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Vegan Alfredo Sauce

This vegan alfredo sauce is incredibly rich and creamy. It’s a cashew-based, dairy-free alfredo sauce with a deliciously savory, cheesy-like flavor.

This vegan alfredo sauce is incredibly rich and creamy. It's a cashew-based, dairy-free alfredo sauce with a deliciously savory, cheesy-like flavor.

I’m so excited about this alfredo sauce recipe that I don’t even know where to start. It’s a vegan alfredo sauce. A dairy-free alfredo sauce. And a deliciously rich and creamy alfredo sauce that you’ll love even if you’re not vegan or dairy-free. Are you with me?

I’m not vegan or dairy-free (I’m what you’d consider dairy-light) but I love to create recipe options for those of you who are. Because as a gluten-free gal I know a thing or two about food restrictions and how exciting it can be to enjoy a classic recipe. Even if it is slightly modified.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’re familiar with my affinity for cashews and their amazing ability to morph into creamy, dreamy, dairy-like recipes. My homemade Cashew Milk, Vegan Caramel Cheesecake, Cashew Date Shake and Macadamia Cashew Butter are just a few examples.

Well, let me introduce you a new creamy, dreamy, cheesy recipe (though it has no cheese) – my Vegan Alfredo Sauce.

This vegan alfredo sauce is incredibly rich and creamy. It's a cashew-based, dairy-free alfredo sauce with a deliciously savory, cheesy-like flavor.

This vegan alfredo sauce is incredibly rich and creamy. It's a cashew-based, dairy-free alfredo sauce with a deliciously savory, cheesy-like flavor.

This vegan alfredo sauce is incredibly rich and creamy. It's a cashew-based, dairy-free alfredo sauce with a deliciously savory, cheesy-like flavor.

How to Make this Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Cashews that have been soaked overnight form the base of this alfredo sauce. Just toss those in a high powered blender along with garlic, lemon juice, onion and some herbs. But the secret ingredient, the one that gives this alfredo sauce that wonderful cheesy flavor is nutritional yeast.

If you’ve never cooked with nutritional yeast before, it’s small little flakes (about the size of large sea salt flakes) of deactivated yeast which provides a nutty, cheese-like flavor. Nutritional yeast is also a significant source of B Vitamins.

Blend everything together and voila – a super simple and amazingly delicious vegan alfredo sauce. I should mention that this sauce does thicken up as it’s stored in the fridge and sometimes while you’re cooking with it. If that happens and you want a thinner sauce, just add more water.

So what do you do with this sauce? I’d start with topping it on every spiralized veggie imaginable. In fact, to get you started I’ve whipped up a Parsnip Noodle Chicken Alfredo. If you’re vegan, just replace the chicken with snap peas or another vegetable. You can also top this alfredo sauce on roasted vegetables or potatoes. So good.

Enjoy!

This vegan alfredo sauce is incredibly rich and creamy. It's a cashew-based, dairy-free alfredo sauce with a deliciously savory, cheesy-like flavor.

This vegan alfredo sauce is incredibly rich and creamy. It's a cashew-based, dairy-free alfredo sauce with a deliciously savory, cheesy-like flavor.
4.98 from 35 votes
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Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
This vegan alfredo sauce is a cashew-based, dairy-free alfredo sauce with a deliciously savory, cheesy-like flavor. Add it to spiralized vegetable noodles, potatoes and many other dishes.
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • After the cashews have soaked overnight (or at least 6 hours), drain and rinse them.
  • Add the cashews and all other ingredients to a high-powered blend and blend until smooth.
  • Use immediately in a recipe or store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Lisa's Tips

  • The recipe makes approximately 1 cup of sauce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 223.5kcal, Carbohydrates: 16.5g, Protein: 10.5g, Fat: 14.5g, Saturated Fat: 2.5g, Sodium: 597.3mg, Fiber: 3.6g, Sugar: 3.3g
Course: Appetizer, sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cashew Alfredo, Dairy free Alfredo Sauce, Vegan Alfredo Recipe, Vegan Alfredo Sauce
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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192 comments on “Vegan Alfredo Sauce”

  1. Can you substitute cashew butter? I want to make this tonight, but haven’t planned ahead to soak cashews!

    • Hi Murika – Cashew butter is made from blended raw (unsoaked) cashews. The importance of soaking the cashews is make them soft and bring out the nuts natural creaminess. If you soak the cashews in hot water or even boiling water for 1-2 hours you may be able to speed up the soaking process. But my recommendation is to follow the recipe for best results.

  2. Do you think this would last if I make a large batch and freeze some?

  3. Great base recipe. I work with cashew sauces daily at work so I did it a little different. Because cashews thicken so much when heated, I doubled all of the seasonings and added 1.5 more cups water. Also substituted .5tsp kala namak for equal amount of salt. I used white pepper instead of black to help keep the sauce monochromatic. And finally I did process the rosemary in spice grinder to a powder before adding. After processing all the ingredients in my blender, I heated the sauce up over medium heat adding the the extra water a 1/4 cup at a time until the sauce was hot and the consistency I wanted.
    Next time I may triple the seasonings and keep in mind that with the added water you will yield a lot more sauce then the recipe states.

  4. OMG this sauce is amazing. I didnt have rosemary so i used thyme and left out the yeast. The sauce was creamy and thick since i added a litte less water. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  5. I’ve been on a quest to find my trigger foods because I have a lot of stomach issues, and at present I’m avoiding onion to see if that helps. Can I leave the onion out altogether, would it taste the same? I really want to make your WHOLE30 CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE (PALEO) but don’t know if it will taste the same without the onions in the sauce. Any thoughts?

  6. So yummy and healthy!!! I am vegan and was looking for a vegan Alfredo sauce and saw this recipe. Tried it and everyone in my house just loved it.

  7. Can’t wait to try this! Is it possible to make without a high-powered blender?

  8. My husband has an onion intolerance. Do you think I can substitute the diced onion with powder?

  9. THIS WAS SOOOO GOOD!!! I loved it!

  10. I was skeptical but let me tell you this is the most delicious sauce ever! Way better than a regular Alfredo, so much flavour! I’ve sent it to everyone I know haha

  11. Amazing sauce, totally perfect. I sent to a friend and she said “OMG drool”, I said “just check out her whole site and subscribe to her YouTube, it’s amazing” :)

  12. I don’t know what I did wrong but this turned out terrible for me. It was a runny mess and tasted just like onions and garlic. And I don’t kknow how yours turned out white because mine had a yellow-ish color from the nutritional yeast. Any suggestions? 

    • Unfortunately, I don’t know what you did either but as you can see from the reviews below it’s one of my top recipes. Perhaps you want to double check the ingredients and quantities to make sure it wasn’t a simple error. :)

    • Hi!   I just made this for the first time.  It has a slightly yellow hue but that lessened when I blended it longer.  In terms of the runny texture, did you use raw cashews and soak them overnight, then drain and rinse really well?  If so, maybe try adding the water a little at a time after starting to blend the other ingredients.   It’s always disappointing when you look forward to a recipe and it doesn’t turn out.  Good luck!

  13. This pasta sauce is a gem I made some for my family over penne with spinach and mushrooms they absolutely loved it! I just added a little more water, used fresh rosemary, and an extra garlic clove(we love garlic) and it was excellent 

  14. Hi! When you let the cashews soak, do you leave it out on the counter or put it in the fridge as it soaks overnight?

  15. This is by far the best Alfredo sauce, dairy or no dairy. My husband loves Alfredo but has a dairy intolerance he often ignores in order to enjoy it. He couldn’t believe how rich, creamy, and true to flavor this vegan version was. I plan to make a huge batch and freeze as we love Alfredo on pizza, pasta, zoodles, and so on. I’m not going to lie, I could have eaten the whole thing with a spoon. It is THAT good. 

    • Awesome! I’m so happy you both loved the recipe! It’s amazing the things you can do with cashews and I love fooling folks with this dairy-free, vegan alfredo sauce. Haha. ;) x

  16. it’s soooo amazing! i made this and absolutely loved every bite. 

  17. When making this, is it possible to use a vegetable broth rather than the water? Have you tried that?

  18. I made this minus the nutritional yeast and lemon juice (because I didn’t have any) and it tasted amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  19. How much water should the cashew to soak in?

  20. What is the amount of water for soaking cashews?

  21. Omg so yummy!!

  22. This is SOOOOO delicious!! My dairy eating husband and my two toddlers asked for seconds! Hands down this is THE BEST VEGAN ALFREDO that I’ve made. I tossed it with some penne, sautéed mushrooms and steamed broccoli, and it could rival most Italian restaurant recipes!! Thank you so much!!

  23. Is the 3/4 cup water to soak the cashews in or is that added to the sauce in the blender? Thank you!

  24. Best alfredo sauce ever!! I love this recipe!

  25. Tips for reheating? Microwave vs in a sauce pan?

  26. Are there any other nuts you could use instead of cashews? This sounds amazing but husband and I are both allergic to cashews. 

  27. THIS IS HEAVEN. I am strictly dairy-free and have been searching for a creamy pasta sauce for so long. This is the answer. I made it with fresh rosemary and it is absolutely delicious, I could eat it with a spoon. I actually am eating it with a spoon…right out of the blender. Hopefully there’s enough left for dinner…

  28. Would using almond milk instead of the water make the alfredo taste creamier or better?

  29. Can I use almond milk instead of water?

  30. If I use almond milk instead of water will it affect the flavor of the dish? And is it necessary? Because other recipes use almond milk and I was wondering if it made it creamier or if water is fine too.

  31. Made this sauce too today, WOW, just the tastiest. I’ve had a full downshiftology cooking day today and have been thrilled with all the results. Your recipes, photos and videos just make it so clear Lisa. Thanks again. I cant get over how much you do and its all free. I would be happy to pay for a cookbook of yours. You are a star.

  32. Made this for the first time tonight, and wow!! Sooo good and simple to make. My kids loved it too, which is a big plus. No one even new it was vegan! Thank you for the recipe!

  33. Searched “best vegan alfedo” and this one came up. Was drawn to the picture, so, tried it. It really is the best! Had it on zoodles for dinner and breakfast fried sweet potatoes.
    Spaghetti and butternut squash in the oven. Then plans for cauliflower & cheese sauce. YUM!

    THANK YOU for sharing…followed some links. Love your photos too :)

  34. I make this at least once a week. It’s better than dairy-based alfredo sauce. It’s amazing!

    Rating: 5
  35. it’s good!

    Rating: 5
  36. For the cashews, do you use unsalted or salted? Or does it mater since they are soaked overnight?

  37. This was amazing!!! We loved it!! I can’t wait to serve it to my friends!

  38. Is there anything I could use I place of nutritional yeast that would make it taste maybe in the ball park of the original recipe? I can’t eat nutritional yeast unfortunately but have been needing an Alfredo sauce. 

    Rating: 5
    • Unfortunately, nothing else comes to mind that’s dairy-free. Sorry Emily!

    • I like to use miso in my vegan cream sauces as it lends a nice umami, cheesy flavor

    • I can second the miso suggestion. Get the white mellow kind and just taste it, it has a distinct cheesy flavor of its own. It is also very salty, so what I would suggest is replacing the salt in this recipe with it. 1/2 tsp of salt is about 1000mg of sodium, the mellow miso paste I can get locally has 350mg of sodium per tsp, so around 3 tsp of it would give the same amount of sodium. I make the best ranch dressing you could ever imagine using it and the combination of cashews, miso, lemon juice and white vinegar makes a super convincing buttermilk replacement. Happy cooking :)

  39. Ok so I’m very new to this whole30 and Paleo diet, so this may seem like an obvious question. I’m just trying not to mess it up. Do you just use plain water to soak the cashews or do you use something like an almond milk? Like question but seems important to not completely mess up the whole thing. Thanks for your time and look forward to hearing back soon.

  40. So delicious, whats the best way to reheat the sauce?

    Rating: 5
  41. Is there a Nobel prize for recipes? I nominate you! Outstanding!!

    Rating: 5
  42. Soooo I began making one bath of this recipe as above but after I blended it and tasted it, I had to quadruple it! lol So amazingly delicious! Everyone in my family and my guests loved it! This is definitely a make-again recipe! Thank you!

  43. I made the Parsnip Noodle Chicken Alfredo recipe on a day I had four, very picky, unadventurous eaters in my house–a husband, one of my daughters, and two of her children. (Hence their distinction as her children, not as grandchildren, because they come by the pickiness honestly via her kitchen menu.) My mouth waters when I see vegetables. So this was a given for me. But, I had each of them test a sample before filling their bowls. They LOVED it!! And, came back and filled up! There were no leftovers. My only variation was to cut back on the garlic, because it adds heat with a bite. I absolutely LOVED what the nutritional yeast added to the overall flavor. It was a surprisingly honest Alfredo sauce flavor! Great job, overall, with your website. Very impressed, and have shared it with many friends and family members. Just reading the recipes encourages me to keep pulling out my Paderno, Vitamix, Breville, etc., which I have used for years, and to stay focused on experimentation with the different healthy combinations. (My husband says I am the female version of Tim the Toolman when it comes to kitchen equipment. To which, I respond, “Whoot, whoot! How was your dinner tonight, dear?”)

    Rating: 5