I have developed this recipe over the past 6 months or so. I just kept making it, revising it, and then forgetting to add it to the site. But we kept making this over and over again because it is so delicious, we always had the ingredients in the house to make it happen, and we can eat it in so many different ways. Just dip the vegetables, add it to a bowl, dress it up with some harissa, or the traditional noodle based meal – so many options. And every time this alfredo is so, so delicious. In fact, this recipe might be my all-time favorite vegan dinner to make.
Some benefits of this recipe: it’s oil free, there’s a sunflower seed based option (see notes) which are cheaper and lower fat than cashews, it’s cheap and easy to make, and it’s so versatile. It’s also a true comfort food when paired with noodles.
This article begins with the most important part: the sauce recipe. After the recipe I will write about how we put together the pictured bowl and some other ways you can use this sauce. It might just be your next weekly staple. We make this one a couple times per month (at least).
Insanely Good Vegan Alfredo Sauce
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 3/4 cup raw cashews Can sub more sunflower seeds. See notes.
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 potato Medium sized, roughly chopped into pieces (see notes for substitutions)
- 1 onion Roughly chopped into pieces.
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1.5 tsp paprika
- 4-6 cloves garlic Use extra if using bottled minced.
- 1/2 tsp kala namak Also called black salt (see notes for substitutions). To taste.
- Add all ingredients to a pot on the stovetop, bring to a boil and and then simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the pot into a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix), and blend until very smooth.
- Add to your favorite alfredo dish (noodles, etc), or next bowl. This recipe is also good as a mac and cheese alternative. See the recipe page for serving suggestions, such as the dish that's pictured for this recipe!
Making the pictured dish with this vegan Alfredo sauce
For this very easy dish, we combined the following for 4 servings:
- 4 servings of noodles of your choice
- About 3 cups of chopped broccoli
- About 1.5 cups of chopped mushrooms
- About 1 cup of the alfredo sauce
- Few cloves of garlic, minced
Directions: Cook the noodles on your stovetop according to package directions (drain and set aside when finished). Saute the mushrooms and broccoli on the stovetop with a tiny bit of broth and garlic while the noodles are cooking. Mix the alfredo sauce with the noodles and vegetables (more to taste), then top with a bit of our vegan parmesan (recipe), red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper or your other preferred seasoning.
Other ways to use this vegan sauce
This is a great sauce to mix with any roasted or steamed vegetables. It goes great in a buddah bowl mixed into vegetables, topped over a whole grain and then sprinkle some red pepper flakes or your favorite seasoning on top.
This is also a great replacement for any mac and cheese dish. I haven’t yet made a “cheese” sauce that I enjoy, so for now we are rocking this alfredo recipe all the time and make it instead of mac and cheese.
Substitutes and alternatives for this vegan Alfredo recipe
You can adjust this vegan alfredo sauce in a bunch of ways. You can make it cashew free, SOS-free, and substitute ingredients you don’t have. Here are some of the common alternatives:
Instead of using cashews, substitute more sunflower seeds in their place. Use the same amount of sunflower seeds, and add a bit of plant-milk if the sauce is too thick (a couple tablespoons). This will make a slightly less creamy sauce (the texture is a bit different, and it has a slightly less “dense” flavor), but the sunflower seeds are more environmentally conscious, inexpensive, and lower in fat if this is a concern.
You can substitute cauliflower for the potato. The sauce will be runnier if you aren’t using potato. If you use cauliflower, add some arrowroot starch (about 1-2 Tbsp) to thicken if desired. If using potato, we just scrub and chop – we don’t peel it.
This ingredient adds a slightly “eggy” note, which non-vegan alfredo might have. Add this to taste. Use it to enhance the flavor overall. You can substitute 2 tsp tamari, miso, or soy sauce instead of kala namak (black salt). Or you can omit all of these for a SOS-free/sodium-free version of this alfredo sauce. Kala namak / black salt is often available at international grocery stores or Indian grocery stores. Ask in local vegan Facebook groups if you’re unsure of where to find this ingredient.
Share the vegan alfredo love
Save this recipe for later, or share it with your friends. Or with someone who will make it for you. Right?
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Haven’t made it YET but it gets a five based on ingredients and the fact that I KNOW it’s going to be G R E A T! Thank you!
Jen @ Plant Based Recipe
Thank you so much Marge! Hope you like it!!
Hi—I’m looking for low-sodium, plant-based sauce recipes for my brother-in-law. I’ll give this a try! Question—what app/program do you use to get nutrition facts for your recipes?
Jen @ Plant Based Recipe
Hi! It’s a feature that is part of my recipe plugin, WP Recipe.
So we love your recipes and things, but, I keep seeing oil free, but then, the instructions to use sunflower seeds and grind them up. I’m trying to figure out – why do you call the recipe oil free if the sunflowers ground up contain oil? So 1/2 a cup of sunflowers seeds = 6 tablespoons of oil, it just happens to be sunflower oil. Are you suggesting these recipes so that the oil is extremely fresh out of the nuts, or because you believe sunflower oil to be better than other types of oil? If it’s not a freshness thing, then, I’m confused. To me it’s sort of like saying (grab 120 olives and grind them up, and throw them in a dish) (which would be like 4 tablespoons of oil) but the dish is oil free? I guess it is waste free because you are not wasting the sunflower seeds which are probably also nutritious, but, I made another soup and was saddened to realize I was still actually eating oil, and quite a bit of it via the nuts in the recipe. What are your thoughts on this? I read the testimony of a girl who only ate vegetables and fruit and she got into really great shape and health; do you think this would happen as well with the indirect oil content? Been wondering about this. Thanks
Jen @ Plant Based Recipe
Hi Alice! Nuts and seeds are not oil, they are a whole food. Oil is a processed extraction from a whole food. Many foods can have oils extracted: corn, avocado, these nuts and seeds, and more. It is fine to eat the healthy fats contained within them as a whole food. We do not eat the oil extracted from them (and no, grinding them up does not make them into an oil unless you extract the fat as oil and eat it on its own! This site does not do that though.) Just like how orange juice is not an orange with all of its fiber, nutrients, and so on. The extracted sugars in the juice behave very different in the body than eating the whole orange with the fiber.
On this diet, nuts and seeds are consumed at around 10% of the daily fat amount or less. For more information about how this works, I recommend consulting the work of Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, or Michael Greger. You will find nuts and seeds supported by all of them. The recipes on this site all support eating these whole foods that contain healthy fats at around this safe rate, supported by all of these oil-free advocating doctors.
Perfect. Taste better than alfredo sauce made with dairy. 🙂