Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

WOW! This vegan fettuccine alfredo tastes decadent, but the creamy sauce is filled with healthy plant based ingredients. An easy dinner in under 30 minutes!

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

Dinnertime just got easier. This vegan fettuccine alfredo is a winner with everyone from kids to meat lovers: it’s just that good! The impossibly creamy sauce is a healthy spin on the traditionally rich pasta. It’s made with nutrient-dense cauliflower and protein-packed cashews instead of dairy. Make it with any type of noodle you choose (legume noodles, zoodles, etc) and it’s an easy 30-minute plant based dinner. Ready for all the secrets?

What people are saying

Alex and I sent this recipe to some friends and family who are close enough to us that they tell us their true opinion! Here’s what they had to say about this vegan fettucine alfredo:

  • “YUM! I love it! It’s super easy to make. I made it again 2 days later!” -Lisa
  • “This is the best vegan alfredo sauce! It’s my new go-to. It had just the right amount of creaminess and the seasoning was on point! Some recipes say the sauce is creamy and it comes out a little runny. This one is actually creamy!” -Maeghan
Vegan alfredo sauce

What’s in vegan fettuccine alfredo?

Who would have known that blending up a few veggies and nuts could create a creamy sauce that tastes like dairy? These days, there are so many inventive vegan recipe concepts for making creamy sauces. With this one, Alex and I wanted to use cauliflower to make a white sauce like our Cauliflower Sauce, but remove the Parmesan cheese. Here’s what we ended up with for this recipe:

Cook the ingredients for about 10 minutes on the stove. Then blend them until a creamy sauce forms and mix that with the noodles. Voila! You’ve got vegan fettuccine alfredo, an easy plant based dinner recipe in 30 minutes!

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

Is pasta healthy?

Good question. A new study found pasta can actually help you lose weight. The Italian researchers found that eaten in moderation, pasta can be part of a healthy diet. This is a full 180 of conventional wisdom, right? Alex and I have been enjoying pasta in moderation for years—so we’re glad it’s back in good graces.

Other noodle ideas!

There are lots of other options for pasta in this vegan fettuccine alfredo, especially if you eat a gluten free diet. Here are some options you could try:

  • Legume Based Pasta: Pasta made from lentils is becoming much more widespread these days. It can be made from black beans, lentils, or chickpeas. Alex and I have tried a few brands and found the texture is a little tough for us: but other people rave about it! We’re open to your suggestions in the comments below.
  • Zucchini Noodles: Making this pasta with vegetable noodles like Zucchini Noodles would also be tasty! You can make your own or they’re easy to find prepackaged.
Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

How to cook pasta to al dente

If you’re using standard pasta for this vegan fettuccine alfredo, you absolutely must cook it to al dente. What’s al dente? In Italian it means “to the bite.” It refers to pasta that is still firm on the inside when cooked. The ideal al dente texture is a tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core. Here’s how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • While cooking, check pasta continually for doneness.
  • As soon as the pasta has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core, drain it! Even a few seconds can be the difference between al dente and limp noodles.
Vegan alfredo sauce in blender

What to do with leftover alfredo sauce?

The sauce for this vegan fettuccine alfredo makes 6 cups total. Alex and I measured, and for our taste we liked using about 5 cups of alfredo sauce for 1 pound of pasta. That means, you’ll have about 1 cup leftover after making 1 pound of pasta.

What to do with the leftover sauce? Refrigerate it (obviously). Of course, you can use it on pasta again. But here are a few more creative ideas of how to use it up:

This vegan fettuccine alfredo recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free, legume or zucchini noodles.

Print
Vegan fettucine alfredo

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (61 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

WOW! This vegan fettuccine alfredo tastes decadent, but the creamy sauce is filled with healthy plant based ingredients. An easy dinner in under 30 minutes!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fettuccine noodles (use gluten-free, legume, or zucchini noodles if desired)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small head cauliflower (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), enough for 6 cups florets
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 + 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Finely chopped parsley, to serve

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlicChop the cauliflower.
  2. Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  3. Meanwhile, start the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, pot, or saucepan (that has a cover) over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cashews and saute for 4 minutes until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, onion powder, black pepper, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes on medium high heat until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a fork.
  4. Blend the sauce: Carefully transfer the contents to a blender and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon more black pepper. Blend on high until a smooth sauce forms.
  5. Serve: Pour about 5 cups into 1 pound pasta (1 cup will be left over), or use it to taste. Top with finely chopped parsley and serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta

Keywords: Vegan Fettucine Alfredo

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

34 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily
    January 13, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    I’m so excited to try this! Could you use riced cauliflower or does it have to be florets?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 13, 2020 at 4:33 pm

      I think riced would work, but we haven’t tried it. Please let us know if you do!

  • Reply
    Molly
    January 18, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    I think there is a typo. Under “2. Make the pasta”, spinach is mentioned. I do not see spinach as an ingredient. Thanks! Looking forward to trying the recipe!

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      January 18, 2020 at 8:54 pm

      Spinach shouldn’t be there. THANKS & updated!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 24, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    How long can you store this and will it reheat well?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 24, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      It can last 2-3 days in the fridge, but definitely loses a bit of flavor.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    February 2, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Hi! Can extra sauce be frozen for the next use?
    Thanks!
    Sarah

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 3, 2020 at 10:04 am

      We haven’t tried it but I think it would freeze well!

    • Reply
      Leah
      May 28, 2020 at 1:31 pm

      Yes, it freezes well!

  • Reply
    Beverly
    February 4, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Do you add the broth when you blend? It was mash instead of a creamy texture.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 5, 2020 at 9:32 am

      You can definitely add a bit more broth if necessary to get it to come together!

  • Reply
    Vivien
    February 20, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    You guys! This was truly delicious! However the consistency of my sauce looks nothing like yours – I used a food processor but mine came out with more of an oatmealy consistency. Still really, really good nonetheless!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 21, 2020 at 9:03 am

      If you keep running it in the food processor, it should get creamier. It’s definitely easier with a high speed blender.

  • Reply
    revi
    February 27, 2020 at 2:43 am

    do the cashews need to be soaked?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 27, 2020 at 9:57 am

      No, they soften as they simmer in the sauce.

  • Reply
    Doc
    April 15, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    I expected the sauce to contain some nutritional yeast to add a cheesy tang, but it is not there. I use it to make vegan cheese and I expect that it would contribute to the flavor here as well since the intent is to replicate a cheese sauce.

    • Reply
      Kris
      May 28, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      I actually like it without the nutritional yeast. Perhaps I’ll try adding just a dash to see how it tastes. But I feel like so many vegan recipes use it and I’m not fond of the strong taste, especially after saving overnight. That’s why I LOVE this recipe! Just tried it last night! My husband was in a meeting when I gave him the plate, and he actually text me to say he loved it too.

  • Reply
    Kati
    April 23, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Can you mix the sauce into the pasta then put it in a casserole dish to stay warm in the oven?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      April 23, 2020 at 8:18 pm

      Great question! How long were you thinking of keeping it warm in the oven? If it’s for a short period, that would work. If it’s longer, the sauce could dry out. The best way would be to keep the sauce separate from the pasta, then heat it and mix it together right when you’re ready to serve.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 27, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    My daughter is sensitive to cashews. Can you suggest an alternative to cashews?
    Thanks for the recipes

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      April 27, 2020 at 9:52 pm

      Sorry! The cashews are essential to our vegan version of this recipe.

    • Reply
      Seanna
      May 25, 2020 at 11:55 am

      I use walnuts myself also I heard sunflower seeds are good

    • Reply
      Leah
      May 26, 2020 at 8:34 pm

      Our family just made it with raw sunflower seeds and it was really good! The only change we had to make was adding more salt at the end (1 tsp after blended instead of 1/2 tsp).

  • Reply
    David
    May 14, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    I’ve tried a few recipes on your site and have loved them all EXCEPT this one. I was disappointed to find this sauce very bland.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 14, 2020 at 3:26 pm

      I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Monica
    May 23, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Just recently started a plant-based diet for health reasons and was looking for some dairy-free pasta recipes to try. I was so happy to find this recipe. I cooked it tonight and it was fantastic! I used roasted, sea salt cashews and added a little almond milk to the mixture to get the consistency a bit creamier. I definitely had to leave it in the food processor for a longer time to get the right consistency. My toddlers loved it and even the hubby (who is a meat & sweets fanatic) enjoyed it. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 23, 2020 at 10:25 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Kris
    May 28, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    For those looking for a way to enjoy pasta with less guilt, I use a vegetable peeler to make carrot strips and mix them into the pasta during the last few seconds of boiling. That way – with the cauliflower based sauce – my meal is more than half veggies!

  • Reply
    aussiebushgirl
    May 31, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Yum! You weren’t wrong about this sauce. My husband and I devoured it with gusto last night – lots of oohing and aahing between us! Upside, zero acid reflux, so a very big hit and a keeper! Thank you.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 1, 2020 at 12:36 pm

      Haha! Glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Vanina
    June 29, 2020 at 2:03 am

    This is a GREAT recipe! Thank you. I was not sure my daughter was going to like it but she asked for seconds! I also like that you don’t have to soak the cashews.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 29, 2020 at 10:02 am

      So glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    July 2, 2020 at 8:01 am

    I made this for dinner last night and, although I think it lacked seasoning, this was a good base recipe! I used macadamia nuts instead of cashews because I had them handy and they worked well. I added more of all listed seasonings as well as lemon juice, nutritional yeast, red pepper, and basil.

    • Reply
      Ceres
      July 4, 2020 at 9:52 am

      I did something similar, I’ve added 2 tbsp of Nutritional Yeast and around 1/2 tsp of lemon zest to the recipe and it was a much needed addition that made the sauce taste amazing.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.