Sauce

how to make dairy free alfredo sauce | Family Cuisine

This vegan Alfredo sauce is easy to make and tastes great on pasta, pizza, or as a sauce for vegetables.
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A blend of coconut milk and cashew cream make this the creamiest dairy free Alfredo sauce recipe you’ll find. It’s so similar in flavor to traditional Alfredo sauce, you might not even be able to tell. Use it on your favorite pasta or use it in place of dairy products in casseroles. Makes 2 cups.

close up of dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a white bowl topped with chopped parsley

Why you need this dairy free Alfredo sauce in your life

I think creamy pastas might be one of the first things you miss when you switch to a dairy free diet. Personally, the only thing I miss more is cheese itself.

For a while, we were making lactose free Alfredo sauce – which is really just a creamy, garlic sauce – using lactose-free milk. When we went fully dairy free, I just tried not to think about it, but, eventually, I found myself craving creamy, garlicky pasta.

I made a few different versions with store-bought vegan cream cheese. They were definitely good, but since I try really hard not to rely solely on those kinds of products, I didn’t want to make it very often.

It wasn’t until I started experimenting with cashew cream and my dairy free queso, that I realized the creamy base I was developing would work equally well as a pasta sauce. And, now I have a million different creamy pasta recipe ideas floating around in my head.

More dairy free pasta recipes: butternut squash pasta sauce / pasta carbonara / blt pasta salad / penne bolognese / cauliflower alfredo

dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a large non-stick skillet topped with chopped parsley

Can you make Alfredo sauce without cheese?

Traditional Alfredo sauce is made with heavy cream and heaps of parmesan cheese. Obviously, that’s not good for anyone who wants to avoid dairy, but the flavors are hard to beat.

Luckily, with a few simple ingredient swaps, you can make Alfredo sauce without any milk products. It just takes a little know-how and the perfect combination of substitutes.

overhead shot of dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a white bowl topped with chopped parsley

What can you substitute for milk in Alfredo sauce?

For this recipe, I’ve used my favorite combination of dairy free milks: cashew cream and canned coconut milk. Normally I find the coconut milk to sweet, and the cashew cream a little nutty, but paired together, they mask each others non-dairy flavor.

They also make the creamiest base for dairy free Alfredo. With just a little garlic and some nutritional yeast, you won’t believe there isn’t cheese (or dairy cream) in this Alfredo sauce.

What you’ll need to make dairy free Alfredo sauce

  • Food processor
  • Liquid measuring cups
  • Whisk
  • Large, non-stick skillet
closeup of dairy free alfredo sauce in a non-stick skillet

How to make the creamiest, dairy free Alfredo sauce

If you don’t already have some in your fridge, you’ll need to make cashew cream. Boil 1 cup of raw cashews in water for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in water. Drain.

Blend in a food processor or high-speed blender with 1 cup nut milk until smooth, scraping sides as needed. You can make this up to 10 days in advance, and we almost always keep some in our fridge, so I haven’t included this prep time in the recipe calculations.

If you haven’t tried making your own cashew cream, you are seriously missing out.

Make an olive oil roux. I use a non-stick skillet, but you could use a saucepan or a stainless skillet, just be sure to use a silicone whisk on your non-stick. Heat your skillet to medium, and add olive oil.

Once it’s hot, add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds – it should smell amazing at this point. Add your flour and whisk until all of the olive oil in your pan has been absorbed by the flour.

dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a large non-stick skillet

Whisk in your liquids, one at a time. I start with the thinnest liquid and work my way up to the thickest. You don’t have to, but I find that it lets me whisk a little less.

You can add the nutritional yeast and salt & pepper when you add the cashew cream. Keep whisking until everything is nice and smooth. You can also add a pinch of nutmeg if that’s a flavor you like in Alfredo sauce. It’s totally up to you, but we normally leave it out.

Let it simmer. At this point you could use it, but I like to let it simmer for a little while longer, especially if I am using almond or cashew milk instead of the cashew cream.

If you’re using nut milk, you’ll definitely want to simmer it a little longer than if you’re using cashew cream.

dairy free alfredo sauce on fettuccini in a large non-stick skillet topped with chopped parsley

FAQs and Tips for making dairy free Alfredo sauce

I can’t eat cashews. What can I use instead? You can simply swap the cashews for almonds and make almond cream. Or, you can substitute this almond cooking milk. Or you can try making this cauliflower alfredo sauce, instead!

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Last Updated on February 16, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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