Vegan Alfredo Sauce
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut with pasta dishes, try my vegan alfredo sauce! I love turning to pasta for some quick and easy meals. However, if you’re like me, sometimes red sauce or butter just doesn’t hit the spot. That’s no reason to turn away from pasta; in fact pasta is a shelf-stable food that can be a great way to add extra nutrients into our diet. This vegan alfredo sauce uses ingredients you likely have on hand, including cashews, non-dairy milk alternatives, onion and spices! It’s delicious and 100% approved by the dairy-lovers in my life. So let’s dive in!
How To Prepare Vegan Alfredo Sauce
This vegan alfredo sauce can be made in just minutes! While you boil the pasta water, boil another 2-3 cups of water separately. Once the separate pot of water is boiling, remove it from the heat and pour the water over the cashews (to save on dishes, pour the cashews and boiling water directly into your high-powered blender).
In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Then, add the onion. Cook the onion until it’s translucent (~5 min). From there, add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant (~30 seconds). Add the onion and garlic to the blender, along with the lemon juice, thyme, salt, pepper and non-dairy milk. Blend until smooth. Drain your pasta and coat it with this luscious and creamy sauce.
What is a Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet is a type of vegetarianism where no animal products are consumed. This includes traditional animal products like cow’s milk dairy, beef, chicken and fish, but also foods like honey. One might choose a vegan diet for ethical reasons or due to allergies. A vegan diet consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, oils, and whole grains.
Health Benefits of Vegan Alfredo Sauce
The main ingredient in my vegan alfredo sauce are cashews, a type of tree nut. So you may be asking yourself, what are the health benefits? That’s a great question.
Cashews are nuts that are high in healthy fats, like mono and polyunsaturated fat (it’s their fat content that gives the vegan alfredo sauce such a creamy and smooth consistency).1 Healthy fats like these are essential for our body. In fact one study found that when cashews took the place of potato chips (a food item with a similar carbohydrate, protein and fat distribution but higher in saturated fat) in the American diet, those who consumed cashews had lower total and LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol.1
The fat in cashews is also needed for other health benefits. This includes absorption fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K).2 Of the fat-soluble vitamins, cashews contain vitamin E and vitamin K.3 Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in the body, while vitamin K assists in blood clotting.2
Other nutrients found in cashews that provide health benefits include protein, phosphorus and potassium.3 These nutrients assist in bone health and heart health!4,5 There are no guilty feelings indulging in my vegan alfredo sauce!
- Mah E, Schulz JA, Kaden VN, et al. Cashew consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;105(5):1070-1078. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.150037
- Arnarson A. The Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E and K. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fat-soluble-vitamins#vita. Published February 16, 2017. Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Olsen N. Health benefits of cashews. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/309369#nutrition. Published June 18, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Phosphorus in diet: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002424.htm. Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Carter A. Everything you need to know about potassium. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287212#deficiency. Published January 10, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2020.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk cashew/soy/coconut milk or vegetable broth also work
- Boil 2-3 cups water. Pour the water over the cashews and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain.
- In a small pan over medium heat, add oil. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the cashews, sautéed onion and garlic, and all other ingredients to a high-powered blend and blend until smooth.
- Mix 6 servings of your favorite cooked pasta or hearty grain (such as farro) with the vegan alfredo sauce.