Vegan cashew alfredo is probably the most popular and well-known recipe out in the vegan blogosphere. Being someone who isn’t in love with the taste of nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” I find too many recipes out there depend on large quantities of it to impart a cheesy flavor.
I’ve experimented with the perfect alfredo sauce to meet my tastes, and finally stumbled onto the trick of adding sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds add a neutral creaminess that reduces the sweetness of the cashews and the overall cost of the recipe. A little bit of nooch and lemon juice add a nice sourness and a good dash of salt brings everything together. Mushrooms and broccoli add extra taste and nutrition to balance out the meal. I like to serve this over quinoa pasta, which has a nice firm bite to it. Give it a try, I promise you won’t miss the dairy!
1 box quinoa pasta
2 cups broccoli, chopped
5-6 white mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup cashews (preferably raw)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (preferably raw)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (“nooch”)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt or tamari (optional but recommended)
Black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to boil
While the water is coming to a boil, put the vegan alfredo sauce ingredients in a blender. Add the olive oil to a saute pan and heat on medium-high heat
Once water is boiling, add the quinoa pasta and set a timer for 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Make sure to stir the quinoa pasta frequently and immediately so it doesn’t stick together, particularly if using a long variety like spaghetti or linguine
Add the mushrooms to the olive oil and saute until soft and fragrant, approximately 5 minutes
Once the timer is down to the 3 minute and 30 second mark, add the broccoli to the pasta water. At this point, fill the blender with hot water from the pasta pot to the 2 1/2 cup line and blend until smooth
Once the timer runs out, strain the pasta and broccoli and serve on two plates
Top the hot pasta and broccoli with the mushrooms, drizzle the vegan alfredo sauce over the top and enjoy!
Tips / Notes
This sauce is great with regular pasta, as well as rice or over steamed veggies