30-Minute Cashew Alfredo

Consider this the only vegan alfredo sauce you need.

It’s the perfect dairy-free alternative to classic alfredo sauce! Plus, just 7 ingredients and 30 minutes required. Let’s do this!

Origins of Alfredo

While fettuccini alfredo originated in Italy, it’s not the cream-based sauce you might think! We were surprised too! It turns out that the authentic Italian version is made with just pasta, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

It’s believed that the dish was created in Rome, Italy by Alfredo di Lelio for his pregnant wife. Then in the early 1900s, he served it at his restaurant to Hollywood actors who loved the dish and brought the concept to the US. It became a popular dish and somewhere along the way, cream was added.

Our plant-based version is not traditional and more closely resembles the richness of the cream-based Americanized adaptation.

How to Make Cashew Alfredo

The base of this alfredo is quick-soaked cashews in very hot water so they soften quickly. Then it’s a matter of flavor: nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for kick and depth of flavor, salt for saltiness, and a bit of almond milk for texture. Arrowroot powder adds thickness and helps the sauce get a bit “stringy” like real cheese!

I hope you all enjoy this aflredo sauce! It’s:

Fast & Easy
& Incredibly delicious

This would make the perfect sauce for zucchini noodle pasta or your favorite pasta (I prefer gluten-free fusilli!). Top with Slow Roasted Tomatoes for even more flavor! This sauce could also pair well with baked lasagnas, served with my Eggplant Parmesan, or even used as a white sauce on pizzas.

For more Italian-inspired dishes, check out our Simple Chickpea Bolognese, Eggplant Lasagna Roll-Ups, Easy Vegan Pizza, Spicy Red Lentil Pasta, and Vegan Pesto Parmesan Breadsticks!

If you try this recipe, let us know by leaving a comment and/or rating, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Recipe updated 10/18/17 to include more almond milk for thinner texture, and noting arrowroot as optional.

30-Minute Cashew Alfredo

Creamy, saucy cashew alfredo in 30 minutes! The perfect plant-based sauce for all your pasta night needs.Author Minimalist Baker Print SAVE SAVED

4.81 from 84 votes Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 5 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Servings 6 (1/4-cup servings)Course SauceCuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, VeganFreezer Friendly 1 monthDoes it keep? 3-4 Days

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US Customary – Metric


1 1/4 cups raw cashews (soaked)1 Tbsp arrowroot starch (optional)3-4 Tbsp nutritional yeast2-3 cloves garlic* (crushed)1/2 tsp sea salt1-2 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)1-2 cups unsweetened plain almond or rice milk (plus more as needed)

FOR SERVING optional

10 ounces pasta (GF or regular – I like Trader Joe’s GF fusilli)Vegan Parmesan CheeseRoasted Tomatoes


Soak cashews in very hot water for 20 minutes. Then drain and add to a high-speed blender.To blender, also add arrowroot starch (for thickening), nutritional yeast, garlic, sea salt, vegan parmesan cheese, and lesser amount of  unsweetened dairy-free milk (1 cup (240 ml) as original recipe is written).Blend on high until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more garlic for kick/zing, nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan cheese for cheesy flavor, salt for saltiness, or dairy-free milk if too thick.Transfer to a rimmed skillet and cook over medium-low to medium heat for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. The sauce should thicken and bubble. Add more dairy-free milk as needed to thin (I typically add up to 1/2 – 1 cup (120-240ml) more // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Then it’s ready to serve!Enjoy with zucchini noodles or your favorite pasta. It could even be enjoyed layered in lasagna! Top with additional Vegan Parmesan Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes for more flavor.



*2-3 cloves garlic yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp crushed garlic.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without additional toppings / garnishes or pasta.
*Prep time does not indicate total hands-on prep time, but also includes prep completed while other items are cooking.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup servings Calories: 166 Carbohydrates: 10.8 g Protein: 4.8 g Fat: 12.7 g Saturated Fat: 2.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 176 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Sugar: 1.4 g

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