Indulge in our healthy ultimate comfort food Gluten-Free Alfredo Sauce with Fettuccine Pasta. It's creamy, velvety, and flavor-bursting. This sauce perfectly complements the tender fettuccine noodles and is perfect for those who are looking for a dairy-free and vegan alternative to traditional Alfredo sauce that doesn't require any cream cheese. It's easy to make and comes together in just a few simple steps.
Whether serving it over gluten-free pasta, as a sauce for pizza or using it as a dip for your favorite veggies, this dairy-free pasta sauce will surely become a new favorite in your kitchen.
In this post, I share the following:
- Which gluten-free brand of pasta noodles has the best texture and flavor, and which brand I steer clear of.
- Which plant milk works best in dairy-free pasta sauce recipes, and what ingredients to look for in the unsweetened options that are making your sauce too sweet.
Pasta cures any bad day and makes great days better. Browse some of our other pasta dishes for when you're craving a healthy comfort meal Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce, Easy Gluten-Free Pasta Salad, Beet & Mushroom Pasta with Lemon Dressing, and Vegan Mac and Cheese (without cashews).
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This recipe has only the finest ingredients, including gluten-free fettuccine pasta and a rich buttery sauce made from cashews, vegan parmesan cheese, and garlic. The sauce is perfectly seasoned with garlic, onion, and spices, making it a delicious treat for everyone.
- Cashews - soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to help loosen the nut's flavor and produce the desired creaminess in this dairy-free dish.
- Garlic + Onion - most of the dish's flavor comes from these two powerhouses. They overpower the cashew flavor and really make the sauce shine.
- Plant milk - soy, hemp, almond, or oat work in this recipe, but the most important factor is that it is UNSWEETENED. Check the ingredients for vanilla, sugars, etc. I use unsweetened soy milk with no issues.
- Parsley - fresh parsley is excellent but dry works too. I recommend adding chopped fresh parsley at the end for extra pizazz.
- Lemon - the necessary acid that brings lightness and brightness to the sauce.
- Spices - a blend of nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt round the flavors and bring extra substance to the dish.
- Vegan parmesan cheese - the holy grail of vegan Alfredo sauce. A block of VioLife brand parmesan cheese feels absolutely necessary for this sauce recipe.
See the recipe card for full quantities and instructions.
Nutritional yeast brings in extra cheesiness, although you can optionally leave it out.
Fresh parsley is recommended for the extra garnish and the deeper herb flavor but dried will do too. Use 1 tablespoon dried in place of fresh.
Minced garlic carries a deeper flavor which I prefer in this sauce. However, you can use garlic powder. Substitute 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for 4 cloves.
Important note: spices last on average 8 months in dark, cool conditions in a sealed container. Ground spices lose flavor fast. Always taste the sauce at the very end and add in extra parsley, salt, or pepper per taste.
You can whip up this luxurious meal in no time with a few simple steps. Classically, making Alfredo sauce calls for whipping up a roux with heavy cream or adding in a block of cream cheese. We're going to bypass both of those and use the power of a blender to deliver the velvety cashew cream sauce.
After soaking your cashews either the night before or in hot water for 30 minutes, boil pasta water and cook al dente. Next, chop the onion and mince the garlic. Add both to the skillet with ½ cup of filtered water or 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a heavy pinch of salt. Saute until fragrant and tender.
Add all the dairy-free sauce ingredients to the blender and blend until you reach a smooth consistency.
Place the cooked pasta in the skillet and cover it with the cashew pasta sauce. On low heat, gently stir the noodles with sauce until it bubbles and slightly thickens. This should take 3-5 minutes. Once done, plate and garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese (vegan).
Tip: To maintain a gluten-free dish, you'll need gluten-free fettuccine. Use the brand you prefer. I recommend using Jovial Pasta gluten-free spaghetti noodles, and I do not recommend the chickpea-based pasta brand 'Banza.' I found their fettuccine noodles were too tough and chewy.
For this alfredo sauce recipe, you'll need a skillet/frypan and a blender. A high-speed blender is best since we are grinding cashews, although work with what you have and blend until smooth. Using my high-speed Vitamix blender, it took 2 full minutes. If you're using a regular blender, you'll want to soak the cashews overnight so they pulverize completely.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Set aside some extra sauce for leftovers and add that to the pan before reheating on the stovetop.
You can batch-prep this sauce and freeze up to 2 months in an airtight freezer-friendly container.
It really grinds my gears when I accidentally pick up sweetened plant milk for a savory, creamy pasta sauce. I've personally done it too many times. Vanilla-flavored alfredo - YUCK. So this PSA is personal! Check your plant milk for sweet ingredients, even if it says UNSWEETENED. Sometimes they'll add vanilla extract or hidden sugars, especially in almond and oat milk. Coconut milk is off-limits for this recipe. I recommend unsweetened soy milk to avoid any concerns.
One method is to make the sauce with a roux using flour. For this gluten-free fettuccine alfredo recipe, we eliminated the roux and substituted it with creamy cashews.
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Gluten-Free Alfredo Sauce with Fettuccine Pasta
- 1 package fettuccine noodles (gluten-free if needed - I recommend Jovial brand)
- 1 cup cashews soaked in hot water for 30 minutes or overnight
- ½ white onion, chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (like it garlicky? add 6 cloves)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 ½ cup plant milk (unsweetened and unflavored) I recommend soy milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt + extra for taste
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley + extra for garnish
- ½ cup vegan parmesan cheese + extra for toppings
- This recipe calls for soaked cashews, do this by soaking the raw, unsalted cashews covered in hot water for 30 minutes or overnight.
- Start by boiling the water for the fettuccine noodles. Once it bubbles, add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water and then the noodles. Cook al dente per package instructions (average 9-11 minutes).
- While the pasta cooks, dice the white onion and mince the garlic cloves. Transfer them to a skillet/frypan on medium heat with ½ cup filtered water and a sprinkle of salt. Allow them to cook until tender and fragrant.
- Next, add the soaked cashews, onion, garlic, and all other ingredients to a blender and pulverize until well combined and smooth. Taste test and add in more parsley, salt, or pepper based on desired taste.
- Lastly, add the drained and cooked pasta to the skillet and pour the sauce over top. Set aside a little extra if you plan on having leftovers. Set the heat to medium-low and let the sauce bubble slightly and thicken with the noodles. Do this for a maximum of 3-4 minutes.
- Once done, garnish with extra chopped parsley, grated vegan parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serve warm, and enjoy!