Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo. Rich and creamy. It’s an Italian classic. Typically, it’s loaded with butter and parmesan (and quite possibly cream). Not this one! This recipe, as irresistible as it is, is actually dairy-free! Yes, vegan!
So what’s the secret to a tasty vegan Alfredo sauce? Well, it’s cashew-based…and made with some onions and garlic, then blended into a smooth, creamy sauce with vegetable broth. But wait, there’s more. The secret for creating flavor is a little nutritional yeast (plus lemon, because I love lemon). Yes, let me repeat it… nutritional yeast…that weirdly awesome flaky stuff that makes the perfect vegan replacement for parmesan cheese.
Here’s why nutritional yeast deserves a spot in your kitchen
Although I’ll never give up my love of the real thing — Parmigiano-Reggiano — there are reasons why nutritional yeast finds a place in my kitchen. First of all, it’s an excellent source of B vitamins, thiamin, folate, niacin and riboflavin, which are all important for healthy nutrition. Reason number two: it has a deliciously savory, cheesy-like, umami flavor to any dish. There’s a reason vegans are obsessed with it!
And I want to tell you, I am convinced that there’s no way in the world that you will be able to tell the difference between this vegan Alfredo pasta recipe and a regular ol’ Italian classic Alfredo sauce. Okay, maybe a little. But if you are like me and don’t do a lot of dairy, then for sure there is no difference. I tested it on my favorite Schwabe’s teenage son, and NEVER ever would he have guessed it is vegan. So as far as I am concerned, this rich and creamy Alfredo sauce is as good as the original…and possibly even better. But, I’ll let you be the judge. 😉
I particularly love the taste of roasted cauliflower together with this creamy vegan sauce, which I guess is why a lot of vegan Alfredo recipes are made with cauliflower or mix of cauliflower and cashews. True love. So give this recipe a try and if you love it, then double it up for next time.
Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo with Roasted Cauliflower
For the vegan Alfredo sauce:
- 2 small yellow onions, chopped
- 1 cup vegetable broth, separated (250 ml)
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 75 g raw unsalted cashews, soaked overnight in hot water, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (organic food store)
For the roasted cauliflower:
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 400 g Fettuccine or other favorite pasta of choice
In a medium non-stick saucepan, add the onion and 1/2 cup (125 ml) broth. Heat over medium to medium-high heat and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion is very tender and the broth reduced. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. If there is still broth remaining, continue cooking until completely evaporated.
Transfer to a blender. Add another 1/2 cup (125 ml) broth, plus the salt, pepper, soaked cashews, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast.
Blend on high until very creamy and smooth. Add more broth, if needed, to reach the desired consistency. Taste and season with more salt and pepper (or more nutritional yeast), if desired.
Meanwhile, prepare the roasted cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Transfer the cauliflower florets to the baking sheet. Toss with oil and place flat side down. Season with a few good pinches of salt and pepper. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 25 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.
Cook pasta according to package directions in a well salted pot of water. Reserve 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the pasta water. Drain and add the Alfredo sauce to the pasta, plus a little pasta water to thin it out, if desired.
Top with the roasted cauliflower and garnish with fresh chives or parsley. Enjoy!
If only making dinner for two, then you may have some leftover sauce (depending on how saucy you like to your pasta). Store it in a sealed container in the fridge. You can expect it to thicken up overnight, which you can thin out with a little broth or pasta cooking water when reheating.
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