Creamy fettuccine Alfredo is one of the most elemental delights of Italian cuisine. The smooth, rich, and cheesy Alfredo sauce cloaking each strand of pasta makes this dish an all-time family favorite. How does this vegan fettuccine Alfredo compare to the dairy-based classic? You be the judge.
When you think of comfort food, what comes to mind? Home-cooked mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, a big slice of warm apple pie? Everyone has their favorite comfort food and we don’t only turn to it when we’re upset. It’s something we reward ourselves with. The downside is that unhealthy high-calorie comfort food is usually at the top of everyone’s list. Not many people crave a bowl of steamed broccoli or kale.
The good news is that there is a way to make your favorite comfort food healthier. Remember my mac & cheese sauce made entirely from veggies? If you enjoyed it, here is another veggie-packed comfort food for you: vegan fettuccine Alfredo. since most of us are on a constant quest to eat more vegetables anyway, why not add some vegetables into our favorite comfort dishes?
Tips for Making Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
Traditional Alfredo sauce has butter, milk, cream, and Parmesan cheese (or other cheeses) in it. A blend of two ingredients – cauliflower and cashews – is a great alternative to all that dairy. Cooked and pureed cauliflower creates a perfect light and silky base while cashews add richness and creaminess. Both cauliflower and cashews have also a very mild flavor, which can be pushed in many different directions.
To get the cheesy Alfredo sauce flavor, I add plenty of nutritional yeast and salt. Parmesan cheese, as opposed to nutritional yeast, is pretty salty. So don’t be afraid of salt. If, after you toss everything together, it tastes a little bland, add a little more salt.
Onions and garlic are the flavor base for pretty much any savory dish, including this vegan fettuccine Alfredo. Cooked onions give dishes a rich umami flavor and a subtle sweetness while garlic adds a nice bite. You don’t always know onions and garlic are present once a dish has been spiced, but you’d definitely miss them.
Finally, I add a little bit of lemon juice to brighten the Alfredo sauce up.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to good flavor. Onions and garlic almost always need at least a brief sweat in a little bit of oil before you add the remaining ingredients.
When the onion and garlic become translucent (be sure they don’t turn brown), you can add the cauliflower, cashews, and almond milk. It’s not necessary to cook the cauliflower longer than for a few minutes because we’ll blend all the ingredients anyway. I usually let the cauliflower simmer for about 5 minutes.
To create a silky smooth sauce, I use a high-speed blender. However, you can achieve a smooth puree even with a food processor. A food processor won’t give you the best result, but it is the best alternative to a blender.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Blender (Vitamix 5200) | 2. Cookware Set (Calphalon, Stainless Steel) | 3. Knife Set (6 Pieces, Utopia, Stainless Steel) | 4. Cutting Board (24″x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 5. Measuring Cup (1 Cup, Pyrex, Glass) | 6. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Stainless Steel) | 7. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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- 10 oz. fettuccine pasta*
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 cups cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- salt, to taste**
- black pepper
In a medium-size pot, heat up the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute until softened and fragrant, but not browned.
Add the cauliflower florets, cashews, almond milk and bring it to a boil. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the cauliflower becomes tender.
In a high-speed blender, add all the ingredients - the cooked onion, garlic, cauliflower, cashews, and almond milk together with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt. Blend until smooth.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the fettuccine pasta and boil for the time instructed on the package. Drain pasta.
Add cauliflower sauce into the pot (you can use the same pot!) and add the drained pasta. Heat over low-medium until heated enough to your liking. Salt again to taste (the pasta dilutes the flavor). Serve with freshly cracked blacked pepper.
Store leftover fettuccine Alfredo covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
*I used quinoa fettuccine to make the dish gluten-free, but you can use any fettuccine you like.
**Start with 3/4 tsp. (4.4 g) salt and add more as needed.