Creamy, cheesy, garlicky goodness all in one sauce! This simple Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo recipe uses a combination of cauliflower and cashews as the base of the sauce, while savory mushrooms and nutritional yeast make it a plant based favorite.
Do you ever miss fettuccine alfredo on a plant based diet? Sure vegan mac and cheese is tasty, but miss that delicious addictive white sauce that is alfredo? Well, miss no more! This recipe has got your taste buds covered!
Ten years ago when I first started making this recipe, the vegan restaurant Cafe Gratitude in Los Angeles was all the rage. It was one of the hip places to go if you were vegan, trying to be vegan, or just wanted to see what all the hype was about. At the time, to dine there was both an inspiring and mind opening experience as a young plant based chef.
Around that same time, Cafe Gratitude put out a cookbook which showcased many of their most popular and sought after recipes. In the cookbook, there was a chapter dedicated to nut based vegan cheese recipes. For the most part the cheese recipes were cashew based, simple, and only required a blender or food processor.
Who knew making plant based cheese sauce could be so easy!?!
I was so inspired by the book that I decided to take everything that I had learned and create my own vegan alfredo sauce. When I first began creating the recipe, I only used cashews as the base. It was good, really good, but it lacked the smoothness that one desires when eating an alfredo sauce. It needed more complexity. Cauliflower based vegan alfredo sauces were a thing around that time too, but I found them to be so much cauliflower and not enough depth or dimension to please my palate.
Cauliflower & Cashews
So I thought to myself, what if I just take the two versions and combine them together. That would produce a vegan alfredo sauce that is smooth in texture, but not too watery while still creating layers of flavor with the cashews and nutritional yeast.
And with that idea I dove deeper into recipe testing.
Just oh so much contemplation over cauliflower versus cashews versus both! It's silly, right!?! Well, welcome to my brain in recipe development mode.
Fortunately for my mental well being, after an attempt or two, I created this delicious version. It's creamy, vegan cheesy good with mushrooms and lots of garlic to give it a boom in flavor!
What Ingredients Are Needed?
Aside from the fettuccine, cauliflower and mushrooms, this recipe requires the standard ingredients to make almost any cheese inspired plant based dish.
- Raw Cashews
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes
- Vegan Butter
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
The most important ingredients in this recipe are the cashews, cauliflower, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt. Together they create a base for the sauce that is smooth in texture and savory in taste.
The mushrooms and fresh garlic create an addictive umami flavor that adds a richness to the plant based version of this dish. I used white mushrooms, but you can use any type of mushrooms you like. Cremini or shiitake mushrooms would add even more mushroomy goodness.
Classic fettuccine noodles were used in this recipe, but any type of pasta will work.
How to Make Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo Sauce
This recipe is quick and easy to make as long as you have a food processor or blender. Make sure to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you begin.
You will need to soak your raw cashews overnight the day before you make the alfredo sauce. Don't worry if you forget this step. There is a shortcut that will save the day! Just put your raw cashews in a saucepan, cover the nuts with water, and bring them to a boil. Once the cashews are boiling, cover the saucepan with a lid, and remove it from the heat. Then allow the cashews to sit for 15 minutes so that they have time to soften up. Drain the nuts and set aside.
To begin making the alfredo bring the cauliflower to a boil in salted water and cook until nice and soft. Next, drain the cauliflower, but do not discard the cooking water. It will be used in a later step of the recipe.
Start getting the salted pasta water ready. You want the water to be boiling and ready for your fettuccine in a few minutes.
Now that you have your cauliflower cooked and cashews softened it's time to start making the sauce. To do this, add the cauliflower, cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and ½ cup of the cauliflower cooking water to your blender or food processor. Puree the mixture to a smooth consistency adding more of the cauliflower cooking water as needed to reach a smooth creamy sauce that is thin enough to coat noodles, but not watery. After you get it nice and creamy set the sauce aside.
It's time to start cooking your pasta. The remaining steps of the recipe only take a few minutes.
Saute the right way to get the best flavors
Add the grapeseed oil and minced garlic to a large, cold saute pan. Turn the heat on to medium and cook the garlic for about 2-3 minutes until it gives off a fragrant garlicky aroma.
Next, add in the vegan butter and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt to the melted butter and garlic. Cook for another 3-4 minutes by moving the mushrooms around the pan to cook evenly.
To finish the sauce, pour the pureed vegan alfredo mixture into the saute pan with the mushrooms. Cook for another 3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together as the sauce heats back up.
Now taste the alfredo sauce with the mushrooms and season with salt to your liking.
When the fettuccine is done, drain the noodles, and add the sauce to the hot pasta. Taste again for salt and season more if needed. Do remember that if you are garnishing with vegan parmesan cheese it will add salt to the dish.
To serve, top the completed dish with fresh chopped parsley and vegan parmesan cheese.
People love this Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo because it's...
- Creamy and comforting
- Filling but healthy
- Quick and easy
- Garlicky good
Leftovers & Variations
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. To reheat, add the pasta to a saute pan with a little water and heat at a medium. temperature.
For a different variation of the recipe use any type of mushroom or mixture of mushrooms you wish. If you don't like mushrooms you could easily use broccoli or peas in their place. For a more traditional alfredo sauce omit the fresh garlic and mushrooms altogether.
I hope you enjoy this vegan fettuccine alfredo recipe! You don't have to miss out on this classic pasta dish every again just because you eat a plant based diet.
If you try this recipe please let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and rating. You can also hashtag #danceswithknives with a photo of your creation on Instagram where you can find me @dances_with_knives.
If you would like to stay up to date with my latest recipes please subscribe to my email list.
Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo with Garlicky Mushrooms
- 16oz fettuccine pasta (gluten free or regular)
- 1 lb cauliflower florets (about 1 medium head)
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
- 7 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ to 1 cup of the cauliflower cooking water
- 1 tsp grapeseed or olive oil
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced (use any type of mushroom)
- ½ tsp sea salt (this will vary depending on taste)
- Fresh chopped parsley
- Vegan parmesan cheese (click here for recipe)
- If you weren't able to or forgot to soak your cashews overnight, don't worry there is a shortcut. Just put the raw cashews in a saucepan, cover them with water, and bring them to a boil. Once the cashews come to boil, cover the saucepan with a lid, remove from the heat, and let them sit for 15 minutes to soften up. Then drain and set aside.
- Boil the cauliflower florets in salted water until good and done. Then drain, but do not discard the cooking water. You will need it in a later step of the recipe.
- Get your salted pasta water prepped by turning it on to come to a boil. You don't want to add your fettuccine just yet, but having it ready will save you time.
- Add the cauliflower, cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and ½ cup of the cauliflower cooking water to your blender or food processor. Puree to a smooth texture. Add more of the cooking water as needed to reach a consistency that is smooth like sauce, but not thin like water. Creamy like a traditional white sauce.
- Start cooking your noodles now. Don't forget to set a timer.
- Now, in a cold saute pan add the grapeseed oil and garlic. Turn the heat on to medium to cook the garlic for about about 2 minutes until you can smell the aroma. You don't want to turn the heat on until after you add the oil and garlic because you aren't trying to brown the garlic. You just want it to soften up and sweat. Too high of a heat will burn delicate garlic.
- Add the vegan butter to the saute pan with the garlic. Once the vegan butter is melted add the mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt and cook at medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Move the mushrooms around the pan until they are evenly cooked.
- When the mushrooms are done add the cauliflower mixture to the saute pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium to let the flavors meld together.
- Taste your sauce and season with salt to your liking.
- When the pasta is ready, drain and add the sauce to the hot noodles. Taste again to season as needed.
- To serve, top with vegan parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley, and ground black pepper.