring it on”. (I wasn’t much of a cook back then anyway.)

Using the commercial jarred vegan Alfredo sauces (when I can find them) has been a little…disappointing – and high in oils, calories, and fat; and not as…tasty as I remembered Alfredo being.

Now that I’ve turned into a bit of a vegan kitchen witch, I knew that I could easily figure out how to make my own!

Why you’ll love this homemade vegan creamy sauce

  • creamy
  • oil-free
  • flavorful
  • easy – you won’t be chained to a stove
  • light – won’t weigh you down
ladling out the vegan alfredo

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jar of vegan alfredo with ladle in jar with pinterest text overlay

Ingredients needed for the best homemade vegan Alfredo ever!

  • raw unsalted cashews with hot water for soaking
  • cauliflower
  • oat milk – or other unsweetened plant milk
  • garlic clove
  • nutritional yeast
  • lemon juice
  • salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, onion powder, and a pinch of nutmeg
Ingredients needed for vegan Alfredo including cauliflower, plant milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, Italian Seasonings, onion powder, garlic, salt, lemon juice, nutmeg, black pepper

What is Alfredo sauce and how can we make it vegan?

Well, first we need to consider traditional Italian Alfredo -vs- American Alfredo sauce. In the most traditional sense, Alfredo is made with parmesan cheese, butter, a little pasta water, and salt. While American Alfredo sauce adds in cream.

The stuff I used to buy in a jar was definitely the American version. Just open the jar and pour it on! Glug glug heavy and fatty! This difference between the two types of Alfredo sauce, by the way, has caused much debate amongst food bloggers who write about such things.

At any rate, none of it is vegan – nor even vegetarian because of rennet. Read why parmesan cheese is not even vegetarian from the Vegetarian Society. But that didn’t stop me from craving the creamy cheesy goodness of Alfredo sauce!

It’s easy enough to veganize Alfredo sauce with some vegan hacks.

First, we start with raw cashews to make it creamy and cauliflower to give it a little body without making it too heavy.

Next, we need to give it a little bit of a cheesy/sour taste. We do this with nutritional yeast and a little lemon juice.

Finally, we add in a few extra special ingredients for a depth of flavor. That’s where the garlic, onion powder, Italian seasonings, and nutmeg come in. Yes, an Afredo purist would probably shudder at all the extras. But hey, this is a highly adapted veganized recipe anyway and nothing is “pure” about it – except for those beautiful plant ingredients!

How to make vegan Alfredo Sauce

It’s really pretty easy. You just need to practice some patience while your cashews soak, steam your cauliflower, blend it up and you are good to go!

Step 1: Soak the cashews

For best results, use raw unsalted cashews. If you happen to have only roasted and salted cashews on hand then you will need to soak them much longer. At least three hours and perhaps overnight. And then triple rinse everything to get the salty taste out.

I soak my cashews in hot water and then discard the water when I’m done soaking. The water gets a little nasty so I never use my cashew water in my recipes.

cashews in glass pyrex measuring cup soaking in hot water

Step 2: Measure out the other ingredients

While the cashews are soaking, it’s a good time to measure out the other ingredients and set them aside. That way they will be right ready to add to the blender as soon as the cashews are soaked and the cauliflower is steamed.

Step 3: Prep and steam the cauliflower

If you buy your cauliflower uncut as a head of cauliflower, go ahead and cut it into bite-sized pieces and wash. If you are like me and too lazy for this, buy a 10-ounce bag – already washed and cut. Ten ounces is about three cups of cauliflower.

cauliflower being cut

Wait until your cashews are just about done soaking before steaming the cauliflower. If you blend the Alfredo while the cauliflower while it’s still piping hot, there will be no need to heat it. You can use it freshly made from the blender!

I steam my cauliflower until fork tender. This takes about ten minutes. You can also steam it in the bag in the microwave. Again, about four minutes.

Final step: blend blend blend

Add the soaked and drained cashews to a high-speed blender along with the steamed (hot) cauliflower, plant milk (I use oat milk), lemon juice, garlic clove, and herbs and spices.

blending the vegan alfredo

Blend for about 3-5 minutes or until everything is nice and smooth. Before removing from the blender I always like to take a little taste and make sure I’ve added enough salt and pepper.

It will be creamy and smooth, but without that heavy feeling you’d get from a full fatty cream sauce.

showing how smooth and thick the blended alfredo is

How to use vegan Alfredo sauce

I love this light and creamy alfredo on potatoes or steamed veggies. It also works well drizzled on top of a nourish bowl with veggies, grains, and beans.

This Alfredo works perfectly on pizza using white sauce. Just add some vegan mozzarella, veggies, perhaps even Italian marinated chickpeas for yummy Alfredo white sauce pizza.

white pizza with vegan alfredo

Toss it with any kind of pasta and veggies. This went particularly well with my Broccoli Rabe Pasta (coming soon) because the creamy cheesy sauce perfectly balanced the slightly bitter (in a good way) broccoli rabe.

vegan alfredo sauce being poured over pasta

Store it in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days if you used nice fresh cauliflower.

This recipe will make about two and a half cups. That’s just enough for a large family-sized bowl of pasta or two pizzas.

jar of vegan alfredo

A few questions and a few answers

Can I use roasted salted cashews to make vegan Alfredo?

You can, but you will need to soak for hours – at least three hours and perhaps overnight. If your cashews are salted, then triple rinse to get the salt out before using it in this recipe.

Do I need to use a high-speed blender?

You can use a food processor – but that seems cumbersome and messy to me. You can also use a regular blender. Just soak your cashews for a few hours before blending.

How long will the cashew/cauliflower Alfredo last in the refrigerator before spoiling?

Also depends on how fresh the cauliflower is. Steaming and blending doesn’t automatically give fresh produce more life. My rule of thumb for nice fresh cauliflower is five days if kept in a tightly covered container in the fridge.

How do I reheat the homemade vegan Alfredo?

I microwave mine for a couple of minutes. You can also reheat it on the stovetop. You might need to refresh it with a little plant milk before reheating. Stir well while heating if reheating on the stove.

For some more delicous plant-based sauce recipes from Veggie Fun Kitchen Try:

The printable recipe card for Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Did you love this recipe? Want to share the love? It would thrill me if you could leave five ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars and even a comment. Did you know that this will help google to find this recipe when others are looking for something similar? Thanks, Cindy

jar with vegan alfredo with ladle

Creamy Vegan Alfredo Sauce made with Cashews and Cauliflower, Oil-Free

Rich, creamy, and dairy-free, this oil-free vegan Alfredo sauce made with cashews and cauliflower is lightly cheesy and flavorful. Pour it on pasta, potatoes, vegetables, or use as a pizza sauce – anywhere you'd use Alfredo!
5 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Topping
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 70kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Equipment

  • high-speed blender

Ingredients

  • hot water for soaking cashews MUST DISCARD AFTER SOAKING
  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • 10 ounces cauliflower pieces about 3 cups
  • 1 cup plant milk I used oat milk
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice bottled is fine
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper ground
  • pinch nutmeg

Instructions

  • Soak the raw cashews for about 30-45 minutes in very hot water. Discard the water after soaking. See notes if you are not using raw cashews.
  • Steam the cauliflower until tender. This takes about 10 minutes on the stovetop and 4 minutes in the microwave in a steamer.
  • Drain and discard the water from the cashews and make sure there is no standing water in the cauliflower.
  • To a high-speed blender, add the soaked and drained cashews, steamed cauliflower, plant milk, clove of garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, Italian seasonings, black pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Blend on high for up to five minutes or until your alfredo sauce is nice and smooth.
  • If you use right away it might still be warm enough to use because of the steamed cauliflower. You can heat to desired temperate in the microwave in 1-2 minute increments. Or heat on a stovetop, stirring the entire time to avoid burning.
  • Store in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days as long as your cauliflower was quite fresh. Otherwise, use right away.

Notes

This recipe makes 10 half-cup servings. The nutrition information is based on this. If you use more or less, you will need to adjust for that. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 70kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 217mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg
By on October 22nd, 2021

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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